Implemenation Model, Mental Model and Why Dropbox Rocks

Dropbox is an awesome app. According to the website “Dropbox is the easiest way to store, sync, and, share files online. There’s no complicated interface to learn.”

Simply install dropbox and a shiny new dropbox will be waiting for you on your desktop. It works on Windows, Mac, and even Linux.

Want to know how Dropbox works?

Imagine a box on all of your computers. You can drop stuff into the box and access it from all your computers, it’s almost magical.

What about the implementation model and mental model?

The implementation model is how the software actually works while the metal model reflects how the person thinks the software works and can be used. Sandwiched between the implementation model and mental model is the represented model, this is how designers choose to represent the working of the program users. A good designer will strive to match the represented model to the mental model of the users. This may mean pushing back on engineers.

Back to Dropbox

When a file is dropped into dropbox it is moved NOT copied. How cool is that! Moving files is the same behavior that users expect when dragging a file from one folder to another in the same computer. Copying is something that users expect when moving files into an external device like a USB drive.

Dropbox does an awesome job of matching the represented model the mental model of the users: Drop stuff into a box and store, sync, and share files online.

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