Media Library user interviews: Summary of findings

To get a better understanding of the kinds of tasks users perform in the current Media Library (and related Add Media page) before working on refinements to the Media Grid project, we interviewed 8 users on their current habits, tasks, pain points, and a little about what they would like to see.

TL;DR: Grid is good, but…

Images are by far the most common media type to be found in user’s libraries, and files can number into the hundreds (some in the thousands) in most cases. Given this, most users would benefit from the ability to see larger thumbnails of files, as well as a more a efficient grid layout.

However, much of the data that is displayed in the list view (title, attachment page, date, etc.) is also important to how users sort through and find media, and their importance changes based on the “mode” the user is in, so parity with the list view, or the option to switch back to it, will be important.

Want to know more about the interviews? Read on…  

Is there a theme?

Answers tended to vary, but the majority of people we talked to said that they visited the Media Library (and the Add New Media page) only occasionally. However, those visits to the library were often related to tasks that could not be easily performed elsewhere, such as:

  • bulk deletion (bulk uploading)
  • deletion of duplicate or unneeded files
  • locate broken files
  • retrieving info related to usage and attachment page
  • retrieval of the URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL to the media file itself

Many tasks with the same activity

Searching is by far the most common activity that is key to most tasks performed in the media library. As explained above, the tasks themselves tended to vary, but all these tasks had some element that related searching for and locating media files, something most we spoke to found to be challenging in the current Media Library.

Strategies used to search for media in the library varied, though visual scanning of the thumbnails was commonly cited. This is no surprise at is was the most common type of media file by a large margin, according to those we spoke with.

However, many we interviewed also said that they scanned the text data (title, attachment page, date, etc.) to aid in their searching. Clicking columns to re-sort the view, as well as using filters such as author and date, were less frequently mentioned but were still important to some depending on the task.

Enhancements worth considering

Several we spoke to said that larger thumbnails and/or grids of thumbnails would be helpful, which is good validation of the work to date. In addition to this, the following enhancements were mentioned frequently, and so seemed to be worth a mention, even if they potentially are outside of scope.

Related to the ability to search through and organize media, one key feature request was the ability to add taxonomies (tags, categories, albums, etc.) to media to allow for grouping and classification, as well as to make searching for specific files easier. This was mentioned by about half of the people we spoke to

Also, retrieving the media file URL was a common task for many, so exposing this somehow in the main library view would save a lot of people from needing to click on a media file to find that in the media details page.


Want to know more about what we asked, and the kinds of responses we got? Feel free to read the transcripts here:

User Interview 1
User Interview 2
User Interview 3
User Interview 4
User Interview 5
User Interview 6
User Interview 7
User Interview 8