Shift Share Experience

Sharing is a central feature in Shift. Users regularly share files for collaboration and review both internally and externally. Our final solution needed to shorten the time product users spent on the tasks they perform the most to increase workflow efficiencies.


The previous sharing modal lacked hierarchy and did not offer sufficient guidance and validation for the four possible sharing use cases. Our users needed the ability to share as efficiently as possible with minimal cognitive load / friction.


I initiated a product discovery cycle to map out sharing parameters and user flows. After partnering with PMs and data scientists, to assimilate customer and data insights, I finalized the proposed workflows and designed all product screens for each use case. We saw an 11% improvement in share completion rates within 2 weeks of release.


This was the default view of the Sharing Modal before this cycle

We recognized several issues with the existing experience:

  1. The user was being presented with far too many options at once.
  2. The experience lacked clear hierarchy
  3. Dissimilar actions were given equal prominence
  4. Validation in the modal was severely lacking, creating potential dead ends in the experience
  5. Unique sharing workflows involving watermarked content were not guided
  6. The size of the modal indicated a cognitive load much greater than should be required

We analyzed the data currently available: 

From the time period of Jan 4 - Feb 3, we saw the Share modal opened an average of 3,638 time a day with 2,465 links actually sent. Over a longer period of time, we found that approximately 20% of users were opening the Share modal and then closing without sending a review link.We hoped to decrease this gap within 6 months after shipping the new features.


Based on this context, I hypothesized that:

  • Implementing progressive disclosure would improve learnability, efficiency of use, and share completion rate.
  • Decreasing the size of the modal would reduce cognitive load, encouraging more completion
  • Mapping every possible workflow would ensure we presented validation and messaging to best guide users through every possible sharing scenario

The product team finalized three key data tracking points to measure post-release:

  • Increase in share completion rate
  • Adoption rate of the newly introduced on-demand watermarking feature
  • Percentage of users just creating links vs % of users sending those links via a custom email


User Flows

I mapped out all parameters and user flows and presented these back to product stakeholders to ensure all possible use cases were included.

Competitive Analysis: How do similar or competing platforms guide their users through different sharing workflows?

In discovery, the Product team compared sharing in our legacy platforms with sharing from other common industry platforms. We incorporate Jakob's Law in our product design decision-making and knew that it would be important to follow patterns from other platforms our audience is most familiar.

Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.

Establishing the User Story

As a <producer / project manager>, I want < to quickly share assets for review> so that < I can gather feedback efficiently>.

The Workflows

We honed in on 4 primary workflows based on permission set

  • Shares to anyone with a link
  • Shares to anyone with a password
  • Shares to only workspace members
  • Shares that include watermarked content (and limit other options)

After several iterations and numerous features additions and subtractions, we ended up with the matrix above.

The Design

The new share modal reflects only the most commonly used actions by default to create a clearer workflow. Once a link is created, the link generates at the bottom of the modal and can be copied via the Copy Link button or via the link field itself.

 Access, expiration, enable downloads/feedback are the primary options

The simplicity of this new view allowed us to create a clearer experience for sending an email. After a link has been generated, the user can select "Email Link" which allows them to send a custom email to recipients. This was a highly requested feature.

Customizing an email for link recipients

Because the new share modal prioritizes commonly used actions, all secondary options were moved to an "Advanced" view. Secondary options included file sort, advanced audience controls, and one-off watermarking.

Moving watermarking to the Advanced mode ensured that any watermark specific validation could be displayed in context.

Validation States

We supported over a dozen different validation states to avoid the dead ends a user previously encountered. Here is one below: 

We added validation explaining why sending is disabled if a user does not define workspace recipients


In previous iterations of the modal, we treated notifications as a toggle with downloads and feedback. However after exploring common patterns in other applications, we opted to treat this as a subscribe icon. This choice differentiated notifications from audience and content related options to support clearer hierarchy.

Data Validation Two Weeks After Release

The data science team reviewed before and after data points to glean the following comparisons two weeks after the new experience was released.


  • 80% of product users who opened the share modal sent a link
  • The product user who shared a link took 86 seconds to do so

Post Release

  • 91% of product users who opened the share modal sent a link (11% improvement within 2 weeks)
  • The product users who shared a link took 62 seconds to do so (28% faster)