New CloudOn design language (“Breeze”)

I have a confession to make. I hate redesigns. In a perfect world, we’d only make incremental improvements, learning as we go, constantly evolving. In reality, every now and then you outgrow your original design. If you find yourself without a rock-solid foundation for delivering valuable, compelling engaging experiences to your users, it’s time to head back to the drawing board.

Back in 2012, CloudOn launched with a sleek design and a smooth onboarding flow that made it super-easy for a huge number of our customers to get registered, connected, and up and running. CloudOn delivered on the promise of rich document editing on the iPad.

Since then, we have worked steadily to improve the product, listening very carefully to our users as you’ve told us what you like about the experience, what you wish you could do, and where you’re not fully satisfied. Besides supporting and talking to our active users we’ve also paid close attention to the data we see on usage patterns, preferences, common workflows, successes, and bottlenecks.

As CloudOn has evolved from a mobile productivity platform oriented toward individuals into one that helps groups of people create, edit, review, and revise docs together, we’ve gradually outgrown our first-generation user experience and interfaces. So, starting last fall, we embarked on a complete overhaul of the product’s design, building on what works, improving on known pain points, and strengthening the foundation for the next wave of innovations we are working hard to deliver to you.

Streamlined Navigation

Getting around the iPad app is a lot easier now with the global navigation bar that provides direct access to each of your storage providers as well as to convenient cloud listings of your recent and shared docs (to save you the step of even worrying which folder the docs are stored in). You can also access your settings, get help or log out all from this same navigation bar.

Faster Finding

Cloud storage gets cluttered after a while and many of you have folders that are overflowing with tens and even hundreds of docs, so we’ve added a new Find capability that filters your files in real time as you type, saving you the trouble of hunting through endless scrolling file listings.

Adding People to a Doc

The most basic service we offer is the ability to create and edit your own rich documents on your iPad, but the full power of CloudOn is unlocked when you bring together a group of colleagues to edit, review, discuss, and revise a doc. Adding people to a doc is now dead simple, giving you the ability to work together on documents regardless of where they are stored, with total freedom to include anybody in your process without requiring that they adopt your storage provider. Convenience for you without inconveniencing your co-workers!

Quick Access to What’s New

When you edit and discuss docs with your colleagues, you’ll see work move faster now that everyone can make their contributions in their own time, wherever they are, from any device. This means you need an easy way to peek at a doc and see the latest updates and comments. The new FileSpace panel is integrated into all file manager listings so recent activities are just a tap away. You can also bring out the FileSpace from the editing interface when reviewing docs, and expand it to a full-screen view when you’ve got a lot of activity to catch up on. See what’s happened, add your own message if you’ve got next steps in mind, and quickly move on.

It’s a Breeze

Along with these functional and user experience improvements, you may also notice a new, lighter design theme to the interface. As much as we loved the dark glamorous UI with which we launched (still visible in a somewhat modified form in the iPhone version), we think the new design is open, clear, easy to read, and a breeze to work with. We hope you’ll agree, and we welcome your feedback. We’re going to keep working to improve everything and to get the details right.

Date:
May 2014
Responsibilities:
Deathmarch tyrant, product direction
Collaborators:
Ankit Joshi, Akhila Bhoopalam, Brian Oei, Zifeng Tian, Barton Wells, Tsahi Glik