Web 3.0 Does Have UI/UX Problems

Web 3.0’s UI/UX problem poses an existential crisis to its ecosystem. Can it be solved?

A giant man working on his computer in metaverse while two man watch.

Web 3.0’s UI/UX has been a source of concern to many crypto natives for years now. User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) in this context are the features that determine how satisfied users are with the apps they use. 

In contrast to Web 3.0 dApps, Web 2.0 companies like Google, Alphabet, and Microsoft spend millions of dollars yearly on their UI/UX. These companies have reaped the rewards of their investment because they now provide a smooth user experience through their apps. 

Sponsored

However, the opposite is the case for Web 3.0 dApps. The user experience for dApps in Web 3.0 isn’t smooth at all, and people have been complaining. For example, some users (like in the tweet below) have complained about how difficult it is to use Metamask. 

Here is another tweet talking about the same problem. Remember that Metamask is as important as dApps get, and yet it still has so many UI/UX challenges. 

This isn’t a problem unique to Metamask. It’s an issue that almost all Web 3.0-based applications share. Here is another example of someone complaining about it. 

While these applications might be useful, users simply don’t find them easy to use. And because of that, users will avoid using them. 

Sponsored

Founders may believe that potential users will brave the user experience of their apps to get access to the functionalities on them. The truth is market trends, and consumer behavior simply do not justify this belief. 

Crypto natives have to face the fact that Web 3.0 has a UI/UX problem, and the longer it goes unsolved, the harder it will be to sell Web 3.0 to the market. 

However,  the first step to solving this problem is to understand why it’s even a problem at all. 

Source: Twitter

There are several factors affecting the UI/UX of Web 3.0 dApps. Some of these factors are based on interface design decisions, while others are a bit more infrastructural. Here is a rundown of some of the reasons.

Founders Are Usually More Focused on Building Tech, Not User Experience

The idea behind the third generation of the internet is institutional disruption. Founders go into the ecosystem trying to build new things with new tools.  Hence, the focus of these founders and developers is on the underlying tech and what it can do. They believe that the novelty of their solutions is the point and that it will absolve them of every other oversight. 

This results in a situation where founders are building powerful and important tools that are simply unusable. 

DeFi, for example, is an important part of crypto. However, to properly use a DeFi dApp like Chainlink, users have to have a lot of residual knowledge about crypto already. This is in stark contrast to a Web 2.0 app, where users can just download the app and learn how to use it on the go. The reason is simple; the user experience of Metamask just isn’t intuitive. 

The Tech Barrier in Web 3.0

The tech barrier to Web 3.0 as an ecosystem is currently quite high. Hence, founders believe that people who venture into Web 3.0 already have some institutional knowledge and as such, will be comfortable with any UI/UX challenges they may face. 

Unfortunately, this creates a situation where Web 3.0 is a playground for professionals, not amateurs. Of course, in the final analysis, this sort of attitude towards developing dApps will discourage mainstream adoption. 

The assumption that drives this behavior is the belief that people will adapt to Web 3.0 no matter what. Founders may believe that the transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 is inevitable, and because of that, they needn’t try to win over mainstream users. The belief is that these users will come anyway. However, that assumption might be misguided. 

The future of Web 3.0 isn’t written in stone. And as many already suggest, it may soon fade off like a fad. If founders and developers don’t find a way to sell their tools to regular people, we may refer to Web 3.0 as merely another dot-com bubble. Therefore the belief in the inevitability of consumer adoption of Web 3.0 tools is misguided, at the very least. 

A Lack of UI/UX Specialists in the Ecosystem

Yet another problem with building usable UX/UI in Web 3.0 is who’s doing the building. Most dApps are built by small startup teams that usually have very little capital to waste. 

This means that they usually hire generalists instead of specialists. Thus, instead of hiring a prolific UI/UX designer, these startups may choose to hire an engineer who does UI/UX on the side. This can have a lot of impact on the quality of the user interface and experience that users eventually have to deal with. 

The Nature of Web 3.0 Itself

One might argue that the biggest advantage of Web 3.0 is how it challenges accepted norms. The innovations in the ecosystem are teaching people how to think differently about things like centralization, data, and even profit. The existence of the ecosystem is simply revolutionary. 

However, revolutionary thinking isn’t always so useful. Founders and developers who believe that their work is revolutionary may believe that it gives them the right to break UI/UX rules. They may also believe that Web 3.0 could revolutionize the very idea of user experience and interface. 

Those beliefs may simply be founded on faith, not evidence. Web 3.0 may revolutionize the internet, but it is unlikely to revolutionize how people choose to interact with the internet. 

Asides from that, the engineering peculiarities of Web 3.0 makes a smooth user experience nearly impossible. 

In Web 2.0, users are dealing with one entity that owns all the relevant data, and is connected to a larger centralized entity. This makes things a little bit direct and straightforward. The opposite is the case with Web 3.0, where users are trusted to keep their own data safe and can be interacting with multiple sovereign entities at the same time.

How Does Bad UI/UX Affect Web 3.0?

Why Is Web 3.0’s UI/UX Bad?

Source: Twitter

Some people might think the problem with Web 3.0’s UI/UX is a nothing burger. But it’s not, and the evidence suggests that this problem is a huge part of slowing adoption rates in Web 3.0. 

The first thing to understand is that investment in UI/UX is profoundly important. The success of a business or solution doesn’t only depend on its efficiency. It also depends on how impeccable the business is from the customer’s point of view. 

The difference between those two concepts can be the difference between a thriving and failing business. A good example of how this difference plays out is the competition between Facebook and MySpace. 

MySpace got into the social media networking scene a whole year before Facebook did. The website reached a million users faster than Facebook, and all things considered, was poised to be the social media juggernaut of our age. 

However, a little over five years down the line, Facebook dashed that dream. While there are a lot of factors that led to Facebook’s success and MySpace’s failure, it’s impossible to deny that one of them was Facebook’s superior user experience. Facebook simply cultivated a superior user experience for its users, and that eventually led to MySpace’s failure. 

According to a report by Forrester, the ROI on UX investment is around 9,000%. This means every dollar not spent on optimizing user experience is a massive loss for the business as a whole. 

However, that’s not all. According to Intechnic, improving user experience can raise KPIs by over 80%. The same source reports that an excellent user interface can increase a website’s conversion rate by 200%. Asides from that, 70% of online businesses fail because of bad user experience and interface design. 

There’s a lot of talk in the Web 3.0 ecosystem about driving high adoption rates in the market. However, the buggy nature of Web 3.0’s UI/UX simply means those high adoption rates are still a fairytale.

If Web 3.0 doesn’t fix its user experience, it will eventually fade away — just like 70% of online businesses with bad user experience. 

Thankfully, this isn’t inevitable. Web 3.0 can be saved, but it will take some effort.

How to Save Web 3.0

At the beginning of the internet, all online applications had bad user experiences. It sometimes took minutes for pages to load, and many websites started as just walls of text and pictures. 

Due to this, and many other factors, Web 1.0 wasn’t the biggest thing in the world. People didn’t abandon physical businesses because a digital alternative existed. They only started to abandon physical businesses for online ones when website functionalities increased. 

As user experience improved, the internet grew. And with better user experience came even better innovation. It was almost like this circle of improvement. As apps got better UI/UX, more people used them. And as people used them, the developers were able to use that feedback and data to create even better UI/UX. 

This could be the path that Web 3.0 takes. However, for the ecosystem to take this path, a few things need to change. 

First of all, founders and developers need to see user experience as a vital part of their product. UI/UX design needs to be prioritized by developers, and it needs to be handed over to specialists, not generalists. 

Secondly, founders and developers need to come to the understanding that user experience doesn’t need to be revolutionary to work. Sure, Web 3.0 in itself is disruptive, but its UI/UX model doesn’t need to be. 

However, it would be wrong to assume that Web 3.0’s UI/UX issues are just limited to design decisions. While good design choices can alleviate some of these problems, other more fundamental problems just can’t be solved by better design. 

For example, how do developers create a reasonably scam-free environment for people in DeFi? How can they make it easier for people to transact on different chains without going through the hassle of exchanges and bridges? How can designers make adding a network to a Metamask wallet a one-button action? 

These are all issues that are intrinsic to the way Web 3.0 works at the moment. They aren’t designing problems — they are engineering problems. Unfortunately, there’s the belief that this is the cost to pay for participating in Web 3.0. The truth is that very few people are willing to pay that cost. 

That’s why an important part of solving Web 3.0’s UI/UX problem would be to solve these engineering issues. It won’t be easy, and it may take years of very hard work. But every stakeholder in Web 3.0 needs to understand that solving it is an important part of the Web 3.0 ecosystem going mainstream.

On the Flipside

  • There’s no guarantee that the underlying engineering problems creating bad user experience for Web 3.0 can be solved. These problems, like the difficulties with security, connecting dApps across chains, and completing transactions, may be an unavoidable part of Web 3.0.

Why You Should Care

Web 3.0’s UI/UX problem is an existential threat to Web 3.0 mainstream adoption. If these problems aren’t solved, it may be impossible for people to adopt Web 3.0 as they’ve adopted Web 2.0.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Victor Fabusola

Victor Fabusola is a Blockchain & Crypto Content Writer. He excels in crafting long-form educational guides, opinion pieces, and reviews in niches such as DeFi, NFTs, and Web 3.0. Outside of his work at DailyCoin, he loves conscious hip-hop and classical music and engaging in intellectually stimulating conversations with his friends.