Blockchain and it’s a applications tend to be technically complex. Given the amount of innovation involved in this emerging technology, the milieu often comes with unfamiliar terminology, features and user journey flows. This poses a major challenge for UI and UX designers and those looking to push further adoption. With any design the challenge is often making the complex simple and intuitive. At NTLR, we live by a series of high-level principles that our UX specialists are devoted to exploring and applying to emerging Blockchain based experiences.
6 principles for more human design
#1 Pursue simplicity
Visually complex interfaces are rated less beautiful than simpler ones, which add additional work for the brain to decode, store and make sense of.
“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
#2 Always consider visual hierarchies
It’s not enough to merely have great content — you need eyes to be drawn to what’s important, and create consistency in these treatments. Humans are pattern recognition machines, so pay attention to everything from weighting which enables quick scanning, to commonality in the placement of navigation elements.
“Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.” — Edward Tuft
#3 Carefully craft affordances
Follow what works for your users, not trends. While skeuomorphic design continues to take an increasingly distant backseat to flatter design languages, to ignore the usability benefits of certain treatments for certain user demographics is never a good idea. Sometimes what looks better doesn’t work better.
#4 Use appropriate typography
Using a font perceived as something comical probably isn’t the right fit when documenting one of the greatest discoveries in modern science. Typeface characteristics not only affect aesthetic appeal, comprehension, but credibility as well. In fact, given the same statement in Comic Sans versus Baskerville, the one in Baskerville is more likely to be believed.
#5 Talk like a real person
“PC LOAD LETTER”. HP’s infamously thoughtless language frustrated users around the world, and cost the company tens of millions in unnecessary support time. “What am I supposed to load into my PC, exactly?” Of course, in America, A4 paper is called letter, and the eventual realisation is that you need to re-fill the paper tray. Design is in the details, and every detail matters — overlook them at the peril of user satisfaction and profitability.
#6 Don’t make people think
Don’t insist on requesting information (such as personal details) before demonstrating value. Don’t expect recall (such as where content is) when you can design for recognition. Don’t ask questions (such as location) when you can make intelligent initial assumptions. Don’t make the user trawl through options (such as to hide or show a pane), when you can remember their decisions contextually from the place where it exists.
Most importantly, acknowledge that being “intuitive” isn’t always possible. Intuition can only exist if a user has had prior experinces that resemble yours. The first mouse to be manufactured en masse for consumers was not intuitive, but learning how to use it was fast. Sometimes the greatest ideas cannot relate to prior experiences, so strive to be quickly learnable, not “intuitive”.
UX design is not voodoo
A note worth closing on is that good design is largely pragmatic, not magic. Above all else, good design is achieved as a result of conscious, collective decisions to avoid personal bias, avoid anecdotes, and together employ a genuine care for how people will react to the choices we make for them.