It took us over a decade to nail the best usability principles for Web 2. Since then, we have learned what users expect from products, how to engage them, and what to do to keep them. But blockchain and Web 3 have changed game rules, implying more freedom — but more challenges.
We at Arounda have jumped into Web 3 with Xblocks and MintySwap blockchain projects. Both products revealed to our design agency the complexity and enchantment of the crypto environment. In this article, we’ll share our insights on the design challenges in Web3 we’ve encountered in our projects.
The main pain points of Web3 design are poor user research, unclear visual language, and ambiguity of product value.
The Web3 revolution caught UI/UX designers by surprise. The Web 3 crowd was in the shadows — everything we knew is that they purged privacy and didn’t post their morning yoga on Instagram. Under these circumstances, researching without compromising user privacy also became challenging.
So how do you design for someone you don’t know and who is willing to stay anonymous? You need a long time on user research. But dedicating this time is essential. A deep exploration of the Web 3 users helps to avoid misinterpretation in the design and build a stronger connection with the customers.
Crypto designs are easily recognizable by dark backgrounds, pixel art, and Web 3 color palettes. But when hundreds of products have the same mysterious look, it is crucial to stand out from the crowd yet maintain the affiliation to the Web 3 environment.
Original branding is one of the common UX challenges in a Web3 design. Most products want to impress users with fascinating animations or extraordinary website flow. Unfortunately, trying to attract people with striking visuals erodes user expectations and diminishes the recognition of Web 3 designs.
Many UX designers are still not into Web3. That’s why it is hard to understand and display the value of ultra-innovative crypto products. Are they trustworthy and reliable? And how exactly does this technology improve people's wellness?
One of our biggest challenges with the MintySwap NFT marketplace project was studying the crypto environment. We processed gigabytes of educational materials, researched prominent marketplaces, and were close to creating non-fungible tokens ourselves. All of that was necessary to master the concepts and the workflow of the blockchain and convey it in designs.
Web3 is no longer a privilege of a small early adopter community. But with more people entering a blockchain environment, more questions arise and become big questions. Let’s examine the hurdles UI/UX professionals encounter and have to address.
Blockchain is anything but simple. Yet, most users need help understanding crypto jargon, meaning words like gas fee, consensus mechanism, or swap. That’s why complicated terminology is one of the essential challenges in Web3 design.
From first sight, explaining these terms through Web3 design is a solution. But we risk overloading users with explicit information at some steps.
Therefore, it’s important to introduce explanations with precise copywriting for blockchain. The hotspots here are user-friendly pop-ups or warning messages, interactive glossaries linking to relevant technical definitions, infographics, and animations that reveal Web3 concepts.
On Web3, you can’t cancel the transaction or refer to customer support. Nobody will explain why you should make transfers only through the “right” networks and that your operations will not happen instantly. That’s how users realize that clicking the wrong button might cause a permanent loss of assets from their mistakes.
A thoughtful Web3 design can bring transparency to financial interactions. It can signal irreversible actions involving value or currency, show steps that may cause user identification, and support new contract generation.
Dealing with crypto wallets, gas fees, and smart contracts is one of the major design challenges in Web 3. Here are some of the questions that every blockchain newcomer encounters:
What are the right places to buy crypto?
What crypto to buy?
How does a new crypto wallet work?
Which crypto wallet is best?
What is a private key?
How to stick to a Know Your Customer (KYC) standard?
How do I pay taxes or calculate gas fees?
Why don’t transactions happen instantly?
A simplified and well-thought design is the way to support users in their endeavors.
Let’s examine UX challenges in a Web3 design from the point of view of investors and stakeholders.
Protocols are the heart of decentralized finance, defining how the blockchain will function. Examples of tokenized blockchain protocols involve Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana. Also, there are tokenized smart contract protocols (like Uniswap and Curve).
Core product decisions are made regarding the protocol level. UX design and human needs get a lower priority as a consequence. Naturally, it isn’t always good for the design, but inevitable for the fast-evolving industry.
Web3 project founders strive to keep investor agreements, thus racing to deliver new products before rivals. But the rush often brings short-term solutions, unreasonable planning, and burned-out teams. Is there a way to do something about it?
Web 3 project managers can rely on Design thinking principles and Agile methodology to cope with constantly changing tasks and unpredictable markets. Blockchain development is just another case of software development, but the management principles remain the same.
Unfamiliarity with decentralized finance systems is one of the main challenges in Web3 design. Late adopters who don’t spend nights and days on blockchain platforms feel overwhelmed with the terminology, new user flows, and the absence of technical support.
Creating educational materials might be costly, but these are reasonable expenditures. If newcomers feel your active guidance, they might become loyal customers.
Trust is one of the main principles of blockchain. But how do you trust something that is completely new and complicated? The problem deepens since Web 3 deals with the most sensitive information only banks accessed earlier. In the given circumstances, the Web3 design community should focus on reliability, trustworthiness, and stability at every step of the user journey.
There are several typical pain points to work on, such as feedback, transparency of transactions, clear navigation, and social proof. When you hesitate to add another data element, remember that it should be actionable, trust-building, or educational.
Most challenges of UX/UI design in blockchain stem from the lack of understanding of the technology among new users, designers, and industry leaders. Crypto jargon and complex concepts of the decentralized web make it difficult to grasp product value and master new ways to manage funds. Luckily, a highly comprehensive Web3 design will help to educate newcomers, deliver an effortless user experience, and build trust in the technology.
We at Arounda Agency feel thrilled to contribute to the design of the new web universe and see UI/UX challenges as great possibilities for professional growth. If you have a Web 3 product in mind and are looking for experienced designers with a passion for perfection, we are here for you!
If asked to choose one thing the Web3 design community needs to focus on, we would select building trust in blockchain technology. These activities imply clear communication at every step of the user journey, bringing value over time, and keeping promises.
The numerous design challenges in blockchain are connected with three pain points: the complexity of technology and terms, unknown user behavior patterns, and unfamiliar ways to manage assets.
In addition to the ten design principles for blockchain mentioned above, we’ll add active guidance, consistency, transparency, community values, feedback, and trust as crucial elements for building first-rate UI/UX.
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