Uncovering Filing Habits: Docuvo

Docuvo is a smart file search assistant. As a startup raising funding, with an updated version due to be released, I was headhunted to help them with their UX research and testing.

I devised and carried out market research to understand the disruption and validate the problem. Asking questions like:

  • Find out what it is?
  • Why are we doing it?
  • What’s the problem?
  • What’s the proposed solution (s)
  • What space are we/our competitors in?
  • Who are our competitors?
  • Who is our/their target audience?
  • What is our/their message?

I developed distinct personas from market research and interviews with potential users.

I took notes in developer meetings, wrote up minutes and user feedback in demos.

I generated interview questions, did guerilla interviews with startup members at coworking space WeWork in Moorgate and at my ex marketing agency Livity in Brixton.

What I Learned

I learned that notetaking and interview techniques (whether it’s manual or typed, shorthand, near verbatim, recorded audio or your own method) are important, and can only be perfected with practice – practical journalism skills are definitely useful if you have them.

Within a lean startup environment, everything I did was self-directed, you’re expected to bring your own initiative, and self-disciplined structure (especially if you’re doing it in conjunction with online studies/reading) and independent judgement.

In terms of findings from interviews with startup and marketing agency employees about their filing and collaboration habits, here’s a few things I learned :

  • Everyone uses keyword recall to search – it’s that simple.
  • Everyone manages files in their own way (“organised chaos”) and for navigating your own system usually that works fine. It’s when files need to be shared and collaborated on between multiple users that things get confusing and critical information can get lost – using different naming conventions, filing hierarchies and taxonomies which apply digitally as well as physically – e.g. Colour codes, date, title, number.
  • The ideal solution could sync with conferencing and team channels like Slack, Trello, JIRA.
  • GDrive, Dropbox are used by nearly everyone, so it’s critical that the search function cross references both repositories for duplicates. Flexible file compatibility is also needed to filter and find different formats.
  • Security is paramount for client documents.
  • Working files and archived files are treated very differently.
  • Files are stored and accessed from separate folders for different stages of completion. A way to automatically update all folders would be useful.

“We are inefficient dictated by inbox and folders, rather than capabilities.”

Sam Conniff, Chief purpose officer, Livity