Background & Role
IOTA is an innovative cryptocurrency, poised to become the backbone of data transfer for the Internet of Things (IoT).
For 2018 it has been a privilege to work with Dr. Navin Ramachandran, Charlie Varley, Rihards Gravis and the other talented developers of the IOTA Foundation, supplying UI design & UX consultation for the IOTA Trinity consumer wallets.
Based upon a revolutionary “Tangle” DAG technology, the Foundation has already partnered with Bosch, VW Group and the United Nations UNOPS, to push forward their vision of connected devices securely transmitting data and currency in a decentralised world.
Cryptocurrency is a relatively new technology, of late attracting phenomenal attention over the ability to empower users to control their finances without the need for intermediaries, such as banks.
With this surge in uptake, there has also been a new found level of fraud and theft, with the end result of users losing their funds.
With private and public keys being inherently complex to understand, we needed to make the process of onboarding a user as simple and secure as possible.
It is critical to ensure that users, across a spectrum of technical ability, understand the importance of storing their key (seed) safely in order to be able to recover their assets without worry of theft or fraud as a result.
IOTA is particularly complex in that each account has a unique 81 character seed that can access funds. At this point in time, it is required for every user to make a note of this. As such we made the onboarding process of storing this seed as simple and frictionless as possible.
By breaking down the onboarding into clear and precise steps, we avoid overloading the user with information at any one point.
We already know from extended research that users can happily follow multiple, clear steps, without frustration as long as they feel that the process is clearly signposted and they are making tangible progression.
Dashboard & UI
Whilst we approached the UI from a mobile-first perspective, it was agreed that a separate and unique experience could be used for the desktop, structuring the UI and navigation in a different way to the mobile design.
With Rihards Gravis, the lead developer of the desktop solution, we devised a single dashboard design that would enable sliding elements to reveal additional functionality to the user without needing to navigate through multiple tabs. This meant that users could easily flip between multiple accounts using the sidebar.
The desktop design could also be developed as a responsive solution so that users could adjust to the size of their screen or dock alongside their web browser to keep track of transactions.
In terms of synergy between the desktop and mobile products, we retained the main feature components of the UI, such as the history and the value chart, as well as the core functionality.
After using it for a few hours; sending, receiving, managing… I can’t possibly be more confident that IOTA and the new wallet have no competition.
–Beta Tester Feedback
Themes & Accessibility
The dark green palette was initially introduced in the original 2017 design and has become somewhat iconic with the project amongst the large IOTA community.
At the same time, when I was initially introduced to the team at the beginning of the year, there was some degree of feedback that the dark green tones would not suit everyone’s tastes and more importantly, it would not be entirely accessible.
At this point, I introduced 7 additional theme designs, defining extended harmonious palette colour combinations for each one. I also paid particular attention to the needs of accessibility, ensuring a minimum of AA accessibility, or AAA where possible.
The upshot is that users have a wide variety of visual themes to suit their tastes and moods as well as high-contrast themes to aid accessibility amongst those with poor eyesight, or for use in low light conditions.
Overall, it has been hugely satisfying to be involved in a project with so many talented team members, with the opportunity to help steer the UX/UI design for what is set to become a significant and groundbreaking wallet in the cryptocurrency space.
So far, the Mobile Beta wallet release has met almost entirely positive acclaim as a leap forward in the ability to easily manage and store users' funds with new and advanced security features. Desktop is still in closed Alpha (as of June 2018) but is due to be released shortly.
Both platforms have undergone full external audits and have been scrutinised by thousands of testers at the Alpha stage.
We continue to improve the wallets until the impending prime time release on the iOS app store and Google Play store.
I look forward to the future accomplishments in working with the IOTA Foundation, team and the community.