A year after the introduction of Spaces, Dropbox has revamped its team collaboration workspace with a stronger project management focus and the creation of a separate, dedicated area for colleagues to work together on shared projects.
The company’s aim has been to build on Dropbox’s original shared file and folder concept, adding workspaces that contain all relevant documents pertaining to a particular team project — even those hosted in G Suite or Office 365 — and the ability to @mention co-workers.
As a response to increased demand from remote teams in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dropbox developers worked to create a new interface that adds in-depth planning and project tracking capabilities to the virtual workspace. The resulting standalone feature within the main browser-based app is now available in a beta trial.
“Customers found the collaborative capabilities of [the first iteration of] Spaces to be useful, but wanted something more powerful, while other Dropbox customers preferred something focused on existing use cases,” said a Dropbox spokesperson. “By creating a separate Spaces product, we’re able to tailor the experience for each customer group —those looking to Spaces for a virtual workspace and those looking for file sync and share.”
The feature allows users to access the various “spaces” they’re part of, view a rundown of recent actions by co-workers, update their personal to-do list, and see agendas for upcoming video meetings, thanks to integration with Google and Microsoft calendars.
Each “space” provides more detail of work under way in a particular project. A key element is tighter integration with Paper, Dropbox’s flexible productivity tool, which is used to provide an overview page for each shared workspace. This can include project descriptions, related content such as shared documents, project timelines and tasks assigned to each team member.
There are also more detailed views of team tasks, and the ability to share updates with colleagues and add new members to a “space.”
“Dropbox has evolved from personal and team folders to Team Spaces where workers are connected to the people, assets, and integrations they need to get work done,” said Wayne Kurtzman, a research director at IDC. “The blank-slate approach, albeit with guides as needed, provides a flexible collaboration platform without complicating the platform.”