It’s true. Nimbus is the senior product design thesis of Sean Nelson, student at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). This project is a response to the rising concerns around data ownership and privacy with cloud services, particularly cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. These company’s Terms of Service require you give up certain rights to your content that are user hostile. And with the ongoing concerns with federal influence over these companies—Edward Snowden, Apple vs. FBI, the new Trump administration—it’s even more pressing that individuals have a safe place to store their content while still benefiting from the features and functionality they’ve come to expect from traditional cloud services. That’s where Nimbus comes in.
With a background in user interface and user experience design, Sean wanted to approach his industrial design capstone with a multidisciplinary approach, tackling not only the hardware and packaging, but branding, software, and website experiences. He is passionate about creating products where pixels matter just as much as matter.
Research for Nimbus started in Summer 2016 and involved dozens of in-person interviews and online surveys to better understand the consumer’s perception of the cloud, cloud services, and the security implications surrounding both. Also consulted were multiple industry professionals, including Dropbox alumni and technology leadership for at the Department of Defense Cyber Crimes Center to learn more about security practices, encryption technologies, and implementation details.
Following this research came endless sketch and CAD ideation on the product, as well as exploring the information architecture, user flow, and user interface of the Nimbus iOS app. Since the software is a crucial part of Nimbus’ functionality, a significant effort was placed on developing a high-fidelity prototype using Framer. This website was built on the Jekyll framework.
The result of this thesis partially lives on this website, where you’ve seen renderings, software previews, and some deeper education in the problems Nimbus is trying to address. The rest lives as a working prototype of the Nimbus app, a physical model of the device and its packaging, and finally the exhibit that will be on display with the rest of the UCID class of 2017 capstone projects at DAAPworks—a show highlighting the creative output of each year's graduating class at UC DAAP—from April 25 to April 29 in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can learn more at ucid17.com.
Okay, on to first person now: I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback about Nimbus. You can get in touch by visiting my website at partlysean.com or simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view more of my work, you can download a PDF of my portfolio and visit my Behance profile. Thanks so much!