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10 things I’ve learned designing for decentralised finance (DeFi)

10 things I’ve learned designing for decentralised finance (DeFi)

uxdesign.cc

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1. Progress is non-linear and non-uniform

To an outsider, “crypto” is a single monolithic entity. The word suggests an alternative digital currency. Which, to be fair, is true. But it’s so much more . NFTs are digital deeds of ownership. Decentralised Finance (DeFi) is transforming money. DAOs are changing governance. On...

Often referred to as Amara’s law , this refers to our trouble conceptualizing exponential growth. Connected to the point above, crypto progresses in spurts. Usually there are lots of little steps where not much seems to happen, then giant leap...

What’s interesting to me, is that this is now happening across all seniority levels . I can easily see why smart young renegades might graduate from college, look at Google or F̶a̶c̶e̶b̶o̶o̶k (so...

Being completely decentralised means you also get out of your American/European bubble. My own team comprises members in Africa, Europe, Latin America and Russia. It is common for people to use pseudonyms. A few individuals I work with never turn their camera on.

Identity is obfuscated fro...

5. Complex systems tend to be fractal

At this point, I’ve decided to embrace it. Nothing will ever be finished . Instead, DeFi is an asymptote, whereby further progress will get us closer and closer to the line, without ever reaching it.

A fractal pattern is one that contains similar patterns at any level of m...

Some blockchains are EVM-compatible (Ethereum Virtual Machine), making it very easy for them to spin up a version of existing dApps. Examples include Fantom, Binance Smart Chain, and Avalanche.

I have worked on dApps for Ethereum, L2s, Solana, Polkadot, Kusama and Cosmos.

I don’t th...

7. The average DeFi app has a UX maturity level somewhere between “user hostile” and “developer centred”, but certainly nowhere near “user-centred” or “user-driven”

Jakob Nielsen — the OG of User Experience Design — says it can take 20 years for a company to reach the final stages of maturity.

I’d say specific parts of the crypto industry are actually doing quite well. Some companies are at least halfway up the steps, but DeFi specifically? Yeah, not ...

When everyone playing the game is a pro, why even bother with instructions? Who needs intro text when they’re just looking for the next kick? Why make it easy, when the whole point is that it’s hard?

If it wasn’t exciting, nobody would do it. I think this kind of degen madness pro...

9. Insanely complicated degen strategies are not very newbie friendly

This is the flipside. I think it’s ok to have degens rushing in, throwing bombs, and clearing the space, but the eventual goal has to be an open, decentralised, financial system, available to everyone.

The next growth spurt we see in DeFi is going to be greatly improved UX for liquidity mi...

Open-source is sacrosanct, which means that everybody copies everybody and expects to be copied. See something you like? Fork it, make a few tweaks, launch it. Later on, another team will like your tweaks and copy those. We all progress as an industry and the UX gradually improves.

There i...

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