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April 10, 2013
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Why Backupify Is Redesigning Our Google Apps Product Interface

We’re revamping the Backupify for Google Apps product interface, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to pull back the curtain on how the design process works at Backupify. This is my first major project since I joined the team as design director. In the first post, I wanted to talk a little about the reasons for the redesign of Backupify for Google Apps.

Our current interface has been around since we launched Backupify for Google Apps in 2010, when Backupify was just a handful of engineers holed up in a windowless room, fueled by coffee, bourbon and fevered dreams of securing the world’s cloud data.

Much has changed since then. Web technology has matured, and improvements such as HTML5 and CSS3, responsive grids, and beautiful fonts allow us to create much richer and more pleasurable user experiences. So, the first reason for a product interface refresh is that every product needs a makeover every now and then, just to keep up with current standards and user expectations.

Backupify, too, has changed. Our office now has windows! (And a women’s bathroom.) We still have great engineers, and have added UI and graphic designers, front-end developers and product managers, who all share the same passion for providing the best cloud-to-cloud backup.

Most importantly, the needs of our users have evolved. Did you know that the first version of Backupify for Google Apps didn’t allow for restoring data? Yes, your Gmail messages, Google Drive documents, Calendar events, Contact entries and Google Sites were secure, but if you wanted to get back a deleted item, you needed to download it from Backupify and manually re-upload it into Google Apps.

As we’ve added one-click restore and other essential features, we tweaked the interface to accommodate them. However, since the Backupify for Google Apps interface wasn’t originally designed for a lot of this functionality, many of our coolest and most useful features are relatively hidden within the current design. While this may not be a huge problem for our more savvy users, it is not a good experience for those less familiar with the product.

Most of the IT administrators we talked to wanted users to be able to retrieve their items without calling the help desk every time. They wanted the tool to be very easy to use. “I just want to get in and get out” is what we heard from many.

To accommodate these evolving demands, we needed to redesign our interface from scratch. In my next post I describe how we did that and answer the burning question: “Just how many cappuccinos does it take to design a dashboard?”

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