Here at Blocknative we spend a lot of time thinking about Dapp usability. Because usability is key to blockchain catching on and taking hold among the masses. If people have a hard time using something, they won’t. Just like if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it… if a game-changing Dapp has few active users, can it really change the game?
mansplain: verb: (of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.
Chainsplaining starts innocuously enough. Maybe you’re at a cocktail party or a neighborhood gathering, and blockchain happens to bubble up in casual conversation.
Blocknative recently introduced our Assist.js beta to the Ethereum community at ETHDenver 2019.
Over the course of a single weekend we had hundreds of conversations with — and gave hundreds of live demos to — an engaged and enthusiastic community of hackers, learners, and industry leaders all pushing forward to create a blockchain-powered future.
Exactly one year ago, at ETH Denver 2018, the soon-to-be Blocknative team got hooked on blockchain technology. We learned it was powerful. We knew it was complex. And we started to realize it had the long-term potential to change the very fabric of our society. We also knew the learning curve for new users was <understatement> pretty steep.
We’re builders at heart. And experience has shown us that the best way to really learn something new is to start working with it. So we set out in a relatively straightforward direction: creating an ERC721-based crypto-collectible game that would be both fun to play AND teach people how to navigate the basics of blockchain. At a higher level, we felt this game might be one small step toward accelerating the arrival of the block native generation. And, if we’re being honest, we would’ve happily followed in CryptoKitties’ paw prints (sorry, couldn’t resist).
We quickly learned that playing a trading card game by yourself is a lonely experience, so we hopped on video chats to play the game together. But all too often, we found ourselves narrating what was happening while attempting to conduct multiple on-chain transactions. Which, as it turns out, isn’t all that much fun.
The truth is, the game felt like work. And not just busy work. Frustrating and uncertain work.
When we invited our friends to test it out, many wanted to give up during the onboarding phase — over which we had zero control or input. When we played the game, there was essentially no feedback about transaction progress or failure. It wasn’t clear why sometimes things happened quickly, other times they happened slowly, and sometimes nothing happened at all. Etherscan became both our best friend and our nemesis. If you’re part of a dapp team, this is probably a familiar sensation.
Blocknative Bounties at ETHDenver: Make Your Dapp User-Friendly — and Fund Your Adventures While You’re At It
It's clear than new users need help navigating their blockchain journey. And they deserve it too.
Are you getting excited to get BUIDLing at ETHDenver 2019? We are. Because the Blocknative journey all started at ETHDenver 2018. Last year, Blocknative co-founder Ryan Angilly was there and only two words can express how he felt by the end: fired up.
Usability: The ease of use and learnability of a human-made object such as a tool or device. In software engineering, usability is the degree to which a software can be used by specified consumers to achieve quantified objectives with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a quantified context of use. Source: Wikipedia
Also known as: Blockchain’s gajillion dollar question. Potentially its Achilles’ heel. And maybe one of 2019’s great unknowns.