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Why UX/UI design is the key to web3 mass adoption

Author: Jens Gantz

UX/UI design and Web3: It's complicated

As a piece of software, the origin and rise of the blockchain is based on a sub-culture of software developers, focused on the actual development and the simple straightforward technical functionality of the blockchain itself. The same spirit could be found in the first companies founded on the new technology. Things just had to work somehow. It's only logical that in the beginning UX/UI design was mainly ignored.

But since the latest bullrun in 2021 things have changed drastically.

Ignore the FUD: Mass adoption is on the horizon

With the rise of DeFi, NFTs and the metaverse in 2021, more and more big institutions invested in web3. With those big investors not only big money came into the blockchain space, but also business standards, like marketing strategies, branding and – finally – UX/UI design.

Now we see web3 slowly steping out of the shadow of its initial software developers sub-culture into the bright light of the public. Blockchain applications have to keep up with the standards of web2 and need to adapt to a new broader user base, which is not only software developers anymore. But that's only the beginning; there's a shift coming and it will be huge.

According to Gartner Inc., “enterprises gradually begin to realize business value. A tipping point in adoption will soon be reached, as risks are managed proactively.”¹ The graphic below shows the current stage of the hype cycle for blockchain and web3 in correlation to the technology adoption lifecycle. It’s pretty clear that Gartner Inc. is right, mass adoption is on the horizon, there's no doubt about it anymore. 

Hype cycle for Blockchain and Web3 (1) and technology adoption lifecycle according to Geoffrey Moore, "Crossing the Chasm", 1991 (2) for web3 plotted together

10 reasons why UX/UI design is key for mass adoption

Web3 mass adoption will only happen when people don’t even know they’re using web3. In the end people care about the results, not about the technology behind it – and that's where user experience and interface design comes into play.

Only good UX/UI design can transform functional, but still clunky and not really fun to use applications into an experience people truly enjoy. So that in the end the user doesn't even see any difference between a well known web2 application and a totally new and technically different web3 dapp. 

That’s not only the magic behind UX/UI design, it’s a necessity for every web3 business. People are used to digital products that are designed incredibly well, elegant and intuitive. The bar has been set extremely high in the last decade. If an application doesn’t match the standards, people get easily frustrated by complicated user flows, confusing navigations and long loading times. That’s why web3 products will have to focus more than ever before on creating very usable experiences. People’s mental models are formed by web2 and their expectations have reached all-time highs.

So here are 10 reasons why UX/UI design is crucial for mass adoption of web3.

1) It makes your product visually pleasing

The first impression in most cases is the most important one. If users are frustrated by clunky interfaces, confusing icons and an ugly color scheme, you will lose them. To avoid that right from the beginning you need to make sure the basic visuals work out; that's called user interface design aka UI design. But a visually pleasing UI is only one part …

2) It makes your product fun to use

..the other part is the user experience aka UX. Because a well looking interface is only worth much when your users also can properly navigate through the application, find what they're looking for and be pleased by the outcome. A well thought out UI design combined with properly done UX design makes an app actually fun to use - it not „only“ works somehow.

3) It helps you keep up with web2 standards (even let's you stand out on the market )

While there are a lot of web3 applications out there already, most of them do not keep up with the already established UX/UI standards customers are used to from web2. If a web3 application has the look and feel of a web2 app, you can stand out on the market and have the best conditions for further improvements. It’s a competitive differentiator. Most customers expect a fantastic user experience from brands, anyways. And if they find a slow-loading app or one that’s difficult to navigate, they’ll just check out a competitor's app.

4) It helps you develop mobile first

As of August 2022, 62% of all website traffic comes from people using mobile devices and more than 92% of internet users access the internet using a mobile phone.² Those are remarkable numbers, which make a desktop first development process utterly absurd in 2022. The world is mobile - and so should you with your application. To create an app with mobile first approach you have to follow certain rules, clearly defined by UX/UI design standards.

5) It helps you communicate and satisfy with your customers

UX/UI design helps you in the on-boarding process and to properly analyze and process user feedback so you can provide your customers the best product possible - especially those who are not tech-savvy. Because those are the customers of the future: Mass adoption means that everyone wants to use your product and everybody should understand it, not only blockchain devs and software experts.

6) It exhilarates the keystones of web3 by building consistence

Having a consistent design concept throughout the whole application will help you build trust and credibility and will establish you as an expert and authority in your field.

7) It improves customer retention

Well thought out UX/UI design will help you build a loyal customer base because it’s not only visually pleasing and improves usability, it also communicates your brand values, your purpose as a company and your greater goals. Based on that, customers will build a tribe around your brand and your product, and they won’t choose competitors even if they offer a similar product to them.

8) It maximizes your ROI

By not only having a functional product from a development perspective, but also having great UX/UI design in place, you'll maximize your ROI (Return of Investment) by getting the most out of your product and provide value to your customers in many different aspects.

9) It makes the development much easier

It helps a lot to think about the look and feel, the navigation structure, the different screens and features and more, before starting with the actual development. The process of design thinking and basic UX design processes have proven themselves to be effective, save time and money, and in the end make the development of an app much easier. It's not different with web3 applications, so you should never skip this part in your development process.

10) It's all about your customers needs

Without UX/UI design there's no user-centered design. By attending to the needs of consumers, you’ll be attracting more prospects who’ll want to convert. With outstanding UX/UI design, the right approach will pique customer interest. It all comes down to your user's needs, especially when you want to convince your customer to use a new technology with unknown branding.

UX/UI design at Ispolink: We're getting ready for mass adoption

Here at Ispolink, we deeply care about all the topics listed above and more. We're continually going through iterating processes to fix, adjust and optimize the UX/UI design of our platform. By listening to you, our customers, collecting data and analyzing feedback we're implementing UX/UI improvements into the existing platform and building it according to your needs.

As the Lead Designer at Ispolink I'm carefully watching over the whole implementation process of those UX/UI design improvements. Everything is developed according to our very own and ever evolving Ispolink UX/UI Guidelines, which guarantee us a consistent and well structured design through every screen of the Ispolink platform.

In the coming weeks we will release a couple of updates about upcoming UX/UI improvements on the Ispolink platform and bring you some examples of what we're currently working on. We want to keep you updated about what we do and what you can expect in the coming months.

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