Role of UX in Emerging Decentralized Applications on Blockchain

Nikhil Desai
5 min readJan 7, 2018


The usual morning commute to Wall Street, NYC in the Subway Train is riddled with the constant chatter of CryptoCurrency and the emerging Blockchain Technology these days. Why not, everyone does want a piece of cake, especially when it’s served fresh out of the oven. Blockchain and it’s relevant discussions are everywhere and there is no way, one can escape being a part of it.

Emerging Blockchain Industry & It’s evergrowing need for UX

The emerging startups are eager to lap up the opportunities to build their disruptive solutions on Blockchain and UX does play a vital role in the solution building activity. With the emergence of importance of UX, UX is being hailed as a Must-Have Item in the Technical Solution Process. The ever growing importance of UX can also be felt in the stages, when new applications are being designed and developed on Blockchain.

Before we jump ahead into the intrinsic details of what it takes to incorporate design thinking and the larger debate of the role of UX in the Blockchain application development, one needs to understand the basics of Blockchain and what it takes to build an application for it.

What is Blockchain?

The Blockchain is a public ledger where transactions are recorded and confirmed anonymously. It’s a record of events that is shared between many parties. More importantly, once information is entered, it cannot be altered.

Quote: Blockchain for Beginners

source: CoinDesk

Why does the Design Thinking Process differ for Blockchain UX?

The design thinking process does not differ, when one designs for disruptive applications built on Blockchain, however, there are a good number of aspects that needs to be taken care of with utmost importance to ensure the end user is not intimidated by what’s being performed behind the scenes, whereas is more comfortable knowing and using what is presented on the screen.

The constant chatter of Blockchain and it’s relevant keywords is bound to make one feel intimidated and overwhelmed. The sense of not being a part of the know-how’s of it makes one feel distanced from the concept at hand and this intimidation leads to a reduced end user acceptance and dissatisfied end user. How do we avoid this?

Let Trust Triumph: As is always with the new advancements, the end user needs to understand and trust the process being executed at the given moment of time. A sense of security and protection needs to prevail around the end user to make the user comfortable and at ease at executing the process at hand. The adaptability of the end user predominantly depends on the level and nature of trust the end user has on the product. As with the ethos of Blockchain, that predominantly speaks about being a trustless system, the more the need to develop a sense of security and trust with the end user. The Trust Score can be built up and maintained by the consistent feedback, support and guidance throughout. Giving the end user the sense of ownership while ensuring the end user is also assured about the security of the information is crucial aspect, that cannot be overseen, while designing for Blockchain.

Design the Baby Steps: Help the user understand what’s happening around rather than pounding the end user with endless barrage of pseudo-technical stuff, they seldom care about. Help them get on boarded on the new journey with lot of hand holding and baby steps. Create an experience, that helps a novice to be on boarded with ease and helps him understand what’s happening and what will happen going ahead in the flow. Guide the end user through the steps with constant cues using clear well defined steps by simplifying the process.

Simplified Thoughts Matter: Reduce the technical clutter and jargon's associated with it. The Information Architecture should be simplified to ensure the end user is not overwhelmed by the constant usage of technical lingo, which does not make sense to an end user. Replace the technical jargon's with the human terminology, that make more sense to the end user. As most of the concepts and terminology of Blockchain might not be comprehensible to the end user, hence, it does call for a much more simplification of the terminology into natural communication tone.

Consistent Global Language: The only language everyone across the globe seems to understand is the Visual Language and this plays a vital role in the UX design of a product for Blockchain, that is expected to be global and not localized to a particular region/location. Usage of color schema, typography, iconography and information hierarchy does ensure the product makes a consistent appeal to varied audience across the globe.

Keep Me Informed: An elaborate feedback mechanism helps the user be aware of the process being performed and the actions associated with it. Providing constant feedback and guided tour do ensure the end user is well aware of the environment around. All the data and it’s associated process should be available for the end user and displayed as and when needed based on the projected intent of the end user. The informed decisions of the end user play a vital role across all domains and are even more crucial in Blockchain due to the non-irreversible nature of the process executed. Increased error handling and error control does avoid mistakes before they occur.

Point of No Return: All the transactions on Blockhain are irreversible in nature and cannot be rolled back once they are processed and validated on the network. Creation of various visual cues before triggering an action plays a vital role in ensuring the user does not hit upon a major blocker and ends into the point of no return, where the intended action is not performed.

Conclusion: Any technology in the nascent stages needs higher level of acceptance and adaptability to flourish and make a difference. The promising technology of Blockchain is here to stay and is bound to redefine the way, we interact with transactions here on. As the technology matures and gets integrated into the main stream process, we would see an exponential need for design solutions for the challenges associated with it. Design for Blockchain is here to stay and would play a vital role in the days to come.

Read on: What is Blockchain Technology — Wikipedia, the case study?

Would love to hear your comments/thoughts about this article and how it has helped you in understanding the impact of ever changing technology on UX. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn or Medium. I speak my heart out and straight to the point. What do I do for living: UX Architect for Pega BPM Solutions at Virtusa.



Nikhil Desai

What do I do for living: Senior Architect - User Experience, DPA Solutions at Virtusa