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10 Great Websites: Dropbox.com

September 13, 2010 - 9:17 am EDT
   
 
   
 
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  • Company: Dropbox

    URL: www.dropbox.com

    Target audience: Businesses, consumers, mobile productivity users

    Key Web executive: Drew Houston, CEO and co-founder

    Number of people who work on the site: N/A

    Last major redesign: September 2009

    No. of pages on the site: Fewer than 100

    Web developer: In-house

    Dropbox.com, an online file storage resource, hasn't been redesigned as much as it has evolved over the 2 years it's been around. "Even though we are a bunch of technologists here, we're very focused on creating solutions that hide complexity," said Drew Houston, the company's CEO and co-founder. "We definitely take inspiration from the Apples of the world."

    The most important part of the site's evolution, Houston said, has been eliminating clutter to simplify navigation. The site has a spartan look, with lots of white space. When users log on, they see a tab-based navigation system that shows their files, events, shared folders and a help bar. The main work area features file folders that can be clicked on and perused.

    Though the site is clean and simple, it does have video—and there's a reason for that, Houston said. "[Video is featured] front and center," he said. "It explains what the product is and how people can use it."

    Visitors can find help in the site's forums, which have been updated since the site's debut, and in a new developer section that was launched in May for partners who are developing third-party applications. "The business goal was to provide a better customer experience and reduce the support burden," Houston said. "So far, it's been very effective in decreasing the number of simple questions that come in."

    As for any new features, they are now added based on user feedback. Dropbox site designers added an onsite Votebox where users can look over proposed features and let their voices be heard.

    Expert commentary, Erik Loehfelm, executive director, Universal Mind: The site has a very simple interface—there's not much to it, which makes it easy to get started right away. It focuses on how the user wants to navigate. When you log in, you immediately see all the folders you share and all the assets you have on the site. There's really no learning curve at all, which makes for happier users.

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