Design Workshop

Key takeaways

  1. Issues often cross over for many different user archetypes but how important they may be to that user is not the same

  2. Security and privacy is important, but requires a lot of nuance to make it not overwhelming for the user

  3. Simplicity is required for any design, not just in interaction but in verification and notifications as well

  4. Versioning is what makes cloud services indispensable and should be looked at

  5. Visibility to other peers and the network is important, but so is how it can be controlled

  6. Discoverability is often overlooked but needs to have tight controls

  7. Managing contacts or frequent shares would need to handled up front to the user

  8. Working inside of alongside other apps is very important

  9. There is a lot of work as well as opportunity with IPFS as potentially being a brand of dependability in file transfer and hosting alongside being a P2P technology to users

  10. Viewing or playing the file being or having downloaded should happen where it is being downloaded

Finding focus for design

To kick-off the design of the IPFS Mobile Guidelines, we re-engaged with IPFS development community members who participated in the research as experts in a workshop. The workshop was designed to take the findings from the research and translate them into areas of design focus.

One of the problems with this translation of findings to design is how to frame the design. In order to best serve IPFS adoption, we chose to concentrate on users and how to understand their needs. To get to those needs we went through the following activities:

  1. Go through research findings and prioritise

  2. Develop user personas and rank

  3. Link users to problems

  4. Finding the user needs

Research findings and prioritisation

The first exercise of the workshop was to prioritise the findings from the research and organise them. Already at this point a number of interesting things came out through the voting, namely the basic role of P2P as a transport layer and how necessary it even is to users to know what it is or that they’re even using it. This reflects the research and general anecdotal evidence of most users not caring how a service works necessarily, but just that it does. Likewise, notifications for only when things are going wrong or of an issue, rather than confirmations necessarily reflect this.

User personas and ranking

All the participants then were tasked with creating as many specific but rough user personas that those findings would affect. These were then ranked and prioritised as well. Here the privacy concerns came out with top user personas being concerned about privacy and sharing. File privacy is equally coupled with management and offline capabilities, highlighting specific use cases where IPFS stands out. At this point it was quite interesting to see many developer personas come out but not get many votes, showing the importance end-users in making P2P a reality at large.

Linking users to problems

To continue establishing possible end users and what their user needs would be, we arranged the user personas across the next board of the exercise and then brought back in the post-its of the user research findings. This was to start to establish something analogous to a user story. To do this we have at the top the user part of the user story (“As a…”) and then the issues or problem space (“So that I…”). This portion of the workshop is slightly chaotic as all the participants begin arranging and prioritising issues around specific users all at the same time. This, however, leads to a lot of conversation and discussion as to the importance of those issues to each of those user personas and perhaps most importantly, shows the overlaps with issues affecting the spectrum of users.

Finding the user needs

Finally, the workshop group was asked to come up with as many user needs to the user personas and their issues. This was the final part in the prototype user story construction and had the group coming up with as quick as they can as many needs as they could. Thus we were left with a number of ways to frame user needs, both to overall issues and user archetypes. Many fascinating things came out of this final exercise as well, for instance the notion of safety in terms of legality and privacy. This also pointed to the notion of trust. For instance, if I don’t know who is sharing something with me, will I trust it less? There were a number of other prevalent themes that were teased out as well in terms of file, download and transfer management as well.

The workshop boards are available in the repo: MobileDesignGuidelines-workshop.pdf