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Shared notes UX upgrade

Case study - Samsung notes

Project Background

Project intro

The project is about elevating the collaboration experience by addressing the shifting landscape of user goals over the years.


  • R&D, Sr. professional

  • HQ UX designers, VP of design

  • Samsung account team

  • 3rd party research agency

My Role

Collaborating with a third-party research agency, I developed the recruitment criteria and interview questions for a study on general productivity enhancement. Upon reviewing the report, I identified a pressing need for improvements to the notes app - collaboration feature.


To address this, I worked alongside headquarters UX designers, NJ office UX designers, and PM colleagues, to ideate potential solutions. I also collaborated with R&D to ensure the proposed design solutions were feasible and incorporated their feedback into the final design presentation, which was presented to the VP.

As a result, the shared notes feature was successfully launched in the beta version in March 2023.

Why Upgrade?

There is a demand, but why don’t our users use Samsung notes for collaboration?

Based on the user research, it appears that all users rely on their phone's note app for quick and easy note-taking. A significant portion of these users also share their notes with others.
However, the adoption of the Samsung note-sharing feature is low, with only a few users having used it.

Use note app a few times per week, if not daily

Share notes with others

Usage for Samsung shared notebook

The 'Shared notebook' is an outdated system.

Samsung's current approach to note-sharing is 'Shared notebook,' which only allows users to share entire notebooks rather than individual notes. Users wants to have a quick and easy solution.
Therefore, we are proposing the new ‘Shared notes.’

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News from April 2019

The Outcome
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Our users love the new solution. The new version received an 87.5% satisfaction rate and also boosted the rating for the overall app in the Google play store.

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Research & Definition


Multiple workshops and interview sessions were conducted to align our internal teams. We also met with user groups to understand their high-level expectations. These sessions provided valuable insights and set the foundation for our user-centered approach.

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Current Issues

By using various research methods such as user interviews, competitor analysis, and feature evaluation, I found below major issues with the current feature.

1. Inaccessibility & Lack of Flexibility
2. Complex setup process

3. Unclear target limitation

4. Lack of multi-device usage functions

In the later section, I will tackle all three issues and provide new design solutions.

User journey map

Inaccessibility& Lack of Flexibility

'Shared notebooks' is hard to find

Users can't find 'Shared notebooks' under the homepage (All notes), they can only find them by switching to the 'Shared notebooks' tab in the menu. I have also found user comments on Reddit talking about the need to have a collaboration feature on Samsung notes - four years after we launched it.

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'Shared notebooks' is not flexible

To compose a shared note, the current solution needs users to set up a 'Shared notebook' first. Not only the process is longer, but users can't modify members for individual shared note.

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Information Architecture As-Is

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By conducting competitor analysis, it is clear that the market stand is to offer 'Shared notes,' which is more approachable and easy to jump into the composing phase. Therefore on top of the 'Shared notebook,' we are adding the new standalone 'Shared notes' component to the collaboration feature within Samsung notes.

Competitor Analysis

Merge the new 'Shared notes' with the current structure

Since we decided to add standalone 'Shared notes,' I need to understand if it is going to make a huge impact on the Information Architecture and evaluate the development cost with R&D. Luckily, the new concept can be added as a separate branch and merge into the current 'Shared notebooks' tab.

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Information Architecture To-Be

'Shared notes' Homepage Re-design

The first screen I need to redesign is the 'Shared notebooks' homepage, now called the 'Shared notes' homepage. By adapting the current 'All notes' layout and component, and organizing 'Shared notebooks' and 'Shared notes,' I was able to merge the two successful types together on one page.

Another improvement is the invitation; the current design asks users to land on another page to accept or decline the request. However, it is hidden and separated from the main page. The new design adds a dynamic area for the invitation and any other notification. It is more obvious, and if there is none notification, the card will be dismissed.

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As-Is Shared notebooks Homepage

As-Is Invitations

As-Is Popup

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To-Be Shared notes Homepage

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To-Be Shared notes Homepage with invitation

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To-Be Demo

Complex setup process

Confusion when creating a 'Shared notebook'

Most note-taking apps in the market offer a simple and fast way to share individual notes.
Users need to create a notebook first and select the people they want to share it with. Based on the test result, users usually stop when they are asked to select people to share with because they are not sure what they are doing, and they don't want to send wrong messages to other people.

As-Is Invite other screens

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As-Is User flow

New ways to quickly setup 'Shared note'

With the new standalone 'Shared notes' and a new layout for the 'Shared notes' homepage, users will be able to either compose a 'Shared note' by tapping on FAB on the 'Shared note' homepage; converting a personal note into a 'Shared note;' or adding it into an existing a 'Shared notebook.'

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To-Be User flow

New ways to collabrate with others

The sharing method is also easier now. Users can select the recipient from the contact page, just like before; or share it as a link. By sharing as a link, users can just paste the link anywhere such as messages app or any social media platform.

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To-Be Invite others Demo

To-Be Shared as link Demo

Unclear target user limitation

Low visibility on sharing limitation

The other issue from the sharing process is that the feature can only be used for people who have Samsung accounts. The contact information of non-Samsung users is hidden. The only way users can see this rule is by tapping the information icon. Only 5% of the users were able to find out.

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As-is Contact list

As-is Information icon

Clear UI indication on sharing limit

To resolve this issue, I redesigned the contact page showed all the contacts in the contact list, and disabled those who can't be shared due to development costs and strategic decisions.

I also make sure I mention the keyword 'Samsung account' and clarify the sharing limitation when users first pick the sharing method.

With these new approaches, 80% of users understood the sharing limitation during our user testing.

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To-Be Contact list

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To-Be Share popup

Multi-device usage

Seamless switch among devices

We noticed that our Samsung users usually obtain more than one device, and even though we have already offered an excellent syncing experience among devices, automatically saved all the progress. I want to take a step further as there is a need from the user during our research.

By reinforcing the seamless switching experience, it will also increase brand loyalty and usage for other Samsung devices.

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To fulfill this need, I came up with a 'temporary entrance' for Samsung notes, where the users can just use one tap to resume editing, landing on the exact file where they left off.

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The new solution will save the effort of finding the note. However, the location of the 'temporary entrance' was a challenge. I first put it on the home screen, but then I realized that users usually have their own way of setting up the home screen. Even though it is approachable, it can be annoying for the users.

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Iteration 1- putting on homescreen

The second iteration was to put in the 'Recents,' since it is a place where users retrieve their progress, it makes sense to put the temporary entrance here. And it does not affect users' customization on the home screen.

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Iteration 2- putting on 'Recents'

Dark theme

Dark mode is supported

As one of the features in Samsung One UI, dark mode is also supported for all the screens. We are also seeing growth among our users in the usage of dark mode.

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To-Be Shared notes Homepage

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To-Be Shared notes detailed page

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To-Be member page

Outcome & Items to improve


  • Presented to EVP and fellow HQ UX designers

  • Launched the feature in March 2023 in Beta version

  • Received 87.5% satisfaction rate

Items to improve

There is never the perfect design, some areas can be investigated further or revisited in the future when the team has more time or resources. The way of collaborating among teams can also be optimized for the next project.

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Font table

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Color palette

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