After getting interested in cryptocurrencies over the last few years I wanted to challenge myself to design a clean, intuitive cryptocurrency tracking app from scratch.
Over the years I’ve gained all sorts of experience in different areas of design. I really wanted to see how it might all come together and to push myself in the areas of research and user experience, as well as prototyping.
It was important to start right from the research phase to understand who else might want to use an app like this so I could focus on features that people really needed and wanted. I didn’t want to just build something that I thought might be useful.
Before I started I wrote out three guiding principles:
During the initial phases I left myself open to explore new ideas, to challenge myself to come up with different ways of accessing information. As the project became more focused I kept reminding myself of my inital three goals.
One of my early assumptions was that an overload of information might turn away those users who wanted to get into cryptocurrency but felt it was complicated. Too little information risked not attracting those involved in the industry and already investing in cryptocurrencies.
My main initial goal was to try to discover what a primary, or typical user might be for a cryptocurrency app, and the reasons why they might want to use it. I started by downloading other similar apps and combed through their app reviews for quality user feedback and began to group similar data together.
I joined several crypto communities on slack to understand the users and the industry in general, and I got some very useful insights into users pain points and what people are looking for.
I also referenced several key studies, one put out by the University of Cambridge in 2017 entitled Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study, which specifically talks about the user adoption of various cryptocurrencies as well as the industry itself.
I began creating personas and user stories. I used these to begin to understand users goals and motivations in context, and gain insight so I could translate these into key points I wanted to address in the app. I also discovered potential new features that I might want to further explore, and potential opportunities for engagement.
Features users most wanted:
With the first round of preliminary research complete, I felt that I had enough to build the MVP. I wanted to make sure that I leveraged iOS and Android's native functionality. I didn’t want to force people to learn a new and potentially awkward way of accessing information, instead of using natural pre-existing and familiar patterns.
I consulted with a number of iOS and Android developers which helped me to understand their concerns early on. I wanted to make sure that the framework would allow scalability and have the ability to be updated with ease. I began mapping out the information into screens and potential flows.
I wanted all of the features highly visible and discoverable and didn’t want them hidden behind a hamburger menu. The main tabs, are easily reachable with your thumb or finger and allow easy access. The settings section also allowed a clean spot for (potentially) adding a profile section, as well as the settings and help sections. The interactions and swiping conventions followed basic patterns and, my assumption would be that they will be easily recognized, which will be validated in a later test.
More research, prototyping, testing and iterating. Although I took a lean UX approach, with more in depth research my personas and experience maps could be improved upon.
Features I still want to test:
I wanted to challenge myself to create something meaningful and usable for users, and I am happy with what I came up with for the MVP stage. Projects like these are fufilling because they push you to look at things from a different perspective. The process of creating, and learning is what drives us forward and out of this process is where innovation comes from - and it is continuous.