From Assumptions to Solutions in One Week: a Zapper Design Sprint Case Study

Take a look at the process for designing successful features

Published in
6 min readMar 22, 2021

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One month ago we’ve had a conversation with the team at Zapper. Our initial conversation was not related to working together, but just brief discussion of the past work we’ve done for Union and InstaDapp and getting familiar with each other. Moments later we were discussing ways we could be collaborating together.

Sebastien Audet and the team didn’t have a defined feature they wanted to design, but rather they were looking to explore ways they can increase the user engagement for the Pool and Farm sections of the platform. I proposed we start with a Design Sprint where we would focus on researching the problem and identifying solutions.

Total Sprint time: 1 week
Original Scope: Identify reasons on why users were not interacting with the Pool and Farm sections of the product and design potential solutions that could later be tested out.
Interesting info: The entire Sprint was run remotely, because Sebastien Audet and his team is based in Canada, and Ultim Studio are over in Barcelona.

The Process — Ultim DeFi Design Sprint

Before we dived deep into the Sprint, we took some time and prepared the tasks we would need to accomplish for the week.

Our weekly Sprint plan looked something like this.

Our one week Sprint Plan

Before you start the Sprint it’s always good to have a list of tasks you’re going to tackle each day. Why? Because you are making sure that each day is spent on specific tasks that are contributing to the final goal of your Sprint.

Understanding the Problem

Before we jumped into design we wanted to make sure we got all the assumptions ready so that we can later validate them in the user research phase of the Sprint.

We organised a meeting with the team at Zapper to understand what were their assumptions about the user and the product.

First call with the Zapper Team

Before you go in a meeting like this make sure you have a list of questions ready. All the questions should revolve around uncovering the assumptions the team has about the user and the product.

In was interesting to see that there were different assumptions among the members of the team. This really helped us understand what would be the questions we would need to later ask the users.

The assumption list and the questions we were going to ask the users

User Research

We usually recruit users from Twitter and we were happy to see there were a lot of users eager to jump on a call with us.

One particularly interesting research session was with Luther, a nurse from New York City.

Photo of me interviewing Luther

Luther was happy to share his experience with Zapper and mentioned he uses it every day. After a deep dive into the questions it was clear to me he wasn’t an experienced DeFi user, however he was eager to learn and understand how DeFi works.

He mentioned he wanted to participate in the Pool but it wasn’t easy for him to understand how it works because the UX of Zapper wasn’t focused on educating new users about what an LP token was. He solved this by going to the native protocol and performing the transaction there, he then understood what participating in a pool means.

Findings

We’ve interviewed 3 users and at the end of the calls it was time to summarise our findings. We’ve made a list of all the needs that users seemed to have, and next to each one of those we’ve added a potential solution that could solve that need.

The output of the user research sessions, needs and potential solutions

Our next step from here was to understand which of these potential solutions would have a bigger impact if we were to implement them into the product. For this we had to prioritise and wireframe the potential solutions in order to test them out with users before we implement them.

Solutions

We’ve seen that most of the needs could be solved by using data that we already had, so the implementation process would not be that difficult.

Most of the solutions were around providing context for inexperienced users and leveraging the value of investing using Zapper versus other platforms. Below we showcase a few of the needs that came out as patterns throughout the user research.

Need. Before the sprint there wasn’t a very clear value proposition of what to expect from performing a Zap, and Afola, an inexperienced user from Africa, wasn’t even aware that he can actually invest, he was just checking Zapper to see his portfolio.

Solution. In order to make it more clear for users that there are different opportunities on Zapper, we decided to design a “Suggested Investments” component on the Dashboard, which would showcase the highest return Zaps the user can perform. By doing this we draw the new users attention to the different opportunities Zapper has and at the same time we showcase the value proposition of these opportunities.

Suggested Investments components design on the right

Need. By visiting the Pool or Farm tab, inexperienced users were confused over what they should be looking for when investing, as there was no clear indication of that, just a list that showed the different Pools.

Solution. To solve this we’ve decided to design 3 components that would sit on top of each investment tab. These would focus on showcasing the “Newly Added”, “Highest Volume” and “Most visited (24h)” giving users more ease and clarity on what they should be looking for when investing but also highlighting new opportunities for more experienced users.

Discover components

Need. Lastly new users felt there wasn’t a clear indicator of what they should be expecting as a return of investment as well as more context of what each column represented.

Solution. Showing the ROI instead of the fees generated was a good indicator for users on what they can expect by participating in the pools. We’ve also added tooltips on each column, educating the new users through the experience while not creating cognitive load for more experienced users.

Return on Investment in the Pool tab

Our Sprint was completed and the solutions were now ready to be tested again with users before sending them out for development.

What we’ve learned

  1. You never know who your users are unless you reach out to them. You think that by designing your product for experienced DeFi users is the the way to go, but in the end you might be surprised to find out that onboarding new users plays a very important role in this as well.
  2. It’s interesting to see how users like Luther, a nurse from New York City, are getting into DeFi and looking for ways they can learn more about how to use these tools. I think it’s a very good sign but also an immense opportunity for the community to lay out the path for new users. I think that the best way to learn is by doing and right now when gas prices are so high, it’s great to see how platforms such as InstaDapp are pushing out features for simulating environments, giving new users a playground to explore.
  3. There is no wrong answer. Whenever you are in a call with your team make sure you take the opportunity to ask them for every assumption that comes to your mind and transform it into a question for the user. There is no wrong assumption just not enough questions.

If you’d like to try out Zapper, head over to https://zapper.fi/ connect your wallet and start Zapping!

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Designing, writing and pursuing my journey wherever it may take me.