Hey everyone, I’m Salil Naik, a frontend engineer and a UI/UX designer. I got into the blockchain space mainly to contribute towards solving the user experience issues in web 3.0.
When I started writing this blog, I wanted to focus on “Why UX is important in web 3.0”, but as I started to discuss this topic with my friends and at the meetups, no one really understood what I meant when I said the UX issues in Web 3.0 go beyond the design.
Even the developers and designers I interacted with could not understand how the frontend, backend and especially blockchain developers could solve the UX issues. And the reason many could not get their head around this was, they thought of UX as a design problem. We often associate UX with design, just like we associate NFTs with art.
You may have read this quote by Steve Jobs. “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”. The same goes for user experience too. User experience is not just about how the product looks, but also about how it works, how easy the onboarding is, how easy it is to use, how scalable the solution is, how practical the gas prices are, how fast the transactions are, etc. You see where I’m getting at.
How many of you have tried to add a network to your MetaMask wallet? Do you know the chain ID of different chains out there? Do you know what RPC is? If you are a developer or someone who has done all this before, it may seem easier to you. But the truth is, we have just accustomed ourselves to these bad user experiences.
Think about the users, the ones who aren’t geeks. Do you think MetaMask provides a good user experience to them? And this has absolutely nothing to do with its UI. MetaMask’s UI design is pretty good and yet the user experience is bad. And it’s not their fault either, it’s just how things in web3 work at the moment.
Let’s take another example. The throughput on the Ethereum chain is so low and the gas fees are so high that the mass adoption on Ethereum 1.0 is next to impossible. Paying thousands of rupees as gas fees while doing transactions is a bad user experience. If you see, just like our previous example, even this has absolutely nothing to do with the design.
This is what I mean when I say that UX issues in Web 3.0 go beyond design and designers alone cannot solve those issues.
On a side note, we often associate NFTs with art, but NFTs are not just mere pieces of art, but the underlying technology to program ownership and transfer rights.
To elaborate on my points, I thought of giving a brief on certain startups that are currently solving and have solved some major issues in Web 3.0.
I mentioned how high gas fees are a bad user experience for the users earlier. Polygon realized this very early and were the early movers in building the L2 scaling solutions for the Ethereum chain. Polygon has its sidechains and layer 2 solutions for Ethereum like Plasma Chain, PoS Chain, Zk Rollups, etc, and these chains have reduced the gas prices and increased the transaction speed by a very big margin.
This, not just improves the user experience, but also improves the adoption of Ethereum chain. As of October 2021, over 3000 dapps have been developed on Polygon and many big projects like OpenSea, Uniswap and Aave are now built on top of it. And this is where developers come into the picture. The polygon blockchain is built by the developers which solve the major pain point of the Ethereum chain and improve the user experience. Developers, just like designers, play a very important role to improve the overall user experience in web 3.0, don’t they?
How about different L1s altogether instead of L2 scaling solutions? Well, Solana and a few other chains are coming up as Ethereum alternatives, majorly solving the same issues that ethereum is facing, that is, slower transaction speed and higher gas fees. “Solana is a decentralized blockchain built to enable scalable, user-friendly apps for the world.”
2022, the year of L2s? With so many L2s out there, moving assets from one chain to another seems to be very inconvenient. The UX is totally messed up. I did not realize the importance of interoperability until I joined Movr.
With so many different bridges, swaps and chains, finding the best path becomes very difficult. The complexity of transferring tokens from one chain to another seems so unnecessary especially for the people who have had the privilege of transferring fiat money seamlessly with the help of UPI.
We at Movr are trying to solve this whole UX fiasco with our Fund Movr app. We aim to enable seamless cross-chain bridging. Just select the source chain, source token, destination chain and destination token. The app will show you all the available routes.
FundMovr doesn’t only show users the various paths available but also helps them to carry out all those steps without having to leave the dapp. Imagine the pain of carrying out all those steps separately.
Though we are solving a very big UX issue here, the users still have to perform several steps to transfer the assets, which in my opinion is again a turnoff.
Can we attain a user experience where tokens get transferred with just 1 click? Probably not right now, but that should be our, the web3 community’s ultimate goal.
Decentralization at the cost of user experience won’t do any good. If we want to see mass adoption of web3, we have to make the entire user and developer experience as seamless as in the web2. And hence many companies are focusing on improving the user experience. If not, I’m afraid we won’t see any growth in blockchain technology’s adoption.
So you see, solving UX issues in web3 is not just a designers job to do and it’s not even a design problem in most cases. Hence I say, UX issues in web3 go beyond design and designers alone cannot solve those issues.
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