UI and Web3 - Challenges with UI/UX in Blockchain

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Web3 is growing fast, and many fintech startups are keen to join in. But it's not all easy—there are big challenges, especially for UX/UI designers. This guide will look at the four biggest challenges in Web3 design for fintech startups.

Blockchain technology is making a big change in how the internet, or Web3, works. As more people use decentralized technology, it brings lots of new chances for fintech platforms and digital products.

At the heart of Web3 is a decentralized economy. The user experience might look similar to what we see in regular fintech products, but designing for UX in Web3 and blockchain is a lot more complex. This is because of the special features of the technology and the complicated terms used.

So, it's really important for business owners and product designers to understand the challenges of UX/UI design in Web3. This guide will help you get to grips with these challenges, helping you stay ahead in the fast-moving world of Web3.

A short brief into Web3 - Why Web3 is the new internet

Web3 is a big deal in the internet world. It's different from blockchain, though people often mix them up. Created by a co-founder of Ethereum in 2014, Web3 is all about apps that work on a system where everyone shares resources directly with each other.

The full picture of Web3 is still a bit unclear. The technology is growing, but it's not fully there yet.

One big thing about Web3 is that it's always built on a public blockchain. This means it supports a system where everyone shares and trades directly, without needing a middleman. This is especially interesting for fintech, where it can change how we handle money, taking out the need for traditional banks or other middlemen.

For example, DeFi (decentralized finance) platforms like Compound, DEX (decentralized crypto exchange) like Pancake Swap, and even CEX (centralized crypto exchanges) like Kraken, are all part of this new Web3 fintech world.

But there's more to it.

Blockchain is the key part of Web3. Think of it as a way for people who make stuff and use stuff to have more control over their things. Unlike Web 2 (the internet we use now), where big companies own your data, Web3 aims to change that. It wants to make apps (dapps) that are decentralized and follow some important rules:

  • Trustless: You can use and help run dApps without having to trust a big company. This is a big change from Web 2, where a few big companies control everything.

  • Permissionless: Anyone can join and use the network. All you need is something like MetaMask, a crypto wallet, to start using Web3 dApps without asking for permission.

  • Decentralized: There's no big tech company in charge. Instead, users act like parts of the network, keeping it running and making decisions together.

  • Open-source: The code for dApps should be open for everyone to see, like how public ledgers work. Also, people should be able to pay each other directly, without a payment service in the middle.

These principles are key for Web3 apps to work. But they also make it hard for someone who's not tech-savvy to understand.

First challenge — Explaining the obvious in Web3 design

Web3 is new and exciting, but it can be scary for regular users to use dApps. Even though Web3 has great ideas, making it simple and clear for users is a big task.

Many people get lost in blockchain words like 'swap', 'gas', and 'private key'. For us, as product designers, these might be easy, but for others, they're hard. This is one of the big challenges in Web3 design. Unlike regular fintech, where users know the basics, like how to make a deposit, Web3 is different.

Take DeFi products, for instance. Designers need to guide users clearly, like how to make a deposit. Trading on DEX or DeFi, gas fees (the cost for each transaction) can change all the time. So, telling users about these changes is important.

The goal is to make designs that give lots of info but don't overwhelm new users.

Creating user-friendly and powerful DeFi fintech products that are easy for everyone is tough. Sometimes, offering a simpler version of the product is better for new users.

Not only intuitive UX design but also a highly comprehensive one

Web3 design should make things easy, especially for beginners. It's important to make the complex Web3 terms simple for everyday things like swapping tokens or transferring assets. Clear messages are key, especially when there's a risk of losing money.

For example, explaining why it's important to use the right network, like Ethereum, for transferring ETH to avoid losing it. One way to help is by using clear pop-ups or warnings on the screen.

Also, making user-friendly guides and documentation is important. These should be easy to understand, with summaries and links to more technical details. Adding an interactive glossary for Web3 terms can help. Designers can also use infographics and animations to make Web3 ideas clearer.

heartbeat's team of designers understands the importance of clear communication in Web3 design, as seen in their work on various projects. Their process is centred around making complex concepts accessible and user-friendly. If you're looking to discuss your project, Heartbeat's "Let's talk" page is a great starting point. Additionally, their extensive work portfolio demonstrates their expertise in Web3 and UI/UX design. For deeper insights into Web3 design challenges and solutions, Heartbeat's blog offers a wealth of information, including posts on UI vs. UX, the importance of branding, and the best Web3 design practices.

How to show the immutability of a blockchain in UX design

Transparency is key in building trust in Web3 products. Showing how blockchain immutability works is vital. This means giving clear security warnings, even for simple UX elements.

In Web3 apps, many user actions, not just financial ones, are based on transactions that can't be reversed. It's crucial to guide users through what immutability means in blockchain, helping them understand and use the product without friction.

This could involve using tactile features on mobile devices or clear, urgent security warnings on desktops that need user confirmation.

Third challenge — Impress with creativity, but don’t distract from features

Web3 products often try to impress with creative designs, cool animations, or unique website flows. The decentralized nature of the industry allows for this creative freedom, like building a brand identity around something as simple as a sushi emoji.

It's important for Web3 products to stand out and be memorable, making strong connections with their crypto audience. But, there's a risk. With so many Web3 products trying to be unique, they might lose focus on their target audience and the connection they need to build.

The importance of profound UX/UI research in Web3 design

Avoiding design missteps means investing more in building a solid brand identity. Deep UX/UI research might take time, but it's crucial for creating loyalty and connection with customers, especially for Web3 fintech products.

Fourth challenge — Hardly accessible blockchain explorers for users

The final challenge in Web3 design involves blockchain explorers, which significantly impact user experience during transactions.

What does a blockchain explorer mean for Web3 design?

Blockchain explorers are essential for every decentralized network. They provide all the details about on-chain transactions. These tools allow users to access public data about transactions, wallet addresses, blocks, gas fees, and more in real-time.

Since blockchains are public ledgers, anyone can use blockchain explorers to get this information. Each blockchain has its own explorer.

For Web3 design, understanding and integrating these explorers into the user experience is key. Making them accessible and user-friendly can significantly enhance user trust and engagement.

For more insights into tackling these challenges in Web3 design, visit heartbeat's blog, which features detailed articles and guides on various aspects of UI/UX design and Web3. For instance, their post on "What is a web3 design studio" delves into the intricacies of designing for decentralized applications, offering valuable perspectives for designers and product owners alike. Additionally, exploring heartbeat's process can provide a deeper understanding of how they approach these unique design challenges​

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