[⏪ Rewind] 1. The early days

“Um… What happened to all my files? Can I just go back to how things were yesterday?” 

If you use Dropbox with other people, this problem probably isn’t unfamiliar. One day, Dropbox feels like an organized collaboration utopia, and the next, you realize something went horribly wrong.

Maybe a new employee tried to tidy up their laptop by deleting a bunch of files. Or a coworker’s computer got ransomware, infecting all your team’s stuff.

These sorts of scenarios are all too common. And that’s why we built Dropbox Rewind. Let’s talk about how we got to that name and all the words we used along the way.

🔭 Those first explorations

We started with a sprint. In between a variety of Post-it Note inspired exercises, we chatted with actual Dropbox users who had recovered from ransomware, we interviewed customer support folks, and we read a bunch of support transcripts. It seems that people just wanted Dropbox to look like it did before all that stuff happened.

After some design explorations, we landed on a direction for user testing. We did 5 rounds of interviews with a total of 29 users. We often iterated on copy and design between interviews. I landed on 3 metaphors for testing: Rewind, Time Travel, and Version history

Here are a few screens from those early mocks:

Here are a couple screenshots from my messy copy doc:

During this early testing, the term Rewind didn’t stand out to users as the way to restore files.

Rewind does not work as a metaphor! Who uses tapes anyway?!

— User testing participant

We landed on the direction of time travel, which seemed to work well for most participants.

Next: Setting the right tone