Updated: May 8, 2022
The ethos behind the propagation of web 3 is control, security, trust, transparency and decentralisation. UX designers today are focused on getting a task done. E.g., the shopping process, displaying information or completing a transaction. If you look at the way in which controls and setting is managed its all very cryptic and confusing and hidden under layers of menus in some control panel. Just think about how hard it is to disable an account or to remove your credit card details. It’s a nightmare of a process finding the settings to manage your privacy and to switch of data sharing. UX folks do not care about these aspects today and that is deliberate because the business operators don’t want to make it easy for the users as it affects their monetization models and profitability.
With Web3 the interaction between the users and the application will need to consider how the user is going to proactively manage these parameters in an easy and intuitive way without having to go down a rabbit hole. I see these changes happening at multiple levels across the browser and the service / website. There is also room for hardware improvisations which will control the security aspects through a secure enclave on chip.
Web3 has interactions with dApps which are decentralized applications which are applications which are connected into blockchain networks like Ethereum and Solana which are specifically designed to manage certain events such as connecting to your wallet to pay for a transaction. If you try buying crypto currency you know very well how crappy that experience is. If you’re not paying attention, you can very easily lose your away around completing the transaction.
Financial transactions in web 3 do not have to be in whole numbers. You don’t have to buy 1 unit of ETH at $2,675.93 you can buy fractional amounts of ETH e.g., 0.00755261. The human brain struggles to process these decimal values and its another use case for UX exploration to create easy to understand interfaces.
The blockchain networks have their own complexity which gets surfaced up to the user to decipher what to do with the information. There are fees, utility tokens, governance tokens, coins, alt coins and the list goes on. There is a massive educational piece which UX designers themselves need to figure out how to translate into bite size information chunks without hiding this information to avoid misleading the user while still keeping them within the core journey so that it gets completed and doesn’t lead to any loss (especially if buying crypto).
The best way to solve a design problem is to understand the pain points first hand. I encourage UX designers and product managers to get their first-hand experience with transacting crypto and to face the challenges themselves. More than ever user experience will play a pivotal role in the success of Web 3 platforms.