Collect, organize & share what inspires you most. Trove is a cloud storage platform that stores all your favorite things in one place.

Trove Product Shot of Dashboard
Section header: Project Summary

Trove is a responsive cloud storage application that improves file discoverability and organization through automatic content tagging. It is geared toward digitally savvy, multi-taskers who want access to their content on the go.


  • UX Research & Design
  • Branding Strategy
  • Visual Design


  • User Surveys
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Personas
  • User Stories & Flows
  • Sketches
  • Wireframes
  • User Testing Results
  • Branding
  • Prototypes


  • Duration
  • 10 weeks
  • Tools
  • Figma
  • UsabilityHub
  • Google Forms

The Problem

The cloud storage industry has evolved drastically in the last few years and users needs have evolved with it. I set out to uncover the problems users face today and build a product that met those needs.

The main problems users experience:

  • Finding files is difficult
  • Organizing files is cumbersome and requires constant upkeep
  • Saving links across devices isn’t convenient

The Solution

The solution is a flexible storage space that lets users store notes, images and links all in one place. Smart organization tools keep users on top of file management.

Key design features:

  • Introduce automated tagging to help users manage their files
  • Make saving easier with a browser extension available on any device making it easier to save content to one place
Trove Product Landing Page
Section header: User Research

User Survey

Asking the Right Questions

I started my research with a survey to discover what people were looking for in a cloud storage application, and what frustrations they currently experienced managing personal files, images, notes and bookmarks.

Snapshots of user survey

User Research Highlights

User Trends



data cluster showing participants from a variety of fields


pie chart showing gender breakdown of participants at 76% percent females and 24% male

*Percentages based on 25 participants

Competitive Analysis

Understanding the Market

To see where Trove fell in the market, I looked at other cloud storage products and content organization apps, such as Google Drive, Google Keep, Pocket and Pinterest. I analyzed each to find out what made them unique and where they could potentially improve.

Google Drive Logo Google Keep Logo Pocket Logo Pinterest Logo

A few common trends from the competitors:

  • Robust search engines
  • Multiple ways to organize
  • Bookmark browser extensions were crucial
  • Saving and uploading is rare

Target Audience

Who are the users?

Based on the survey responses, I realized that Trove’s primary audience was a group of:

  • Curious individuals interested in expanding their skill set and amassing knowledge
  • Multi-taskers who easily transition between different areas of their life—personal, professional, and/or academic
  • Interested in keeping up with industry trends and/or news
  • Digitally savvy individuals who want access to their content while on the go
User Persona Icon User Persona Icon User Persona Icon

User Personas

Getting to know the users

Now that I had a clear idea of my users and their goals, I used the insights from two survey respondents to develop two different personas.

User Persona 1 - woman sitting in a coffee shop

Mira Koval

Policy Advisor, 30

“I like writing notes and saving things as I see them. I like to keep them organized in a meaningful way, so I can find them later on.”

“I spend the majority of my day attending meetings, writing emails, organizing files for different projects. Searching for things I’ve seen in passing and digging through emails are inevitable parts of my day.”

User Persona 2 - man laughing in front of trees

Lucas Silva

College Students, 21

“I spend most of my time creating and sharing projects, sketching and writing notes during lectures. I like to save articles to Pocket and browses project ideas on Pinterest. I want to be able to organize my work without thinking too hard and be able to send links or videos to friends and classmates.”

“I use a lot of apps to bookmark things on my computer and phone--sometimes it’s hard to remember where I put them. I don’t spend a lot of time organizing my files. It’s an absolute nightmare finding things I need.”

Section header: Information Architecture

User Stories

Focusing on the MVP

With the personas and user research in mind, I put together a list of user stories to prioritize a handful of tasks users might accomplish. I divided them by new and returning users, and determined which stories were highlighted in the project brief and which emerged out of the user research.

The high priority user tasks resulted in the MVP.

user persona icon
"I want to create an account"
user persona icon
"I want to add a new note"
user persona icon
"I want to save content from the web"
user persona icon
"I want to search for an item"
user persona icon
"I want to move items to a new location"

User Flows & Site map

Visualizing the user journey

From there, I began sketching user flows to visualize how users would interact with the product to achieve their goals.

After establishing how users would interact with Trove, I needed to organize the structure of the site. I did this by identifying all the destinations in the user flows and structuring them into a logical framework.

User flow chart showing how to add an image, link, folder or note to Trove
User flow showing how to add content to Trove.


Sketching & Low-Fi Wireframes

With Trove’s hierarchy defined, I began sketching early mockups to visualize information on the page looking to the user stories, user flows and site map for guidance. I did continuous rounds of sketching focusing on simple navigation and intuitive ways to organize.

Strategic design decisions:

  • Side navigation bar
  • Clear create/add button
  • Frequent modal windows to simplify the site architecture
Early prototype sketches
Early prototype sketches
Low-fi Wireframe of the main dashboard Low-fi Wireframe of how to add a note Low-fi Wireframe of the tags page Low-fi Wireframe of confirmation screen when user adds a bookmark Low-fi Wireframes of saving a link Low-fi Wireframe showing shared items

User Testing

Early feedback from users

I worked through several iterations of clickable prototypes before conducting four usability tests to collect early feedback. Users successfully navigated crucial flows, such as signing up for a new account, adding note, uploading a file and sorting content by tags.

Based on the user feedback, I made the following changes:

  • Adding categories as another way to organize content
  • Refining language
  • Removing icons
  • Repositioning bookmarked items
  • Adding more visual feedback and descriptors
Low-fi wireframe of dashboard without categories
Low fidelity wireframe of dashboard without Categories
down arrow Curved arrow
Low fidelity wireframe of dashboard with categories added
Low fidelity wireframe of the dashboard with Categories
Section header: Branding
Moodboard showing a collage of images

Building a brand

Striking the right tone

Trove serves a digitally savvy user population with an insatiable curiosity to learn and share with their communities. They are smart, engaged individuals seeking a product that fits their lifestyle. I landed on the brand name Trove, which is defined as a 'place to gather and store delightful things,' such as treasured content users collect and save.

Color Palette & Typography

Evoking the right emotions

I chose a color palette that was calming and relaxing to reduce stress. The blue exudes dependability and inspires trust, while teal is rejuvenating and associated with clarity of mind and creativity.

For the typography, I paired the modern serif Lustria with the clean lines of Hind to promote readability and style.

Color palette and typography choices

Logo Design

Creating a brand identity

I went through several sketches before landing on the final logo with input from senior designers. I ended up with three directions for the logo:

  • A box encased in the “V” to represent treasured items a user stores in Trove
  • A modern hand-drawn typeface drawing parallels to Trove’s smart and modern user base
  • A treasure chest or compass to play off the brand name

Ultimately, the first direction felt the strongest. I developed on a simple wordmark in Julius Sans One with an accompanying icon. The typography has a sophisticated touch that makes it feel balanced and reliable. While the curvature of the ‘R’ adds a bit of personal flare. The diamond icon is versatile and stands out on its own as a memorable icon.

Image of early sketches and final logo
Early logo sketches [first row], three logo directions [second row], and the final logo [third row].
Section header: Visual Design and Testing

After gathering some early feedback from user testing and developing the brand identity, I transformed my wireframes into high fidelity mockups breathing life and color into the final prototype.

User testing

A/B testing

To test some of my design decisions, I conducted several preference tests using UsabilityHub and consulted senior designers.

Screen A

Product hero image Product sign up screen A
Hero image [above] and sign up screen [below]

Screen B

Product hero image Product sign up screen B
Hero image [above] and sign up screen [below]

Content Preference Test: Sign up background images

I asked users which sign up background image best reflected the brand identity. I included the hero image for context since it provided the clearest insight into the branding direction.

Although the data wasn’t statistically significant, users felt that both images conveyed a similar calming and positive vibe. Users felt that Screen A followed the brand identity slightly more.

*Based on 26 participants

User Testing

Testing the prototype usability

Using my high fidelity prototype, I conducted another four usability tests to assess how users handled crucial user flows and how they responded to visual elements.

Tasks tested:

  • Signing up for a new account
  • Adding a note to the dashboard
  • Sharing a file, searching for a file
  • Navigating to a specific category
  • Adding a tag to a file

Armed with fresh insights from my users, the following was clear:

1) The categories weren’t working. Several users didn’t understand the functional difference between categories and tags. I realized they were absolutely right. I wanted to make it easier for users to organize, but I soon realized it was at the expense of other organization features that had been validated by user testing, so I nixed the categories!

Product dashboard showing category design before change
Before - Categories page
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Product dashboard showing tag design after removing categories
After - Tags page

2) Viewing tags was less important than I anticipated. This was something that I tested through preference testing, but the results were not statistically significant, so I followed up with my users during testing. On the whole, users preferred a clickable icon to view all the tags in a dropdown. Users also noted that it made the interface feel less cluttered when the tags were accessible via an icon.

content card showing tags
Before - Tags shown on content cards
Down arrow Curved arrow
content card showing tag icon
After - Tags collapsed to an icon and dropdown menu

3) Clarifying the product’s tagline wasn’t a bad idea. Although most users agreed the hero image was inspiring and reflected the creativity brand, I modified the sub-tagline to include the term “cloud storage tool” to reinforce that this was, in fact, a cloud storage application.

Hero image with tagline reading: Trove stores all your favorite things in one place.
Before - Branding tagline
down arrow Curved arrow
Hero image with tagline reading: Trove is a cloud storage platform that stores all your favorite things in one place.
After - Branding tagline
Section header: the final prototype

After spending several days linking over 70 screens and modal windows, I finally had my MVP.

Trove Product: Sign up screen Trove Product: Password Reset screen Trove Product: Blank state dashboard Trove Product: Main dashboard Trove Product: Upload files Trove Product: Add files to a folder Trove Product: Move files modal window Trove Product: View search results Trove Product: Tag item dropdown menu Trove Product: Add a new note Trove Product: Image opened from dashboard Trove Product: New folder added Trove Product: New bookmark modal window Trove Product: Items tagged as personal
Section header: Conclusion


Bringing it all together

I sought to create a flexible storage space that allowed users to upload, add, and save content easily, and the user testing proves that these tasks were highly intuitive. One thing I did not expect was how the product started to align with a personal cloud storage space rather than a space that fit the needs of users both professionally and personally--likley because the sharing and collaborative features could use more work. With more time, I would improve the existing organizational features to streamline smart tagging in every user flow, not just the high priority ones.

Lessons Learned

  • Stick to the challenges at hand and avoid tackling everything
    Going into this project, I found it difficult to settle on a direction. Not only was I skeptical about how to create a better product than some of the competitors on the market, I wanted to tackle all the problems that existed. In doing so, there were times when I lost sight of the original problems present in my research.

  • Consistency is everything
    The biggest challenge was maintaining consistency across UI elements and establishing patterns for user interaction and animation early on. Making a list of how elements would interact with one another was a good way to keep me in check.

  • Empathy
    Throughout the project, I repeatedly asked myself how users would respond to different scenarios and tried to make strategic decisions based on the data, which worked out most of the time (the categories being a major pitfall). Ultimately, users commented on the product’s intuitive feel and soothing colors, accurately describing the feeling I hoped to convey through the design.