How Dropbox scale its design research

255411 2020-11-26 15:44

Dropbox’s design research team grew from 4 members to 30+ today. How do they scale the efforts healthily, even when the headcount for the team is limited? More researches usually mean more harm if they are done improperly.

And the major challenges for the scaling process are

  1. Untrained researchers will ask bad questions, misinterpret data, and make bad decisions.
  2. User researches happen anyway, with or without the research operation team.
  3. What kind of user research should be done by non-professionals, and what should be done by professionals?

Dropbox’s Solution

  1. Provide the right tool for unmoderated research. e.g. UserTesting, UserZoom, Lookback.
  2. Real World Wednesday. Like research speed dating, 5 researchers meet 5 users for 15 mins for each.
  3. Provide internal consultancy.

How to provide internal consultancy?

  1. Documentation: logistics, templates, privacy and security, tips and best practices (a lot of how-tos).
  2. On-on-one consulting


  • For professional research operation team
    • they get more time and energy to focus on bigger strategic projects
  • For teams and products
    • they conduct more researches
    • they build better products
    • they are less blocked by the research operation team
    • they respect the research operation team more
  • For users
    • they get more empathy


  • Still, bad researches result in bad decisions.
  • It’s hard to ensure the quality.

If you find this article helpful

follow me on Twitter :)

Download App

Learn startup engineering anywhere, anytime