Cryptocurrency Marketing and the UI/UX Problem
Cryptocrrency and what needs to change. A marketers perspective:
Cryptocurrency: Conceptually amazing. Executionally dysfunctional.
There exists a massive disconnect in the space between the people performing the designing, building, and implementation… and the people actually using the product. Consider decentralization, a concept that implies control in the hands of the granular. But in regards to cryptocurrency, if the more granular functions in our society (read: people) can’t or don’t use the product, then it’s defeated itself prior to the decentralization actually functioning. In the mind of this marketer, the path towards mainstream adoption manifests in a two-part, double-sided plan.
Firstly, (and I know you’ve heard it before, but I’m going to say it again) the UI/UX in crypto at large needs massive adjustments. Currently, it’s all technically postured with little discussion surrounding a shift towards human-centric design. It’s common to see complaints highlighting the feature-laden, overly-complex exchange or dApp designs that tend to dominate the market, but with no change year after year. And perhaps, the best illustration of this isn’t in the whining cries in regards to Bittrex’s reworked complexity or the endless Reddit posts from noobs looking for a navigating hand, but on the other side of the token; in the success of something quite topically mundane.
From my nerdy perspective, CryptoKitties is arguably the least interesting application of a decentralized system. From my marketers perspective, it’s genius. Really, it’s just a digital collectibles game about kittens. But, it’s also the single most fluid, friendly, and in turn popular (AKA profitable) decentralized application built using blockchain technology to date… which prompts any questioning mind: “Why is it so successful?” And the answer is simple.
It’s designed around the individual.
It’s made for usability. It’s feature shallow. I can pick it up and start using it within 20 seconds of creating an account and I don’t need to Google how-to’s or walkthroughs.
The first time I purchased Bitcoin?
Then I had to figure out how to transfer and start trading.
The first time I registered for Poloniex (please don’t register for Poloniex) or made an exchange?
You better believe I was Googling. Google Google Google. And lots of it.
A quote from Sarah Mills, the head of design at ConsenSys highlights the situation perfectly:
“Growing pains like the Cryptokitties congestion crisis back in December 2017 was rough on some of the infrastructure teams, but it brought a lot more casual users into the space…”
It brought casual users into the space, which is synonymous with “normie, mainstream adoption.” It did this because of how friendly it looked. How easy it was to use. The simplistic and easy to understand the application of scarcity. There is so much that they did and are doing right, which highlights so aggressively the things being done wrong by others.
But usability is only one side of the token. The other exists in the tools currently available to marketers. If we want to see mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency there needs to be a real way for crypto-marketers to connect the crypto-gospel with normal people. This means marketing in the places that they go…. Which means we need easier ads, email, and crypto-friendly tools… Badly.
Facebook ads, Twitter ads. Pintrest ads. Last year over 52% of users on Facebook stated that they made a buying decision based off of an ad that they viewed on the platform, while an insane 79% of users made a buying decision based off of a connection with a brand on Facebook. And the stats continue to mirror this pattern for Twitter, Pintrest, Bing, Google and on.
But as many crypto marketers know, gaining access to ad space for anything cryptocurrency related is a nightmare. With every mainstream platform, there exists a convoluted application process which more often than not returns an automated message denying the effort.
And beyond ads, we see these types of marketing constrictions in things like email marketing as well. Early in April, email marketing service MailChimp began shutting down and suspending accounts that mentioned or hinted towards any association with cryptocurrency. There exist alternative services, but it’s not uncommon for them to lack the features of the more popular options, and many of them have followed MailChimp suit in the choice to distance themselves from the emerging technology.
What it Comes Down To:
A tool is only as good as the hands wielding it, and the same rings true for a computer program — Just because cryptocurrency is decentralized, it doesn’t mean the user experience has to be. For mainstream adoption to see the light of day it’s necessary that the rookie-scaring, overly complex user-interfaces are turned in for something more inviting, and there needs to be an easier path towards connecting these messages with the everyday person.
That’s why we’ve built Coinstack. It’s an inviting platform that removes fragmentation and overly complex interfaces from the picture by allowing users to purchase, sell and trade in one spot which allows us to remove confusion without sacrificing utility. As I established previously, it’s increasingly important for the cryptocurrency community to connect with the everyday person and right now there are not many paths to do that. As so, we’ve also designed and implemented what we call “social trading” which is a way for our users to connect with each other and their social networks by sharing their trading strategies.
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in we’d love for you to join us at our beta that launches this Friday on November 16th!