The Pit: File Storage Redesign

Researching, designing, and prototyping a more intuative digital storage system for CMU's School of Design

"The Pit" is a file storage service utilized primarily within the Carnegie Mellon School of Design. Working in a team with Katherine Frazer and Anu jayasinghe, we discovered that there was an opportunity to make this service easier to navigate while fostering collaboration within the School of Design.

Below is a screen shot of the old Pit.

Our group interviewed ten Pit users, making sure all different types are represented, e.g. freshmen through seniors, students from Communication design and Industrial design departments, and professors from both departments. We used “I like, I wish” method during the interviews to help participants with expressing their thoughts and to gather data for our design. We also observed students interacting with the Pit service using their laptops and shared computers, and recorded our observations in a form of “diary studies” with series of screenshots.

Based on the “I like, I wish” results and the interview data, our group quantified how much participants liked and disliked certain features of the Pit. We wanted to make sure to preserve the useful features of the Pit (as perceived by the users) while removing Pit’s limitations and making improvements.

Most Liked Features: Easy access from almost any computer, lightweight interface, ability to back up files onto the Pit.

Most Disliked Features: Lack of organization, Slow system, too many levels of folders, hard to access personal folder.

Grounded in user data, we started sketching and wireframing potential redesigns.

We went through several iterations of the design, continuously getting feedback from our users to make sure the changes made sense to them, and tweaking the design. The final steps included coding a functioning HTML prototype, and running a mini-usability study. The study proved that we made significant improvements to the site and solved a bulk of interaction issues presented by the original Pit.

Additionally we designed a 22 x 17 inch poster to showcase the entire redesign process from start to finish.

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