Sean Nelson

Nimbus

Nimbus is a secure, private cloud for your home that encrypts and syncs your files to keep them safe from third parties. Finally, a Cloud with a silver lining.

Nimbus was my senior product design thesis at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecure, Art, and Planning (DAAP). A response to the rising concerns surrounding data ownership and privacy with cloud services, particularly cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. I approached my capstone as a multidiciplinary project—one that tackles not only the hardware design, but also branding, software, packaging, and website experiences.

Black and White Nimbus Devices Nimbus App on iPhones

Research

The Nimbus product lives in a space that is governed by the perception of security and privacy versus the reality. I began by reading the Terms of services and Privacy Policies of the most popular cloud storage services to get a legal foundation of how they're using and storing user data. From there, I conducted dozens of in-person interviews and surveys to learn what services people use, trust, and their alignments to a number of high-profile security controversies in the past few years.

You can read further into the survey results and subsequent insights in my process book (PDF download).

Sketches of Nimbus Sketches of Nimbus Sketches of Nimbus Testing Scale Testing Scale
Photo of the Nimbus device and packaging on a table Rendering of the ports used on the Nimbus device

Software

The Nimbus hardware finds itself in a unique position—if the device is working, you never have to touch (or see) it, if you don't want to. For this reason, the companion smartphone app is, in many ways, Nimbus.

I began by outlining the architecture of the app, wireframed the user flow, and coded a high fidelity working prototype of the app for testing and demo purposes. This aided in both validating the design decisions and showing off reimagined features, like a new way to drag-and-drop files in a table view.

Photo of the Nimbus device and packaging on a table Rendering of the ports used on the Nimbus device Download the full user flow document (10 MB) Screenshot of the Framer code I pushed Framer to its limits with this prototype. Try it out yourself!