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Storage project mockup.jpg


Nudge theory to inform better decisions

for Cambridge University Information Services

Being one of the top universities in the world, Cambridge University Information Services have well established information management tools in place to enable the university's success in achieving excellence in research and education. The service also needs to provide data storage for all departments, disciplines and project types: from gene sequencing to celestial imaging. Cambridge University Information Services asked Dovetailed to create an accessible service to meet the demands of its academic community and their varied data storage needs.


  • Design strategy

  • User research

  • UX design

  • Qualitative and quantitative data collection

  • Data analysis

  • Wireframes

  • Interactive prototypes

  • Usability studies

  • Participant recruitment

User Research

To better understand the users' needs, we organised and ran a series of structured workshops. This allowed us to systematically collect rich insights into how principal investigators, researchers, administrators and students work and what their needs are in terms of their data storage. We then analysed this qualitative and quantitative data to draw detailed insights, which we then presented as user journeys and personas.

Data Driven Service Design

We ran surveys to understand what language was being used when the users talked about their data. We also wanted to know how they managed their projects, their delegation habits and what happens at the end of funded projects. We also surveyed how much they would be prepared to pay for it.

Having collected these insights, we started prototyping and creating wireframes we could show to internal stakeholders. This led to usability tests with different user groups that would be using this service across multiple departments. As part of this we measured their responses, feedback and actions.

Testing with real users

We recruited students, admin staff and academics, and asked them to complete a set of tasks that mimicked their everyday data storage practices. Our studies revealed how users interacted with our new storage system.

We worked closely with the development team which allowed us to rapidly make and test changes in-situ.


Our research, testing and feedback helped shape a service that is now being used by thousands of students and academics. This has measurably improved the University's service and took out long-standing pain points for users.

We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Dovetailed team on this project. Well thought through research, solid recommendations and innovative designs.

—  Head of Project

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