I’ve decided to try periodically sharing interesting products I come across here. First up, Dropbox…
What is it: Dropbox is a service that syncs your files online and across your computers. It keeps copies of files synced across my Mac and PC as well as making them available in the cloud which I can access via the web or my iPhone. See their 2 minute overview video (great prod. marketing example)
Why I like its design:
I like that I can use the standard file system built into the OS on my Mac and PC without worrying about how it’s getting synced or stored—in other words the primary way I interact with Dropbox is actually not thru their UI at all. No matter where I open the file, I know it’s always the latest version—but I don’t have to wait on the sometimes slow speeds of working directly off the cloud since it’s synced locally. They have designed their product to fit my workflow rather than ask of me that I change my workflow to fit their product—true user-centered design.
They have added a subtle addition to the OS iconography which shows if the file is properly synced with my other computers and the cloud. This helps reinforce to me that the service is working and that my files are safe and synced. This UI also enables me to go back in time and view older versions of the file (their website even features a DeLorean for us Back to the Future fans) when I need to.
Finally, their iPhone app enables me to access read-only versions of my files wherever I’m at. Here they’ve smartly optimized for storage keeping all the files in the cloud. However they have offered an easy wait to tag a handful of files I’d like to keep locally on my iPhone.