Give Designers A Chance
This isn’t really about decentralization or blockchain but it’s important to give it a nod for the benefit of this short piece.
After all, we’re moving into a decentralized finance world whether we like it or not. DeFi will eventually measure calculable risks in economies. It’s just the way it is. According to Harvard Business Review, “Blockchain would do to banks, what the internet did to media”. On the flip side, according to just about every article in existence it’s still in its early days, and there are unsolved technical problems that affect the design of DeFi products.
Some examples of blockchain feedback from inside the beltway (as opposed to HBR):
“Entering the blockchain space is a challenge to say the least. It’s competitive, it’s technologically advanced and on top of that, nobody really knows for sure where it’s heading.” — uxsequence.io
‘The constant chatter of Blockchain and its relevant keywords is bound to make one feel intimidated and overwhelmed. The sense of not being a part of the know-how of it makes one feel distanced from the concept at hand and this intimidation leads to a reduced end-user acceptance and a very dissatisfied end user.” — uxplanet.org
“The thing about blockchains is that while your transactions might be hidden behind a crypto wallet address, they are also permanently stored on a public database.” — wired.com
This is why there is a sluggish move toward blockchain. Any new technology is based on user friendly experiences or user operability and trust.
Complex problems occur when accessibility, interoperability and a user friendly experience is put aside to make room exclusively for back-end engineers. For example, Google and Apple dominate markets today because their initial focus on providing a great user experience (UX) was the key component in rolling out the product in a mobile market. To this day, they dominate.
The biggest challenge is outdated modes of relatability to users:
“Siloed UX approaches based on traditional channel mentality are preventing organizations from delivering a seamless digital customer user experience to internal and external audiences.” — contentstack.com
This outmoded or outdated approach can lead to challenges, if not outright affronts to basic user experience. There is this idea that most users fall under the “Temporary” category in the middle:
However, the term “radical empathy” has been trending in design circles with an emphasis on accessibility to reach all users.
Kriti Krishan writes, “Accessibility is a measurement of a user’s ability to use products/services, the extent to and ease with which they can meet their goals. Designing with accessibility in mind enables people with a range of abilities and disabilities to perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the web.”
These contributions can only come from designers who live in that space of empathy as they master the scope of operability while often relegated to those siloed spaces, un-heard and under-appreciated. The challenges then come when a design concept must be bargained with in exchange for back-end networks that monopolize the product.
Stakeholders recognize the value of design. In an age where operability and accessibility go hand in hand, it’s up to the designers to make it happen. Designers see the artistry and intricacy behind the art itself. Systems thinkers and visionaries, designers are the very foundation of product design.
“Design is a discipline that thrives on constant synthesis and reflection. It’s the art of finding ways to make implicit knowledge become explicit.” — Tyler La
As we move into these new realms whether it’s Banking, DeFi, Security, Supply Chains or HealthCare, a system that stretches out to meet the complexities of needs and even whims of a more demanding user can only be created by a designer that lives in those artistic spaces propelled by synthesis, reflection and radical empathy.