WD My Cloud Onboarding
Redesigning the Out-Of-Box Experience for the WD My Cloud
When I joined Western Digital, I was asked to look into the out-of-box experience for the consumer end of the WD My Cloud product line. At the time the product's sales were lower than expected and it was receiving poor reviews. Customers were displeased with the setup process, and felt that the overall product line did not fulfill the promise of the “personal cloud”. That promise began with the out-of-box experience.
- Lead designer and researcher for out-of-box experience including web-based setup and all ecosystem touch points.
- Worked closely with mobile designer to ensure consistency in setup experience across mobile apps
- Competitive analysis, user research, and auto-ethnography diary study
- Sketching, storyboarding, wireframing, prototyping, content design, and final hi-fidelity design deliverables
- Content Design & Visual Design of printed setup guide
- Evangelizing consumer-focused approach to the personal cloud
The Director of UX tasked me with reimagining the entire out-of-box experience with the regular consumer in mind. Early on we established three primary tasks: get the hardware set up, introduce the user to the personal cloud functionality, and help the user migrate their existing data to their personal cloud. This was simple to describe, but tricky to do well given the product design landscape.
During the discovery phase, one of the primary insights I discovered was that the product experience was not aligning with customers' expectations for a "personal cloud". This was partially due to the shifting expectations of cloud services in general, but also because the hardware and software hadn't caught up to the marketing message. The company was selling a personal cloud, but the the product team was still building the same old NAS (network attached storage) drive. It was evident in both the language of the UI, and in how the team spoke internally about the product and its intended users.
I spent a great deal of time educating the product org about how this affected the product, and what kinds of opportunities were being missing by insisting upon the hardware status quo instead of the new value proposition outlined in the marketing push. Here is one of my (in)famous slides I used to encourage discussions with product managers and developers about the distinctions between the terms "NAS" and "Personal Cloud":
During the discovery phase I also conducted extensive competitive analysis, auto-ethnographic diary studies, and user review analysis. This research was synthesized to fuel a value hypothesis activity that helped identify key design insights and scenarios to design around. Primarily, we decided to design for the non-technical consumer and emphasize on a single setup path. This was a big deviation from the internal status-quo, where the default position was to only design for the most technical user and emphasize every option available. To combat this mentality, my next step was to create an experience storyboard to gather feedback and hopefully get buy-in from stakeholders.
EARLY EXPERIENCE STORYBOARD
HIGH FIDELITY PROTOTYPE & TESTING
I printed the storyboards and hung them in a public design room where stakeholders could directly provide feedback. This worked well because every stakeholder wanted to provide input. After all, the UX team was recommending a large leap from the status quo. I synthesized this feedback in addition to data from user surveys and kept iterating. I honed the design to focus on "quick wins" for easy setup of the hardware, as well as a simplified “getting started” experience to introduce users to the full My Cloud app ecosystem.
The next version I created was a high-fidelity prototype that was used to test the entire out-of-box experience with users in our usability lab. I, along a UX prototyper created a "real-world" setup of a living room where users came in, unboxed the My Cloud, hooked it up per the instructions, and went through the entire software setup experience, complete with mobile installation and data migration.
EARLY CLICK-THROUGH PROTOTYPE
REDESIGNING THE PRINTED SETUP GUIDE
The existing setup guide was unnecessarily complex, making it seem like the product was more complicated that it actually was. It encouraged multiple ways to set up the drive, each with its own unique quirks. The content was overly reliant on text, which had to be translated into multiple languages across the globe. This further complicated the guide and used more paper. This proved very costly when manufacturing hundreds of thousands of units.
As if all that wasn't enough to warrant a redesign, the existing content also didn't match the brand identity and marketing message of the WD My Cloud. This was problematic since this was the first thing customers saw when unboxing the product.
THE ORIGINAL SETUP GUIDE
What was originally an ultra-pragmatic, technical setup guide was redesigned to serve both as a simple guide and a greeting to the customer upon unboxing the product. This reinforced the brand identity and product value message.
The back of the card contained greatly simplified instructions, focusing on a single setup path, the newly created web-based setup experience. I created a visual composition that didn't rely on text, eliminating the need for multiple language translations. The smaller form factor also allowed us to use a better quality paper while decreasing the overall cost of printing.
This redesign of the printed setup guide became the standard style for the entire line of My Cloud products, and they are still using it as of this writing (3+ years later).
THE REDESIGNED SETUP GUIDE
The final results of this redesign decreased the complexity of the cloud setup and better matched the expectations set by the "personal cloud" message of the WD My Cloud. When the product hit the shelves and the reviews started coming in, long gone were the comments denouncing the product as "just a glorified NAS with difficult setup" and was "not a cloud replacement". Instead, the feedback about the out-of-box experience was full of quotes like these (from Amazon):
"I wanted a simple wireless / network backup solution for 2 Mac laptops. On reading some of the negative reviews, I was a little nervous about setup, but I can't believe how incredibly easy this was – it was even easier than setting up my iPhone!"
"Setup was amazingly smooth."
"You don't need to be tech savvy to setup the cloud drive."
"Easy setup, just took a few minutes...not complicated."
"Upon arrival it took about 10 minutes to set up and now I have my own cloud."
MY ROLE AND CREDIT
While I was the design lead for the entire project, I collaborated with many great folks along the way. Fellow UX Designers Burr Walker, Neeresh Padmanabhan, and Morgan Russell all helped with feedback, brainstorming, and storyboarding. UX Developer Dean Ashworth helped build the prototype during user testing. UX Researcher Raja Bell helped me put together user surveys and usability testing sessions. Visual Designers Marianne Carmona, Rachel Donne, and Ofir Levy all contributed visual concepts and style guides for the final UI.
My Cloud 2.0
This design project ended up being part of a much larger "My Cloud 2.0" initiative to completely redesign and add to the full suite of My Cloud software products. During the My Cloud 2.0 initiative the scope of my responsibility was greatly expanded to include the MyCloud.com site, firmware upgrade experience across the product suite, and ensuring consistency across the desktop, web, and mobile platforms.