Posted on December 2, 2018
Bringing Better User Experience to Blockchain – The Point of View of a Game Designer.
SKRT is the official virtual currency of the videogame and universe of Skara. You can trade SKRT on Mercatox!
As an interface designer by trade, one of the things that shocked me when I started interacting with the blockchain was User Experience. Necessary plugins like MetaMask, gas prices, failed tokens transfers, complex use flows… It was a designer’s nightmare! It took a while for me to get used to the entire system, with the added complexity of a rapidly changing environment, since this is a technology that constantly evolves and gets better.
When we launched our successful ICO back in February 2018, User Experience for our contributors was on the top position of my priority list. On most of the previous ICO’s the process was dark and insecure — driving to a lot of scammers trying to fish uncautious investors — so we tried a different approach using our website and the token sale smart contract to buy, claim and distribute the tokens to all the potential holders — a list that would include investors, advisors, team and bounty program members.
All the interactions with the ICO were handled by the smart contract, whether for tokens purchases, vesting and token claim. Each contributor’s tokens were linked to their preferred wallet, so anyone could claim them but the tokens will only end on that specific wallet address. This process was way more secure than manually sending the tokens from our wallet to the contributor’s wallet. The vesting schedule was clear, tokens could be claimed from our own website and the process took only a couple of minutes.
We were really happy with this flow, tested it over and over, and thought that everything was going to run smooth.
Turns out we were wrong: we encountered a big resistance from some contributors and bounty members. They were so used to the old manual system that they didn’t understand why they should install MetaMask and interact with a smart contract if we could just send them the tokens they paid for!
The conversations were always similar (language was also a barrier):
“ — Don’t want smart contract. Just send tokens to wallet.”
“ — But… That is what blockchain is all about!”
“ — Just send me tokens. No MetaMask. Only MEW.”
“ — Don’t worry, I can claim the tokens for you.”
“ — No. I need tokens on my MEW. You scammer.”
When we completed the process for them they suddenly understood it. But, as any designer should know, that needs to happen before. It was time to get back to the drawing board and prepare the future User Experience flow for our upcoming Dapp — the tool we were working on that allows players and investors to send their tokens from a wallet to the Skara ecosystem.
First thing we noticed after many conversations: MetaMask should go out of the equation. We found a huge resistance from new users to try and install it. Even if really popular blockchain games such as CryptoKitties use MetaMask, the adoption curve is not big enough, just yet. It didn’t work on mobile either. We needed to find another way.
Back in the conversations with the Design and the Code teams, I always used the same analogy: The first time you try Netflix you get blown by how simple is to register and access the huge database of movies and series. It was nice, simple, well designed, beauty… Coinbase has a great User Experience flow. Kraken has a terrible one. We knew what we wanted and how we wanted it.
Why is this so important? We always said that one of our advantages is that we already have a working product — the game on Steam — and a user base. This, combined with the contributors and investors interested in crypto, give the SKRT’s a solid chance of thrive on a crowded market. But if we want our players to buy the tokens on the open market we need to build a solid, secure system that is understandable and easy to use, since thay may have no previous experience on the blockchain.
After months of hard work we have the first step of the Skara’s integration on the blockchain almost ready to hit Steam. Players will be able to easily create a wallet, buy tokens and transfer them to the game in just a couple of steps. This is huge and a real revolution that can work on any platform thanks to the blockchain — whether it is on Steam or any other PC publisher, mobile, or console.
If you are a Skara Token holder, there are many reasons to be happy right now. If you are not… what are you waiting for? Go to Mercatox and buy some!
Pablo Rodríguez, CEO and Creative Director of Skara.