Why Design is the Backbone of Web 3.0 Development
Web3 seems to be coming out of its theoretical shell. Developers are now working on making it mainstream.
First, let me explain what Web3 is and why brands want to be the first to leverage it.
"The internet owned by the builders and users, orchestrated with tokens."
Web3 is yet another decentralized version of the internet. But, tech giants like Meta, Apple, and Google will no longer be able to own, possess, and control user content and platforms. More importantly, Web3 is believed to solve all privacy and security issues. What a world, right?
Mayank Sharma has summarized four advantages of Web3: it's trustless (everyone has complete control of how decentralized apps work); it's permissionless (anyone can enter with their crypto wallets and passwords; no authorization is needed from companies); it's distributed (you have unlimited power and control over internet products and services; you earn ownership based on your contribution to Web3 platforms); and it's open (Web3 stores data through blockchain, which is an open ledger).
So, what does this mean for designers?
One of design's basic rules is to design with the end-user in mind. But, this rule has been left behind in the development of Web3. Today's centralized systems have left designers creating for developers, and it's your job (as a designer) to refocus on users for Web3 (after all, it is distributed).
"They are not focusing very much on user experience because they are focusing more on experimentation of the technical aspects of it, and seeing what works." - Derick David
Your goal as a designer is to make Web3 easy, welcoming, and disposable for all users. Start with research to understand what are the best social practices, how they use social media, and what are their overall habits. In other words, take the information that users know, and help them use it to adapt to Web3 using design and user experience.
Part of making Web3 easy for users is by translating technical jargon. Let's look at Web3's dictionary:
alt coin, ATH, ATL, bearish, buidl, bullish, cold wallet, DAO, degen, diamond hands, flippening, full node, gwei, light node, mainnet, nocoiner, and much more.
Yeah, I didn't understand most of that.
Developing websites that simplify all that blockchain lingo will attract more users. Design glossaries and icons to help the average user understand and keep the language easy and fun. In my opinion, design is the global language; everyone understands simple graphics and visuals.
Not only can designers make Web3 easy, but they can also make it welcoming. Let's admit that all the privacy and security issues associated with Web 2.0 scare away users and developers. I can safely say that the average user doesn't trust the internet.
So, how can designers ensure cyber security breaches? First, you must give a transparent background on the subject (pun intended). When you type in a URL, you get a pop-up that most people don't read, and you "accept cookies." Almost everyone is new to Web3, so this is an opportunity for designers to lay out an educational tool ensuring safety. For example, use clear, crisp, and concise language (believe me, no one wants to read pages and pages of user agreements); visually communicate to users using their communication habits; only give out the necessary information.
Finally, let's talk about how design can make Web3 disposable to users. It all comes together: the jargon, cyber security issues, and the "how-to" of everything. In other words, if users don't understand what's happening, they'll be discouraged from exploring Web3.
“[Web3 platforms] try to force users into their cult of community and try to force you to speak their language, which is not good for people that don’t know anything about Web3,... It goes against the principles of designing for inclusivity.” - Derick David
This is the time for designers to create clear-cut copy that everyone understands. Start by spelling out acronyms and using visuals. No one likes it when people intimidate with language, and no one will be impressed. The easier it is for a user, the better.
Takeaway: there is a huge opportunity for designers to take on Web3 and make it flow as humanly as possible.