My Role:  Lead UX Designer

Team:  Ying Chen (UI Designer) & Judy Lee (UX Design Intern)

Tools:  Sketch App and InVision


Runner is a next-generation cloud storage and sharing platform to centrally store, manage, review and distribute digital files to users worldwide.  Runner supports the workflows of teams all across Sony Pictures Entertainment as well as assisting outside vendors.

As our team retired older DAM systems and migrated all users and content in to Runner, it became apparent that we would need to start adjusting functionality to better suit the needs of our users.




The initial problem statement that came to the design team via our Product Owner was that is was just too difficult dealing with "a ton" of assets.  Now that everyone was using Runner and filling it with tons and tons of content, it was becoming harder for people to complete their work in a straight forward manner.  Depending upon a users access permissions and search terms, they could be sifting through hundreds of thousands of assets at a time

Depending upon my access permissions and search terms, I could be sifting through hundreds of thousands of assets at a time


The example given to us was "Let's say that I want to create an email share with 400 assets... it takes so long for me to batch it them up, add them to my cart, select them all again, send the share and then remove them"  Looking at the absolute minimum amount of clicks to accomplish this series of tasks, we're looking at a minimum or 54 clicks.


Pagination was put in place throughout the site for two reasons:

  1. To increase technical performance site wide
  2. To help users focus on the most relevant content

Unfortunately, when it came to large batch actions, having to click through multiple pages, make your selection(s) and repeat, became a huge drain.

Example workflow and click count


After sitting with and observing multiple Runner users from different groups, with different workflows, a theme started to develop.  Users have multiple projects, both big and small, that they need to be working on in the same general timeframes but when they started adding all of these assets to their cart, it became a total mess.  At the same time that I was observing this behavior and hearing these frustrations, a user sent an email to one of our business relationship managers asking to have a "date added" field added to the cart page.  People all over were running in to the same problem but were vocalizing it in all different ways!

Problem 2.png


As users would showcase the problems they were facing working in their cart, they would also detail the workarounds they were using.

  1. Users were creating new folders (and whole folder trees) in the system as a staging area before moving things to their cart and taking action on them.
  2. Users were permanently changing the names of assets in order to add a unique text string that could be searched for at a later date. 

These workarounds, while potentially clearer to the user, adds many more steps to their work flow and potentially alter the experience for other users in the system!



So, we have a few problems that our users are facing that on the surface may seem separate from one another.  But as one of our users put it:

To me, my cart is my workspace. Everything I do goes through the cart
— Chris Creator

Problem Number 1 was focused on wrangling up and dealing with large quantities of assets going in and out of the Cart while Problem Number 2 was all about maintaining organization in the cart.  These take-a-ways also re-enforce pain points and needs that had been highlighted in our User Personas.




When we started looking at the problems, we looked them individually.  For starters, we looked at the problems users with having with selecting a ton of assets and the amount of time that took.  We started to explore a potential select all feature but realized that would open up too many additional performance issues (We definitely don't want users selecting 300,000 assets with one click and trying to take action on them all.  CRASH!).  Other potential solutions wouldn't deal with, what we deemed to be the bigger issue, cart organization at all.

Shifting our focus to Cart organization, we started to try and think about other websites and platforms that allow for building and organizing lists of content. Knowing that both personas we were dealing with were open to innovation but also had speed as a key need, we wanted to look at high traffic consumer facing platforms in hopes of finding intuitive examples.

When you think of a cart, you think of shopping.  The initial name and functionality of the feature were pulled from an e-commerce experience but we found that it no longer held up.  The ability to organize a shopping cart was pretty much non-existent. 

So we shifted our thinking and began thinking about playlists.  When you boil it down to the essentials, a playlist is a cart full of things you want to listen to, not buy.  Where we saw the biggest correlation was that you could create different playlists, name them, arrange and distribute them.

We began looking at the top music and video platforms to see what they did that worked, specifically, how they handled the interaction of adding content to a playlist.