Taker Case Study
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Taker Case Study

Client
Taker Protocol
Industry
Crypto/Fintech
Type
Web3 App
Role
Product Design/UX/UI Consultant
Project Date
2022

A new web app for a crypto start-up for lending with NFTs requiring design uplift and UX/UI improvements to launch their product on a major exchange/IDO.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

Taker is racing to the market with a DeFi (decentralised finance) protocol to build an ecosystem, based on DAO infrastructure, to provide ensured and instant liquidity to users who hold NFTs. Their value proposition is to enable users to create their own DAO and launchpad, creating shared lending pools for specific NFT collections of their choice and give high ROIs to their members. This is quite a complex and innovative concept not available on the market yet. The existing mvp is not user-friendly and lacks good UX design principles and aesthetic benchmark UI/visual design to attract user engagement with the initial adoption targeted to crypto natives, NFT collectors and influencers.

OBJECTIVES
  • Improve the existing UX/UI
  • Instill design thinking processes
  • Quick branding
  • Create a design system
  • Designs for v2 app features

Project Background

MY ROLE

I was brought on as the sole product/UX/UI designer on the team with existing designs ( done by an agency without a proper product design process.) I worked on a freelance basis about 8 hours a week over a 3 month period, due to my bandwith and their budget. I worked primarily with the product manager (in the US) who was in close contact with the founder/main stakeholder (in China) who didn’t speak much English. I also collaborated with the front-end engineer (in Europe). The remote team was very engineer heavy (5+ engineers) and not design driven, which made the whole project challenging and we worked mainly asynchronously, communicating in Slack, Jira and Confluence. The founder also changed the product direction and offerings quite a bit throughout which also made things challenging (which is why I think the product manager left). I tried to advocate for design thinking where I could. My main drive for working on this project was that I was interested in getting into the world of crypto and blockchain which I think is the future of finance and the web, so it has been a great new learning experience and got me excited about NFTs (non-fungible tokens) due to their huge potential which have exploded in value the last couple years.

Taker ecosystem

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

Discovery

Discovery process

  • Competitive analysis and online research: familiarise myself with the crypto space, researched 10-20 websites and apps related to crypto, defi, dao and nfts, looked at their product offerings, trends, design, branding, audience.
  • Workshop with product manager and founder to find out business and user needs and their existing user research
  • Personas, identifying opportunities for user research
  • Heuristic evaluation of current designs
  • Documented research in Miro

Online Research/
Competitive Analysis

Top NFT marketplaces & defi apps
  • Understand the landscape & context of what NFT/DeFi users are navigating and consuming which is different from Web2 environment
  • Top NFT marketplaces: opensea, niftygateway, foundation, rarible, superare, axie infinity, decentraland, sandbox, crypto.com
  • defi: aave, compound, sushiswap, maker, nftfi, pawnfi
Top NFT collectibles
  • Understand the background of highest value nft collections as these would be the main items featured that would be desired by users
  • Understand what users are owning these collections as they would be potential users for Taker
  • Top collections: Axie Infinity, Sandbox, Cryptopunks, Decentraland, Bored Ape Yacht Club
DAO Tooling and Launchpads
  • DAO: Understand the formation and structure of Decentralized Autonomous Organisations which is still a really new concept so currently very few tools exist to support DAO creation and management. Aragon is a good example of DAO tooling software.
  • Launchpad: researched various launchpads, such as Binance, and the way they work to support tokenisation and staking to raise funds for the DAO

Online Research Insights

There is a big untapped opportunity for NFTs in the defi space, where there isn’t any other platform at the moment that does DAO based lending (validating Taker’s value prop.)

NFT desirability is based on hype, exclusivity and rarity, users are willing to pay a lot of them for speculation, social reputation, gaming and collecting for fun. Gaining popularity in the luxury art world as well as online gaming in developing countries.

Pak’s piece, The Merge was the most expensive NFT ever sold on December 2, 2021, with almost 30,000 collectors pitching together for a total cost of $91.8m. (USD) Pooled liquidity/fractional ownership of NFTs is a growing trend.

The demographic of buyers is quite diverse, with 23% as millenials, the top five countries with the biggest NFT adoption are in Asia, and men are three times more likely than women to be NFT collectors.

NFT marketplace platforms are quite futuristic looking with black and vivid colors like pink/purple/turquoise gradients, or white gallery like for displaying art and also minimal/sleek in design aesthetic. They are more for browsing, informal and e-commerce like.

DeFi platforms are quite minimal in UI and designed for crypto natives, and look more formal than NFT platforms. The UX is quite complex for some of them. Users are looking to do serious and quick transactions.

DAOs are decentralised “companies” of the future governed by its members. The concept is still quite new so the technology to support them is still developing and increasing in demand. More education is needed around them as with many Web3 concepts.

Business goals

Improve user journeys and UX for our complex product
Better branding and colours, redesign logo
Launch mvp within 3 months to get funding from IDO
Increase users, liquidity, token value

Users

Personas/
User goals

Miro board

Borrowers

Money: use their NFTs as collateral for instant liquidity
Fun: leverage NFT’s without selling them

Curators

Influence, Reputation, Status
Money: Earn interest and service fee
Create their own DAO and be a part of one
Potential to part own defaulted NFTs

DAO Members

Be part of a NFT DAO (reputation, belonging)
Money: earn interest
Potential to part own defaulted NFTs

User pain points

NFT owners cannot obtain any additional value from these assets without selling them
Immature pricing model, hard to get consistent pricing aside from floor price
Inefficient lending process (mostly are on P2P), lack of trust and speed

User groups for research & challenges

  • Taker community followers on twitter and discord (20k)
  • Taker investors
  • Online surveys, contextual inquiry, qualitative research
  • Challenges: getting users committed and provide genuine feedback, many barriers to test on testnet, need to source test funds and nfts

User testing of the existing build validated the same issues raised from heuristic evaluation

The Existing Application

What it looks like

Heuristic evaluation of existing build

#1: Visibility of System Status

  • NFT’s taking a long time to load on launch looks like nothing is happening

#2: Match Between System and the Real World

Language is not clear and commonly known with many of the navigation/action items such as curator, appraisal terms. Homepage language is not easy to understand, and not inviting to the user.

#3: User Control and Freedom

User is forced to connect wallet on entering app, which may deter new users from staying and exploring further.

#4: Consistency and Standards

Some of the terms such as curator and appraisals is not really seen in other apps, so the user may not know what to expect, there needs to be some change to be more consistent with other well known fintech systems

#5: Error Prevention

On launch of the app, the connect wallet experience is already showing red, there should be a better way of guiding the user to switch networks to testnet.

The curator dao creation form is badly designed, showing many red fields on starting the form which makes a poor user experience.

#6: Recognition Rather than Recall
#7: Flexibility and Efficiency of Use

No obvious issues here. The app is probably too early in its development to cater for shortcut workflows, but would be good to have time to design for this in future iterations.

#8: Aesthetic and Minimalist design

There’s not much design aesthetic compared to top nft marketplace platforms. The fonts need more hierarchy and feel heavy. Not enough whitespace. Colours feel heavy and need to be more minimal. Content layout needs refinement so text is quicker and easier to read.

#9: Help Users Recognize, Diagnose, and Recover from Errors

#10: Help and Documentation

Jarring error from the start with the connect wallet modal and error codes, and with the curator dao form. Error messaging and design need refining.

Not enough help, onboarding, context on many of the features which would be hard to understand for a non-crypto, non-nft native.

Defining the problem

How might we?

  • How might we get users to engage with the app better by improving the aesthetics and language to speak to our users in an appealing way?
  • How might we empower the DAO structure with features that attract users to create a dao on our app?
  • How might we improve the UX and workflows for the curator dao creation and joining process to be easy and efficient?

Jobs to be done

  • Provide easy to understand language, more context and text across the app, including onboarding
  • Create (improve) user flows and fill in missing workflow gaps
  • Improve DAO system, eg. better creation form, dashboard, governance tools
  • Redesign logo, colors, branding to match levels of expectation as other successful nft/crypto platform systems on the market
  • Create design system to work with branding and app
  • Redesign existing screens and mobile views for mvp

Designing the Solutions

Design process

  • Created customer journeys, user flows, sitemap
  • Redesigned existing designs and created design system in conjunction
  • Design with sketching wireframes and hi-fidelity wireframes of missing workflows
  • Collaborated mainly with product manager

A snapshot at the customer journey

Site map

Feature prioritization

  • Redesign screens for initial mvp which meant doing quick rebrand and design system
  • DAO creation, joining and rewards workflows
  • DAO governance workflow for others to buy their nfts
  • Homepage redesign

Other recommendations

  • Not force user to connect wallet on entering app. Most other big nft platforms don’t do that, it would allow the user to explore and stay longer on the app
  • Include the homepage as part of the app and in the main navigation, this would allow the user to navigate more freely and learn more about the app as a more holistic and seamless experience
  • Not spend too much time on branding, more important to spend more time on the actual product design to get to mvp

Lean branding

A few hours on redesigning the logo, which is now used across social channels (twitter)

User flows

Redesign of existing screens

Design system

Wireframes

Hi-fidelity wireframes

Join Curator DAO flow

Create Proposal & Vote (DAO Governance)

4-2_Curate DAO_NFT Vault

Homepage update

Existing

Updated design

Design iteration

Project on hold

Next steps

Figure out what features will be in launch and finish designing them (priorities keep shifting)
Create end to end user flows of clickable prototypes for user testing
Reiterate and test again

Waiting for client approval of the above

Success metrics

Successful completion of tasks in user testing
Positive feedback from user testing
No issues from heuristic evaluation
Usage/uptake/positive feedback after launch
IDO success

Summary

Blockchain technology and crypto start-ups are complex

With limited time and budget, and an array of problems with this complex project, I used design thinking methods to frame and focus on the most important issues to be solved, with the journey of the Curator DAO first as that is most essential side of the 2 sided lending platform to get users on board. My design solutions and iterations were mostly informed by the initial user testing, heuristic evaluation issues, my intuition, and also from market research of other popular NFT and DeFi systems as benchmarks and influence for design.

There were quite a few curveballs thrown in the project by the client, with the founder switching gears and wanting to build a renting feature when the lending feature wasn’t finished yet, and the project manager leaving all of a sudden who was my best collaborator and translator understanding the need for the whole product design process. So with these unforeseen challenges, I haven’t managed to complete the end to end design process and am waiting on next steps with user validation through hi-fi prototypes and reiteration. There are still a lot of improvements to be made. However, the stakeholders have given me positive feedback on my design solutions and have been happy with my work so far.¬† I have learned a lot about the crypto and NFT space from this and hope to build on this experience in the future.