IBM Cloud wins a 2019 Red Dot Design Award for the IBM Blockchain Platform

How did the IBM Cloud design team create an award-worthy user experience for blockchain technology?

Arin Bhowmick
Aug 15 · 5 min read

We’re excited to announce that our design team at IBM Cloud has been recognized with another design award. The IBM Blockchain Platform experience design has received the 2019 Red Dot: Brands and Communication Design Award in the Interface design category. This is another huge achievement for us following a series of international design awards in the past couple of years.

The Red Dot Award is one of the largest international competitions in the world, and it has been running for about 65 years now. Governed by the guiding principle “In search of good design and creativity”, this organization has provided a platform for designers and companies to present their design work for evaluation. This year, 25 international experts viewed, discussed, and evaluated 8,697 entries submitted across 54 countries around the world.

This is the third year in a row that our design team at IBM Cloud, Data and AI has received a Red Dot Design Award, after IBM SPSS in 2018 and IBM Data Science Experience in 2017. We’re honored to be recognized by this award organization again, as it’s always incredible to see design take the spotlight in the enterprise software field.

What is the IBM Blockchain Platform?

The IBM Blockchain Platform is a software-as-a-service that guides users through all the key stages of launching a blockchain network. These stages include:

  • Building and testing proof-of-concept applications in a pre-production environment
  • Activating a production network
  • Establishing flexible governance policies for network members
  • Managing daily operations with the highest levels of security and performance

These are all complex, technically advanced tasks, and with the IBM Blockchain Platform, users get support and guidance at every step.

The IBM Blockchain Platform also allows multiple companies and institutions to develop, manage, and operate a decentralized blockchain network in a simplified way. Multiple users can easily activate their networks and collaboratively manage them, as well as deploy their network across multiple infrastructures, allowing for easy scalability and saving time and costs in business operations.

Designing for blockchain

The design team behind the IBM Blockchain Platform wanted to create a user experience that demystifies a complex, cutting-edge technology that has yet to see widespread adoption. The team found that their target users consisted of developers and DevOps teams who had various degrees of technological expertise but had never used blockchain software before. Designers collaborated with developers and offering managers to make blockchain technology easy for large-scale enterprises to integrate into their business operations and empower users to get the most out of this software.

The team designed this software to streamline the blockchain operational and development processes, packaging the entire blockchain creation and management process into a cohesive user experience. The platform is divided into two parts, the Developer Experience and the Operational Experience consoles. Each of these components are catered to their specific target users, developers and network operators respectively, and are designed to streamline their experiences.

The Operational Console features easy integration with multiple clouds, allowing blockchain network operators to share and co-manage their network with partners. The platform also allows users to deploy their blockchain network across multiple environments, helping increase growth at a faster pace. The interface features simple navigation and access to tutorials and videos that guide the users through their first-time experience with the product, as many of these users have limited or no experience with blockchain software.

The Developer Console includes an extension to several widely-used developer tools. The design team found that developers were having difficulty with the number of prerequisites needed to understand and start developing on a blockchain network. By integrating with existing developer tools, users don’t have to figure out their own tools and workflow when using the platform, and can easily get started on writing their code.

“Building a blockchain network can be complex and difficult. Developing on it is even harder. We designed the IBM Blockchain Platform with empathy to help Blockchain Developers and Network Administrators work together on one unified platform to ease the complexity and simplify the user experience.” — Steve Kim, Design Director, IBM Blockchain Platform

Design shapes the future of tech

The IBM Blockchain Platform is one of the first blockchain product that our team has designed and released to our clients - hence this award means a lot to the IBM Cloud design team. Receiving recognition for the design of this product is a testament as to how important design is in shaping the future of our technology. By designing experiences and interfaces that are catered to our users, we are able to demystify technology like blockchain and make it more accessible to a wider range of users. Through user-centered design, blockchain has the opportunity to have a greater impact on our world as it will be easier to integrate into and elevate the current systems of our society.

Winning Team


Arin Bhowmick (@arinbhowmick) is Vice President, Design at IBM based in San Francisco, California. The above article is personal and does not necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

Design at IBM

Stories from the practice of design at IBM

Arin Bhowmick

Written by

Global VP Design @IBM | Chief Design Officer, Cloud, Data and AI I UX Leadership| UX Strategy| Usability & User Research| Product Design

Design at IBM

Stories from the practice of design at IBM

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