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WANTED: Feedback on Sharing files

WANTED: Feedback on Sharing files


Hi everyone,


It's Kevin again! I'm on a team at Dropbox focused on improving the experience of using Dropbox to make it easier to understand and use. All year, we'll be working with the community to identify pain points in our product to fix. To date, we've already fixed hundreds of bugs and weird experiences thanks to reports from customers.


Something we're exploring right now: Should we modify the Sharing experience to reduce the steps it takes to share files and folders? Dropbox currently lets you share in two different ways: (1) you can input an email address to another person, and they an accept to access the file or folder -or- (2) you can generate and copy a shared link to send to another person.


We want to hear from all of you about which sharing method you currently favor and why? Do you use both concurrently? Would you be very upset if we changed either of them? If you can give a little context about how you use sharing (sending photos to family, delivering files to a client, etc.), that will be really useful as well!


Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.

3 Replies 3

Re: WANTED: Feedback on Sharing files

Super User II

I use both if I'm honest. 


I mainly use the 'input email and use via Dropbox systems' for shared folders people have edit access to OR when I dont need to add additional info. 


I use the copy link and send via my own email if i need to add extra info / steps or instructions. I wouldnt be too bothered about the first one going but would be devastated if this one went.


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Re: WANTED: Feedback on Sharing files


Hi Mark,


Thanks for the great reply. It seems like you use both types of sharing, but that you use link sharing more frequently. (I'm inferring based on your comment that you'd be less bothered if we did away with email sharing.) Do you wish we made link sharing more prominent, easier to access, etc. or are you more of the belief that changes will be distracting and confusing?

Re: WANTED: Feedback on Sharing files

Mark K.50
New member | Level 2

I use dropbox daily and sharing frequently. It seems like sharing used to be a much simpler process or there were less options. Now each time I want to share a file I have to run through a list of questions before I choose an option...

- Do I need to move this to my Public folder? 

- Do I want to "Send a Copy"? I tend to mostly do this now, but I prefer to use it to generate a link that I can then manually send via email.

- Do I want to "Copy Dropbox Link"? 

- Do I want to use "Share" to generate a link? I don't even know what this does anymore. Is this generating a link different than "Send a Copy" would generate? Different from "Copy Dropbox Link" 

- Do I want to share a folder or file? 

- Does the recipient need to have a Dropbox account for the option I'm choosing? 


The majority of files that I'm sharing are files that will be publicly available on my website, so I don't have any privacy concerns in that case as I'll be making them available for download anyway. When I do need to send a file that I don't want anyone to access other than the intended recipient, it takes me even longer to seek out the proper sharing option. 


Yes I could go to the Dropbox website and search the help forum to find these answers, but the whole point of Dropbox, for me, from the beginning was the simplicity. I've never had to read the manual, it just seamlessly worked. I've been using Dropbox from the beginning and only within the last several years have I started to feel like it's grown more complex; there are products that I don't want, like all of them: Capture, Screenshare Storage/link, Backup, Signature... that have been pushed on me to use. I generally try them out because I like the core DB product, but then they don't fit my need so I have to undo whatever setting changes are necessary and it feels disorganized. I don't mind those products but I feel they get in the way of the core use of Dropbox and for me, bring little value and just get in the way. Why do I need to backup my photos separately, my screenshots separately, have a separate 'backup,' AND store my files in Dropbox? I'm sure there is a reason and a workflow to support this but I don't know what it is and I really don't want to go searching for it. It's not intuitive like Dropbox has always been.


What's the point of the Public folder anymore if I can share files outside of the Public folder? I liked that as it gave a very clear wall... anything outside of the Public folder was safe. Anything inside the Public folder, I needed to pay attention to what I put in there and who I shared it with.


Not trying to say these things are wrong, but these are the questions that go through my head now whenever I need to interact directly with Dropbox. It seems like I no longer understand what used to be a very simple product that did one thing exceptionally well - sync my files.  You installed Dropbox, or told your grandmother to install Dropbox and then it worked seamlessly with the OS -- Mac or Windows, didn't matter. Synced with my phone, iPad, etc...  I didn't have to explain to my grandmother how to use it. Try doing that now? "Grandma, can you setup Dropbox to backup your external drive I gave you for Christmas and share those pictures with me?"


Not to mention it's completely broken on MacOS now -- and I know that's another story, but... it's worse than it used to be and that's not a good product direction.


Again, I'm sure with enough time I could find the answers to these questions, but these are the frustrations that I have had lately with what used to be one of my favorite apps that easily solved problems and just worked without searching for answers.


For me, the easiest share option is to generate a link and then either email or text it to the recipient. I typically do this using the "Send a Copy" option and then copy the link and send it separately via email or text. I think what I like about this method is the download page that "Send a Copy" creates and I get notifications when the files are downloaded. Maybe this happens with other share options also... I haven't spent the time to find out. 


I wouldn't have an issue if you changed the current options. I'd like to see a single, simplified sharing panel that let's me generate a link that I can share on my own and clear, understandable privacy options. I've always liked the simplicity of Dropbox and I think that's what I would like most in a share option. 


Thanks for asking for feedback. I think you have a difficult problem to solve. Good luck!

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    Mark K.50 New member | Level 2
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    KevinAtDropbox Dropboxer
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    Mark Super User II
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