Able, modular crypto dashboard — a product case study

Building a sleek crypto portfolio application from scratch

Kent de Bruin
Mar 31 · 6 min read

The Challenge

Crypto was hot at the end of 2017. Millions of people were investing in cryptocurrencies. Yet most new users lacked the technical and financial knowledge to make rational decisions on these investments. Without proper tools and understanding of the space, new users were doomed to end up losing money.

The Team

I collaborated with a talented team of individuals to tackle this problem. Together with Tim (UX-designer), Marien (Designer), Rick (Full stack developer), and Andras (Co-founder) we worked together on Able. We divided up tasks between us as necessary to complete our work.

Research

In our initial research, we found that new crypto users made the same mistakes over and over again.

  • They often enter the market on a FOMO sentiment
  • They don’t properly study the market
  • They don’t understand the underlying technology
  • They don’t think about operational security, and their current setups had poor security.

Insights user research

New users were not using any professional tools, and often only invested based on FOMO. Each and everyone was constantly online checking their investments. People were using tools such as Coinmarketcap and Twitter to stay up to date. Scam links were a big problem. Multiple people had lost money because of poor operational security.

Interviews with (amateur) crypto investors

Original idea

Create a one-stop shop for all your crypto tools. All tools are scattered over the internet and scam links are a big problem. Create a safe and transparent space for all your crypto tools.

The blockchain and cryptocurrency space lacked any good design and user experience so we wanted to put extra emphasis on that. The product should have a great user experience that doesn’t seem to feel like it’s held together with duct tape and string.

Prototype

Based on the research we went into prototype mode. We quickly came up with the idea to build a modular crypto dashboard. We thought that the crypto space needed a place where transparency was key. This includes teaching people about operational security, providing them with credible news sources, dedicated bookmarks to safely browse the web and handy crypto tools such as currency converters. Our first chrome plugin was originated around the idea that there should be one place for your crypto analyzation and research. All tools are scattered across the web, and there were so many scams that people needed an entity they could trust. A dedicated place where you could safely browse the crypto web.

One of our initial product sketches

Designing

We created a simple and modular dashboard to manage your portfolio and future positions. We auto-synced wallets and exchanges so you never have to manually enter a trade again. We launched the dashboard as a Chrome plugin, so whenever you open a new tab you have all your crypto tools under one tab. You can quickly view your portfolio, check news based on your portfolio and browse through dedicated and secure bookmarks.

Our first design back in December 2017

Back to the drawing board

It looked all really interesting and the design was sleek, but we weren’t satisfied…. After all, it was just another coin-tracker with some extra features and a sleek design. We weren’t adding something fundamental innovative. We were just adding some basic features and had better UX and design.

“ We were not nailing the problem. ”

This realization led us back to the drawing board. What was the fundamental problem we needed to solve? We were always driven to make crypto investing a more clear and understandable endeavor.

How could we enable retail investors to make rational decisions in these irrational markets?

New crypto investors often lack time, patience and skill to properly evaluate and research specific digital assets. After all, most people were FOMO’ing into coins and weren’t rational at all. New investors were losing money with simple mistakes. They didn’t have a long term strategy, they took positions in coins without proper research and had sloppy operational security. Moreover, most new investors bought at the top of hype and didn’t have the patience to HODL (crypto slang for holding the cryptocurrency rather than selling it) their way to better times.

We decided to research which tools professional investors and fund managers use to raise their probability of success. How do they play the markets and beat irrationality?

We studied how professional investors and fund managers raise the probability of good returns. They protect themselves against irrationality by following specific steps:

  1. They have a thesis of where the market is heading
  2. They operate by a specific strategy
  3. They follow steps to get good entry points
  4. They gather ongoing research and data about their positions and the market
How can we enable new investors to do the same?

“How can we enable new investors to do the same?”

New proposition

With our new research, we formulated a new goal: New crypto users enter the market with no proper understanding of investing. Professional investors raise the probability of good returns by following specific steps. How can we create an environment so retail investors can do the same?

Debrief

How can we push new retail investors to make better investment decisions?

Goal

Create a platform for new crypto investors. We help them get ahead in the game quickly so they become better investors.
- Learning about the market and the underlying technology
- Choosing a strategy
- Improving operational security
- Knowing how to filter and digest information
- Sync your entire system automatically
- Create a personal dashboard with tools that keep you productive

An intuitive crypto portfolio application

Our new product became an intuitive crypto portfolio application for retail investors. It offers a suite of tools within a clean dashboard that makes it easy to analyze your portfolio, research new opportunities, and organize your investment work.

Able gives retail crypto investors the tools to invest like a pro:
- Clear overview of your Portfolio and charts for perspective.
- Force yourself to think about fundamentals
- Force yourself to make a strategy and hold on to that
- Manage risk and upgrade operational security
- Learning intuitively with our framework

Remarks

We tested the new product under our initial user base and people liked it a lot. We gathered a lot of feedback with the initial user base of around 80 people which gave us valuable information for further development. Combining product roadmap features with engineering capabilities can be though. Due to constraints in development capabilities, we had to build this product very lean. Building a product with such constraints can be challenging but also enabled us to think creatively. We launched the product in October 2018 on ProductHunt.

Screenshots from the launch website. (Website: able.launchaco.com)

Kent de Bruin

Hi, I’m Kent. I’m a designer, writer & entrepreneur based in Amsterdam.

Kent de Bruin

Written by

Designer, writer, entrepreneur. Tall and Dutch, based in Amsterdam. Writing makes me think 🧠

Kent de Bruin

Hi, I’m Kent. I’m a designer, writer & entrepreneur based in Amsterdam.

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