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Need: In 2013 Perforce released its Commons product—a document collaboration & versioning tool for business professionals, working in enterprise organizations already using Perforce for engineering teams. Following the 1.0 release of Commons, customer requests made two key feature gaps a priority: integration with Dropbox, and a multi-device compatible UI (in 2013 responsive UIs in the enterprise were not yet the norm).

Response: I worked with the full team solving for how to best execute the Dropbox integration, while also working directly with front-end developers to guide their implementation of responsive breakpoints and content reflow/sizing across desktop, mobile, and tablet screen sizes.

Design challenges

  • Work within both the opportunities and constraints of Dropbox’s API, and what developers could reasonably accomplish within the Perforce environment.
    • The end goal was not only to allow users to access Dropbox accounts for their employers, but also their personal Dropbox accounts.
    • Many IAM considerations, for integrating a popular and mixed consumer/enterprise cloud service into an on-premises enterprise service behind a firewall.
  • Extend and update the brand new design system & visual language created for the Commons 1.0 release to support new capabilities, to address needs identified from customer feedback, and to fine-tune select details with post-release polishing.
  • Manage user expectations on capabilities retention or losses of Perforce versioning information, as files are transferred between Perforce and Dropbox environments. Push for the best, and at least communicate about the worst.
  • Bringing multi-device responsiveness to a platform as an afterthought (the world was still learning!).
  • Communicate complex concepts such as version discrepancies, file redundancies, conflicting file paths, and supported vs un-supported formats, within a product environment shaped to meet developer needs, first, and business user needs, second.

…one of those projects with lots more time spent in collaborative chin-rubbing sessions around whiteboards, pairing with developers, and digging into opportunity spaces with incoherent chicken-scratch, than in anything wireframes or mockups could adequately communicate. Which is ok, and a whole other flavor of fun I thrive in! 🙂