alexandra owens

UX Asset Clarity
« UX


Digital Asset Management for Creatives


The Problem

Digital Asset Management (DAM) System’s reliance on file naming and folder structure can cause significant issues for users, and the human error and management issues can compound the problem. Users report losing up to 25% of their work week causing lost time and decreased productivity as well as potential revenue loss for companies and creatives. Addressing the challenges of DAM systems is critical for improving user experience and maximizing productivity.

The Solution

To address the challenges faced by users of current DAM systems, AssetClarity proposes implementing an advanced filtering and tagging system using both user input via data fields as well as an intelligent tagging system using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. The use of both user input and AI-powered metadata to enhance filtering and tagging capabilities is a strong solution that can significantly improve the accuracy and speed of asset search and retrieval.

By reducing the dependence on manual file naming and folder structures, users can save time and focus on more productive work. The implementation of advanced filtering and tagging can also improve the accuracy and speed of asset search and retrieval, leading to increased user satisfaction and client satisfaction, which can ultimately result in increased revenue for the company.

By utilizing a combination of user input and AI-powered metadata, AssetClarity would provide a comprehensive approach to address the challenges of current DAM systems, ultimately resulting in improved productivity, satisfaction, and revenue.

My Role

The design process followed for this project was user-centered and iterative, consisting of several stages including ideation, prototyping, and user testing. I worked with Anne Pike, my UX mentor to implement the following: 

- Research methods such as secondary research, user interviews, empathy mapping, and user personas to ensure that the design is based on a solid understanding of the user's needs and goals. 

- Methods such as sketching, wireframing, prototyping, and user testing to iterate and refine my initial idea to create a final design that is user-centered and effective. 

- High-fidelity designs to help communicate the final vision and ensure that the design is ready for development and implementation.

The Process

UX Strategy & Research

Background and Exploration: The exploration stage involved extensive research and analysis of the user pain points, requirements, and goals. I conducted interviews and surveys to gather user feedback and understand their needs and preferences. I also conducted a thorough analysis of the existing system, its strengths, and weaknesses, and identified opportunities for improvement.

Target Audience:

  • Use desktop and mobile Digital Asset Management systems regularly  
  • Have worked on Creative or Marketing teams in the past 
  • Familiar with organizational file management systems (e.g. Dropbox or Google Drive)
  • Share files with external or internal stakeholders in their current job 

“Nobody considers [find-ability] for creative work - they assume the designer has everything right there – just grab it out of the cloud!   In reality every job really does start with upwards of 2 hours just collecting assets.” 

– C. Eldred

Key Pain Points

Synthesizing the Research 

Based on my research, I brainstormed ideas and potential solutions for the problem. I created empathy maps and user personas to help develop a deeper understanding of my target users and their needs.

Empathy Mapping

I created an Empathy Map as a visual representation to help understand and communicate the needs and experiences of users. By including insights gained from my user interviews, such as user values, goals, and motivations, empathy maps can help articulate the user's perspective and provide a visual guide throughout the design process.

User Personas

I created user personas to help develop a more focused perspective of my target audience and their specific use cases, frustrations, and needs. By creating three personas, I accounted for different user types, allowing for the design of a more effective and user-centered digital asset management (DAM) system.

While all three personas overlap in their reliance on (DAM) systems, their technical proficiencies and personal organizational patterns vary. Both Olivia and Matteo are highly technically proficient. However, while Matteo has a very strict file naming structure in place and is managerial both in personality and job title, Olivia works in a more creative, and often scattered, manner. On one hand Olivia needs an improved (DAM) system more than Matteo, but is also more likely to adapt to a new system quickly, since Matteo has a strict reliance on his previous approaches. 

Anna has an equal amount of frustration around finding assets and is often crunched to deliver assets to external vendors and clients in a timely manner. While she isn’t creating her own assets, as a reliable and responsible person, her inability to quickly find and deliver assets is a strong pain point for her.


How Might We: I proposed three How Might We Questions in order to turn my insights and information gathered from user interviews and synthesis into actionable challenges to help inspire innovative solutions.

  • How might we improve the findability of digital assets within a management system? 
  • How might we improve the searchability of digital assets within a management system? 
  • How might we help creatives manage version control throughout multiple iterations on a project?

Minimal Viable Product:

  • Spend more time being creative
  • Easily Receive and deliver assets
  • Data entry and machine learning recognition to prevent duplicates (a non file-name based storage system)

User Journey Map + RedRoutes 


Sketches and User Flows: Having established my MVP, I created sketches of my red routes and conducted guerrilla testing with five participants before building out an initial wireflow.

Moodboard and Style Guide

Because AssetClarity will serve essentially as a blank canvas for visual assets, the design and branding need to be unobtrusive and understated with as much breathing room and reduced visual noise as possible. Furthermore, AssetClarity should feel friendly and welcoming in a restrained way - adding a touch of warmth which is often missing from existing finder and file management systems.


In the prototyping stage, I created low-fidelity wireframes to visualize and iterate on potential solutions. I used the wireframes to get feedback from test subjects, refining my designs based on their feedback. I then developed high-fidelity prototypes that were more detailed and interactive, allowing users to interact with the product and provide more meaningful feedback.

User Testing

User testing was conducted throughout the design process, and was critical to ensuring that my solutions were meeting user needs and addressing their pain points. I conducted usability tests, gathering feedback on the user interface and experience.  

Findings: I conducted two rounds of remote moderated usability tests with four test subjects where I tasked each user with moving through four red routes for my proposed site. I found these users through my professional network.  All have experience with digital asset management, though the degrees of proficiency and the means by which they use them varied. 

The red routes included:

  • Creating a new gallery and uploading a file to this gallery
  • Sharing a link to the first image in the gallery
  • Sorting the assets in the main library by “date created”.
  • Filtering the assets using tags

My primary goals for discovery included:

  • How do users respond to the organization of the primary layout?
  • Are users easily able to share content?
  • Do users struggle to find the specific tools to manage the content?
  • Do users find the tools they need efficiently on the screen?

While I didn’t have a concrete hypothesis, I was most curious to see how each user navigated all the different tools and how they responded to the layout. 

Design Iteration 

Design decisions were made based on user feedback, user needs, and business goals. The focus was on improving the user experience and addressing user pain points. I prioritized the features and functionality that would have the greatest impact on the user experience and business value.

On my initial screens, users struggled to immediately see how to engage with the content when I asked them to share a link to one particular asset.

Instead of having the kabab menu only appear in the hover state, I made it visible at all times. This way the users can see that there are additional actions available to them. The file info and expand and download options are still only apparent during the hover state (though would be visible as soon as a user navigated to the kabab menu). 

Though not apparent in static screens, I also added cross functionality to various elements. For example, you can add content while building a new gallery (something I included in my initial prototype) but you can use the “add” option in the top right navigation menu as well. Furthermore, the Avatar serves as both a “home” option and also brings the user back to their full library. 


By identifying key pain points and developing solutions to address them, I was able to improve the overall user experience of the product.

The addition of overlapping functionality across the screen and more UI visual indicators are both effective solutions to improving the user experience. These changes made it easier for users to find what they were looking for and made the platform more intuitive and visually helpful. 

It’s important to acknowledge that there may be a learning curve in the transition from traditional file name and folder structure based use. However, the benefits of the new system, such as increased efficiency and accuracy, will ultimately outweigh any short-term challenges. With the improved user experience, users are more likely to achieve their desired outcomes, which can lead to greater user satisfaction and better business outcomes.


Through an extensive research and iteration process, I have gained valuable insights into the asset management industry. While my initial focus was on the problem of duplicate and version control, my research revealed that the main issue hindering good asset management was findability. In fact, users were losing a significant amount of time searching for assets. This discovery has led me to reevaluate my approach and focus on finding a solution to this critical issue. By implementing a more streamlined and efficient search system, AssetClarity can help users save time and improve their overall asset management process.

During usability testing, I discovered that participants were gravitating towards multiple screen sites and elements in order to execute on an action. To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the user's actions, I made the same tasks actionable across different navigations and buttons. This cross-functional approach in UI features proved to be successful in improving the user's overall experience.

Additionally, this experience reinforced the importance of keeping the user at the forefront of the design process. It is crucial to question any pre-existing knowledge, biases, and visual design priorities in order to create a user-centered design. By doing so, we can create a better user experience that meets their needs and expectations.

Using Format