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Web3 design in 2024: best principles and patterns

Good design in Web3 is crucial for building trust, making blockchain technology easier to understand, and encouraging more people to use it.

3 June, 2024
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In 2024, web3 design has some unique patterns that came with decentralized technologies. Web3 crypto and blockchain have changed the way we perceive payments, transactions, and the Internet in general. 

Of course, there are new or, rather, improved rules, patterns, and principles that come with the new territory. Having some relevant experience as a Web3 design agency, let us share the fundamentals of web3 design in 2024.

What is web3 design?

Web3 design means creating user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX) for decentralized applications (dApps) that operate on blockchain technology.

Unlike traditional design, Web3 UI design needs to consider the decentralized nature of blockchain networks, the use of cryptocurrencies, and the emphasis on security and privacy.

Let’s get over some of its key components:

  1. Onboarding. Given the complexity of blockchain technology, you need an effective onboarding for users to understand concepts like private keys, wallets, transactions, etc.
  2. Wallet and payments. Users need to easily connect their digital wallets (e.g., MetaMask, Trust Wallet) to the dApp, also manage multiple wallets, and switch between them.
  3. Privacy. Features that allow users to be informed about the security of their private keys, potential phishing attacks, etc.
  4. Transactions. Feedback on transaction statuses, including confirmations, pending states, and errors, as well as clear information about gas fees.
  5. User profiles. Support of decentralized identity solutions (e.g., DID) that allow users to maintain control over their personal information.
  6. Community and feedback. Channels for user feedback and social features that allow users to interact, such as forums, chat, and collaborative tools.

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Web 3 design principles

Web3 UI/UX design is about making decentralized applications as user-friendly and accessible as possible while maintaining the principles of decentralization, security, and privacy. It requires a deep understanding of blockchain technology and a user-centered approach to design.

Frankly speaking, Web3 desperately needs good design in order for people not to be scared of it. We all know that a thoughtfully and intuitively designed user experience ranks quite high among the reasons people trust new products or services.

To create user-friendly, secure, and engaging Web3 applications, you might want to follow this next set of best principles and patterns we’ve compiled using our Merge experience.

Dress to impress

One of the first practices we’re going to mention has to do with impressing your audience. Web3 products are popping up everywhere these days, making the market pretty overcrowded. If you want to outperform your competitors, make your product stand out in the best way possible. 

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Elizabeth Hyliuk

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Head of Design

These days, it’s important to create some sort of “WOW” effect with your web3 product. For example, you visit a website, and it has impressive animations, stunning colors, etc. Or, you press a button, and a color suddenly changes.

First impressions matter in everything. A striking and memorable first impression will make your users more likely to explore and engage with your product. You can even improve your user engagement and retention too, since people are more likely to return to a platform that offers a unique and impressive experience.

So, what can you do to impress your users? Well, high-quality, visually striking graphics and animations are a good way to engage. So are the 3D elements and interactive visuals that respond to user actions in unexpected ways. 

Interactivity

Interactive elements like 3D visuals, animated hero areas, and gamified experiences can significantly enhance user engagement.

Introducing 3D assets using tools like three.js or incorporating gamified elements such as leaderboards and rewards can make Web3 platforms more appealing and immersive, differentiating them from traditional web2 experiences.

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Remaining user-centered above all

You’ve heard it a thousand times - design with the user in mind. Historically, Web3 platforms have been built from a developer’s perspective, focusing on technical features rather than user experience. 

Effective Web3 design prioritizes user needs, creating interfaces that are intuitive and accessible to both new and experienced users. For that, you need to have detailed user personas and map their journeys to make sure your real users have a seamless experience.

An example of accessible and remarkably user-friendly web3 design: BlockEarner and their Blockchain-based fintech application

Consistency and familiarity

Maintaining visual consistency and using familiar design patterns from Web2 can help users transition more comfortably to Web3. Elements such as grid-based layouts, clear typographic hierarchies, and familiar navigation patterns can reduce the learning curve and make the decentralized web feel more accessible.

avatar

Elizabeth Hyliuk

linkedin

Head of Design

Try not to change anything too quickly in your Web3 design. People are used to things being the way they are, so whatever steps you are taking to improve elements in your design, make them gradually so your users can have time to get used to them.

An example of consistent and intuitive design from a professional Web3 product design studio: RelayPay and their platform for easy crypto payments, bill settlements, and fund transfers. 

Simplicity and accessibility

Web3 interactions can be complex, involving multiple steps and technical jargon.

How to simplify the complex?

  1. Provide a simple and intuitive onboarding process that guides users through initial setup and usage.
  2. Break down complex interactions into smaller, manageable steps to avoid overwhelming users.
  3. Incorporate tooltips, contextual help, and guides that explain features and functionalities as users navigate through the product.

Decentralized applications (dApps) should also feel accessible to a broad audience through the way they are designed.

For example, overcoming technical barriers, providing support for various devices and operating systems, and creating interfaces that guide users through complex processes are all good practices.

Accessibility also involves designing for different levels of user expertise and ensuring that onboarding processes are straightforward and informative.

Security and privacy

Given the public nature of blockchain transactions, maintaining user privacy and security is challenging. Web3 design must include robust privacy controls, such as managing personal data access and protecting against unauthorized access.

You must also educate your users on security practices, like safeguarding private keys, to build a secure user experience.

avatar

Elizabeth Hyliuk

linkedin

Head of Design

While security is extremely important, this practice has become somewhat of a craze recently. You need to know the limits, too.

Some add such complicated KYC (Know Your Customer) processes with customers having to jump so many hoops to verify their identity, that it drives them off.

An example of a secure yet easy verification practice in a web3 UX design: TokenPlace, a crypto trading terminal, and their “Verify with a selfie” feature in the mobile app.

Transaction clarity and trust

Now, on the same note of security but from the user’s side of things. Trust is a core principle in Web3 design due to the field’s inherent risks and uncertainties. That’s why transparency about transaction processes and security measures is a must. 

You should guide your users through each step, providing alerts and reminders when making irreversible decisions. For example, you should show only critical parts of transaction hashes, use recognizable icons, and make users double-check actions to prevent errors.

One of the best practices is having clear communication about transaction times and costs, especially gas fees. Your users should understand how gas fees work and have options to adjust them to speed up transactions if necessary. Providing timely status updates or links to block explorers like Etherscan can ease the anxiety your users might feel during transactions.

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Personalization

Allow your users to customize their interface to improve their experience and engagement. Features like theme switching (light/dark mode) and personalized content can make platforms more user-friendly. 

This personalization technique is particularly effective in NFT platforms, where users can interact more personally with various digital assets.

Branding

And last but not least, branding. Just as with every other product that is set to be successful, design in web3 has to be consistent and cohesive. Smart and meticulous branding is how you do it. 

This includes logo design, token icons, brand guidelines, and accompanying brand assets. Consistency builds trust and helps establish a strong brand presence in the Web3 market.

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Why do you need good design in web3?

Good design in Web3 is crucial for building trust, making blockchain technology easier to understand, and encouraging more people to use it. Design is more than just making things look nice; it's about adding value, clarity, and meaning. 

Web3 and blockchain technology aim to give power back to the people and creators, changing how we use the internet and manage money. However, these big changes often make people skeptical, especially when their finances are involved.

Blockchain companies are asking people to trust them with their money and to see the internet and financial systems in a new way. If these companies have poor design, it makes it harder for people to trust and adopt these new ideas.

A well-designed user experience can help overcome doubts and make complex technology more approachable. In the fast-growing blockchain industry, good design can make all the difference by clearly communicating the benefits and making the technology easier to use.

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author

CEO and Founder of Merge

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

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