Blockchain technology revolutionized the financial and banking tech space through fully decentralized, trust-less and permission-less applications known as DeFi (Decentralized Finance) apps.

DeFi apps allow users to freely transfer and receive digital currencies without an intermediary like a bank or an exchange. Thus, users can easily exchange digital currency and assets without any mediators, enabling ‘trust-less’ transactions. 

The terms and workflows used in typical DeFi applications could be overwhelming to an average user. To unlock the full potential of these apps and quicker acceptability across a wide spectrum of users, an intuitive, safe and comfortable user experience is quite imperative. 

In this article, we discuss five tips that UX and UI designers can use to design pleasant and unthreatening user experience for their DeFi apps. 

Draw parallels with traditional financial transactions

Invariably all DeFi applications have some form of financial transactions between users or entities. The type of transactions could include transfer of money and assets, purchase of insurance and loans and money deposition. All of this is done via the decentralized ledgers secured by the blockchain technology. Although the outcomes are the same, the backend transactional processes are quite different from the traditional financial  process. 

Following diagram compares the typical currency exchange process workflow in a traditional banking app and a DeFi app. 

comparison diagram of currency exchange work flow in traditional bank and DeFi app

From the diagram, it can be seen that the flow is similar for both cases. Thus, to design intuitive flows in DeFi Apps, designers can observe  and adapt UX design patterns in traditional banking apps.

Adopt a young and trendy user mindset

The majority of the audience using the blockchain technology and DeFi apps are the millennials and GenZ. They are accustomed to applications with trendy designs and easy to use UI. Applications with complex workflows and poorly designed UX/UI will quickly make them disinterested and lose focus. Some UX/UI patterns to be taken into consideration when designing for the young audience are: 

  • Attention lifespan : The users of this category have an attention span of mere seconds (8 seconds according to a Forbes Report) and they browse multiple screens in parallel. So, the DeFi app should have an absorbing UX design with just the right amount of details conveying the intended meaning easily.
  • Gamification : Gen Z hates reading and following long instructions; they prefer learning by doing. Dealing and transacting with money in DeFi apps requires specific instructions to be followed. Here, UX designers can adopt  the gamification principles to convert instructions into ‘goals’ or ‘missions’. This will engage the users more and eliminate the need to follow boring textual instructions. 
  • Organized and trendy : The workflow elements in a DeFi application should be placed and organized with the order of its usage in mind. For example, in cryptocurrency trading applications, the list of available crypto currencies, exchange rates and call to actions should be organized along with trendy UI styles to ensure maximum user retention. If the users can’t find the right information and action within seconds, their attention will wander quickly and ultimately move to better designed and easy to use applications.
  • Multiple devices : Gen Z love gadgets and they own and use different devices. They expect the same level of application experience across all their devices. The UX/UI designers should ensure consistent user experience across different device types with good application responsiveness and ease of use.

Use patterns and tones that emanate safety and security 

Web3 is an emerging technology and users have trust and financial security concerns  in adopting DeFi apps. The UX/UI design should emanate a secure and reassuring feel to the users and help them trust the application with their money. 

UX/UI designers should  carefully  use UI elements that render security and trust. The UI elements like ‘shield icons’, ‘lock icons’, and ‘security messages’ generate a psychology of safety and security within the application. 

Moreover, the UX design should include a user-friendly password management workflow where the user does not have to remember long and complex passwords.Randomly generated phrases or words in a specific order, or a series of images can be used for user authentication. 

Avoid using complex financial jargons and messaging in the app

The new terms associated with DeFi ecosystems can be intimidating to first time users. Use clear microcopy and wherever possible, replace the financial terms and jargon with illustrations and animations for a smoother user experience.

Tooltips can be used extensively to help users to make just-in time decisions. They are handy and eliminate the need to go through an instruction set before starting a transactional workflow. The more the users understand about the DeFi space using an app, it's highly likely that they will stick to the same app. It generates cognitive psychology indicating that the app is easy to use and user-friendly. 

Use friendly and helpful error messaging

As DeFi apps are fairly new in the financial realm, users tend to make a  lot of mistakes.  The UX designers should ensure  that the errors act like a learning opportunity for the user. Everytime an error is made, the user should be able to understand why the error happened and be guided on how to fix the error.

Conclusion

The challenges and priorities in a DeFi app design are different from a traditional financial application and a UI UX design agency has a significant role to play in enhancing the user experience in DeFi apps. To smoothen the user experience of Defi apps, UX designers shall consider the following tips.

  • Create UX workflows similar to traditional financial applications
  • Design trendy and engaging patterns and flows with GenZ in mind
  • Inculcate the psychology of security and trust through UI elements
  • Avoid complex jargon and enable learning through creative ways
  • Guide users to learn from their mistakes 

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