In November 2021, the total number of Blockchain wallet users worldwide reached 80 million. The market is flooded with offerings, yet the customer experience from using crypto wallets, NFT marketplaces, and other blockchain products aren’t keeping up with the expectations of end-users. Most platforms are complicated, frustrating, and often borderline unusable. Having designed experiences for over 30 successful projects in the blockchain/crypto/NFT industry, here we are sharing our take on:
1. What UX problems most blockchain products have in common;
2. How this affects blockchain businesses;
3. How to fix/avoid these problems in your product.
What is wrong with blockchain UX/UI, and Why
There are currently around 5,200 blockchain startups registered on AngelList, making the blockchain/cryptocurrency industry very desirable for US applicants.
As a result of this boom, the industry has become flooded with medium-to-low-quality offerings. Everyone wants a piece of this pie, but most players have not taken into account the new demands for a quality user experience.
In the meantime, to reach profitability and take a fair share of the growing blockchain market in 2022, startups and businesses must understand and address the roadblocks their new audience faces. One unaddressed roadblock is the complexity of blockchain for an average person with no technical background.
You don’t need to go far to see the trend. Opening an App Store or Play Market and going through reviews for the first 10-15 crypto wallets will paint a clear picture. While some problems have nothing to do with UX, a great portion of them do, and they could have been prevented with a better design.
Here is an example of a problem review: “We received a Bitcoin Cash transaction into this wallet 2 days ago, and the official blockchain shows that this transaction has received 76 confirmations. However, this app refuses to show the transaction as confirmed. It shows the transaction as pending with zero confirmations. But it is still pending showing no confirmation, and I am not able to transfer my ether to anybody; these people have totally hijacked my wallet, and I am at their mercy now.” (Source)
The person is convinced that something malicious has happened, while in reality, there are many harmless reasons for pending transactions. Had this been better communicated through the UX design, there would be no poor experience, no negative review, and, potentially, no app abandonment.
With NFT products as an exception that don’t have much data to rely on yet, the situation with UX in other blockchain-related products is the same.
Common UX/UI challenges in blockchain services
The following UX/UI problems are commonly seen in all kinds of blockchain services:
In the blockchain, onboarding is almost always long and often frustrating, and rarely educational. Due to the abundance of regulations and identity verification procedures, users sometimes need to download another app to onboard. This leads to dropouts during onboarding, which we covered in this article about onboarding.
The apps mostly target advanced audiences, forgetting that their app/platform will be the first introduction to blockchain for many people. These apps don’t explain or warn, leaving some users confused by the complex technology.
One of the examples of this onboarding problem is Lumi wallet:
Unclear financial statements and fees information
You rarely see a description of important cryptocurrency distinctions (token, a medium of exchange, or the store of value). Prices differ from platform to platform; the exchange rate and transaction fees aren’t always clear, posing a risk of overspending.
Again, for a new and uninformed user, it’s unclear how fees operate in the blockchain. When they see a fee without any context about where it comes from, it becomes a source of stress.
Here is the example from BRD wallet:
It’s helpful to include a basic tutorial for using a wallet, and specifications on using private and public keys. A newbie needs to understand that not all crypto can be purchased with fiat (regular USD or EUR) and that many transactions require ETH (Ether) to be in the wallet to pay transaction fees, etc.
The solution is to explain such details as Coinbase did in the next screenshot:
Security and privacy
Blockchain apps invite mass adoption but fail to inform users about the fundamental safety rules. For instance, most newcomers don’t know that it is more secure to keep cryptocurrencies in offline wallets. And some exchanges don’t provide the functionality to transfer crypto to offline wallets, allowing custodial storage only. This is a serious UX issue, considering that the platforms don’t inform their users about the potential risks of this option.
Too many industry-specific words and instructions can frustrate users and push them away from the product. It is important to simplify the language, add more informative cues, and help users proceed to their goal. For example, if you are speaking about payments and tokens, it is important to let a user know that fiat is regular currency, and a utility ERC20 reward token is just a reward for making more purchases and being active, etc.
The importance and effects of UX/UI on blockchain businesses
According to Finder, more than half of financial experts foresee that by 2050 bitcoin will overtake fiat currencies. That means building blockchain products simply for advanced users won’t be a sustainable business model anymore.
In the past, blockchain companies could afford to skip user research and UX/UI design steps, focusing on other competitive edges: low fees, better offerings, unique service, etc. But when crypto usage begins to replace fiat currencies, the user experience will become the main distinguishing factor.
Blockchain products now have to deliver three things:
1. Educate an average user on the complexities of crypto;
2. Make the product easy to navigate;
3. Entertain and delight a user with functionality and design.
Without even one element, “the new user” arrives unprepared, hoping to be guided and helped while also expecting a frictionless and delightful experience they’ve expected from other services. It is only a matter of time when this “new user” becomes an “average” user who abandons the service the second they don’t receive the frictionless experience and guidance they expect to receive.
To win customers’ trust and loyalty, blockchain services need to focus as much innovation on their customers’ experience as they focus on the backend development.
How to prevent or fix UX/UI problems and optimize your blockchain product
Unless you have an internal design team, the only to create a product that is free of the common UX problems, that is able to deliver great experiences, and that will stand out in the intense market is to involve an outsource team of UX design professionals. Otherwise, all the vital decisions about the product will be coming only from the inside of your company without fully considering user pain points and problems.
Here are the steps we followed in Artkai that allowed us to create first-class experiences for 30+ NFT, blockchain, and crypto products.
For blockchain startups:
Conduct a full cycle of research
The only way to build a blockchain product that will succeed among users is to understand the potential customer, their pain points, and goals your product should address. We do this by conducting discovery user research. Then, we learn the competitor landscape and how they address them by conducting a business & competitive analysis. As a result of this research, you get validated product ideas and concepts that are ready to be tested by real users.
As a result of this stage, you get:
Customer profile and user roles
User needs and pain points
Lean business model canvas
Competitor analysis worksheet
Business processes analysis
Customer journey maps
Create an MVP, PoC, or Prototype
The main benefit of a prototype and MVP is a preview of your product used to get real user feedback by launching pilot versions. We use this information to further improve the product, and increase the chances of success. Another major benefit is the ability to demonstrate value to your target audience and prepare them for the launch.
To determine if your startup needs a POC, Prototype, or MVP, check out our comparison article.
Implement and iterate
During the implementation stage, all the design concepts get implemented until the desired result is reached.
For businesses with existing products in the blockchain:
Conduct UX/UI audit
UX/UI audit of your product is necessary to:
1. Find out why your product isn’t performing as expected, and uncover ways to fix this. Frequently, problems like low activity or poor conversion rates can be fixed with UX design, sometimes with only a few minor retouches;
2. Find out how well your competitors are performing and why, and how you can beat them;
3. Boost customer experience and satisfaction by finding and eliminating pain points, understanding user needs, and mapping product features to them.
4. Get a detailed review and a fresh perspective from a team that has created multiple superb experiences on the blockchain. We have clients among 54 Blockchain companies invested in by Top 20 VCs.
Address the found issues
The duration, complexity, and amount of resources needed for this stage will depend on the issues detected during the UX/UI audit of your product. Learn more about the processes on this page.
UX design in crypto projects: Case studies
Having over 30 blockchain-related projects under our belt, Artkai wants to share our experience to help crypto startups establish their brands through the design and redesign of UX for their platforms.
Here are three examples of UX/UI for blockchain projects.
Artemis - NFT marketplace and auction platform
The mission of Artemis is to become a decentralized Christie’s or Sotheby’s in the NFT ecosystem. Artemis helps people enjoy digital art, involving both artists and buyers through a marketplace and auction platform.
The product had to cover a number of market niches with varied target groups of players, a proposal of affluent listings with multiple options, and unique pieces of digital art. Artemis required a unique, elegant storefront UX/UI design to dominate the NFT market as quickly as possible.
Coinhaven - an all-in-one platform for OTC, crypto trading, and exchange
The goal of the Coinhaven platform is to deliver legally compliant and bank-approved OTC services to African countries. A unique requirement was to enable the platform to accept five major African fiat currencies.
Artkai’s responsibility was to create the UX/UI design concept and connect it with a white label crypto trading platform & exchange. Also, we had to manage the work of three independent service providers.
Huobi - a top-5 trading platform in Asia
Huobi is an established Asian crypto trading platform aiming to enter the European market. Our main task was to uncover the pain points and needs of European users and address them in the customer-centric UX/UI design.
To help us gather data, we engaged a design research agency. Then, we conducted face-to-face interviews with traders and uncovered key details about the decision-making behaviors of the European audience.
By analyzing the collected data, our team synthesized a list of insights and priorities for the platform design. This analysis helped our client enter the European market with tailored customer-centric UX design.
Artkai will be happy to assist you with UX/UI design, branding, or development for your crypto, blockchain, or NTF project. Get a quote or free consultation from our team!
To succeed in the fierce blockchain market, your products must address the user need to be educated and guided while simplifying a challenging user experience with design. You can easily avoid common UX/UI problems and become one of a few market leaders if you:
Understand and address the needs of both inexperienced new adopters who have no background in blockchain technology and adepts of the industry;
Make customer experiences helpful, easy, and exciting by leveraging the latest UX design trends.
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