Why design is vital for the adoption of cryptocurrency

portrait of Vince

Vince Schwidder

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  • Design

The impact of design on new technology

By now everybody’s aware of the success of Apple and the role that design (and design leadership) has had on its achievements. Apple understands that technology is a means to end, and technology should not be the sole focus if you want mass market adoption. Focussing on technology can drive innovation, but the end product should be human-centered. The computer already existed for a long time, Apple combined innovative technology with good design, and people adopted its tech.

Another prime example is Tesla, who has spent millions on the user experience of driving an electric car. People already accept that driving electric is a step forward, but they don’t want to any new hassles that a gasoline car doesn’t have. From the looks of the chassis and the software UI in the car to its free Supercharger Stations; Tesla designs the experiences that a user has with its brand in such a way that’s its enjoyable, desirable and worth paying for. Cars have been around for a long time, but Tesla combined new technology with good design, and people adopted its tech.

Ok, my last example. Chatting over the internet was around for quite some time with solutions like IRC, Skype or even ICQ. It was Slack however who revolutionized the work-related chatting industry by offering a tool that works so well they now have over 6 million daily users. 6 million users, can you believe that? I strongly consider design played a huge role in the adoption of Slack.

Generally speaking people love new and innovative ideas, but only really adopt it if its tailored to them and how they want use the technology.

Like a well-built home, great software focuses on giving its users hundreds of small, satisfying interactions

— Andrew Wilkinson

Two sides of the crypto coin we need to Design

So, let’s turn back to the topic at hand; crypto currency. There are two sides to this crypto coin that we need to address; exchanges and applications.

Popular exchanges like Kraken, Bittrex, Bitfinex or Bitstamp scare away the masses with confusing numbers and the feeling of having to invest a lot of time into understanding this new technology. Have you seen some of these very-trustworthy-looking Lamborghini-infused landing pages these website have?

And then there is Coinbase, who simplified the whole process by focusing on the bare minimum to start trading. They acknowledge the impact of minimal design by offering an experience that is easy and without hurdles. Its a proven formula as they’ve made more than $1 billion in revenue last yet.

he other side of the coin is applications. Actually using a crypto coin and enjoying its advantages over traditional currency is where the real future of cryptocurrency lies. Thus, designing a great experience of using the coins is as important as the exchanges. People don’t think about how the US Dollar or Euro works, they just look at their bank account and use a card to pay for things. Or fill in their credentials to pay for their new shoes online. That super-easy User Experience is what should revolutionize the technology built around cryptocurrency. Using crypto coins to pay for something should not deviate from the current process with traditional currency; if anything it should help the user to optimally use this new tech.

5 principles we apply when designing for crypto

At Yummygum in the past 2 years I have been able to design for multiple applications that use the blockchain. We applied human centered design principles to our applications to ensure a higher rate of adoption.

Principe #1: Human-centered Design

Whenever we design a crypto-related product, it’s imperative to us to keep the end-user in mind. Making it as seamless as possible to use the product will increase the probability to a product success. Happy users = happy company.

Principe #2: Apply Conventions

Although the tech behind crypto is relatively new, we try to use as many conventions as possible. This is especially noticeable when working on a design for a checkout flow. We draw a huge inspiration from current solutions like your local banks or services like Stripe. Using conventions helps to get that seamless experience. In the end, great design is often invisible.

Principe #3: Keep it simple, stupid

Minimal design is somewhat of our pet peeve if you’re familiair with the products that we build. Apply the Keep It Simple, Stupid motto really helps by removing the unnecessary. We think about what the goal is of the screen you’re viewing, and what is really relevant at that time for the user. Keeping it simple makes for a smoother user flow.

Principe #4: Future proof Systems

With new tech comes great responsibility. As the crypto industry is still evolving it’s relevant that we keep a future in mind when designing. We introduce this in our workflow by working on flexible design systems that can be used in the future to quickly mockup, or build new features.

Principe #5: Aesthetically pleasing

It might sound as an obvious principle, but at times you can get lost in making a product solve a problem as best as possible, and forget that creative visuals can work on the emotion of your users in a very positive way too. Don’t be afraid to do something different.

We’re Excited

The world of crypto currency is evolving around us and I can’t wait to see what kind of problems it’ll solve or make fintech more efficient. We’re ready to help design a better future. Will you join us?

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