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Breaking barriers: Improving Web3 user experience to unblock adoption

Heather McCloskey
July 12, 2023

While Web3 has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years, it’s clear that we are yet to fully unlock its transformative potential. Despite its promises of enhanced ownership, transparency, and community-driven solutions, there are significant hurdles that need to be overcome before these benefits become widely accessible.

One of the major obstacles to broader adoption? Web3 has a serious user experience problem. To keep this Web3 train chugging along and get more people on board, us builders need to take on the challenges that make users hesitant about not just Web3 products, but the premise of Web3 as a whole. From unnecessary complexity, to friction-fraught onboarding, to sub-par trust and safety protections, to convoluted discovery experiences – there’s a lot of room for improvement to Web3 user experiences.

Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest roadblocks and discuss solutions for builders.

How Web3 user experience impacts adoption

While user experience is only part of the puzzle of driving broader adoption of Web3 products, it’s a rather significant piece. 

There are a few thematic challenges to examine: 

  • Complexity 
  • Safety
  • Enjoyment / value

It is no secret that Web3 has gained popularity as the rebellious younger sibling of the traditional web. While we get to enjoy decentralization, transparency, and other benefits, the space is still shrouded with hard to understand concepts and buzzwords. 

Picture this: you’re new to Web3 and excited to explore all the possibilities it offers. You’re eager to know more about things like decentralizated applications or maybe even own a funky virtual pet (yep, that’s a thing!). But as you dig deeper, you realize that there is a whole glossary of concepts that you have to learn before you can dive in comfortably. Words like “gas fees”, “GWEI”, and “Layer 2” start getting thrown around, leaving you feeling lost. 

As builders, we need to take steps to make the experience simpler and break down the technical walls that are gatekeeping the ecosystem.

Top 3 considerations for builders 

Current challenges in Web3 can only be solved if everyone comes together to look deeper into the broader Web3 user experience (especially for newbies) and attempt to come up with impactful solutions. Here are some of the considerations that need to be addressed to fix Web3’s user experience problem. 

Minimize the Web3 learning curve 

The Web3 ecosystem is deeply reliant on tools like wallets and cryptocurrencies. The process of purchasing crypto and setting up wallets can be challenging for new users. Users also need to have clear educational resources to adopt new tools, and to enable them to interact safely.

Non-technical users may struggle with the learning curve involved in understanding the technology, and there is a severe lack of resources that can help them learn and troubleshoot. The decentralized nature of Web3 also adds to this challenge because there is no centralized authority to troubleshoot challenges or provide answers.  

This is why builders need to make an effort to minimize the learning curve and focus on ease of use while designing products. Here are a few ways they can do that:

  • Allowing Fiat purchases: Cryptocurrency is a new concept for many people. Web3 can overcome this by making broader efforts to onboard users that want to use fiat currencies, or who do not yet know how to navigate cryptocurrencies. Companies like Paper have already provided great examples by allowing users to make purchases using USD and popular payment tools like Apple Pay, Gpay, and credit cards. 
  • Providing onboarding tutorials and documentation: Providing comprehensive onboarding tutorials and documentation is crucial to helping new users grasp the fundamentals of Web3. By explaining key concepts, terminology, and guiding users on how to interact with decentralized applications, developers can effectively bridge the knowledge gap.
  • Sharing educational resources: Educating users about the underlying technologies and concepts of Web3 is vital for their long-term engagement. By offering easily accessible learning resources, developers can empower users to understand the benefits and use cases of decentralized systems. This knowledge enables users to make informed decisions and actively participate in the Web3 space.

Putting in the effort to educate audiences and streamline onboarding is an essential step to making Web3 accessible to more people. These efforts will also go a long way in helping users understand the underlying benefits of the technology. 

Protect users from spam and scams

First impressions matter, and unfortunately, widely publicized rug pulls and other Web3 scams have left many potential users with a feeling of distrust. 

Web3 scams 

According to a recent report by bounty provider Immunefi, more than$3.9 billion in crypto funds were lost across the Web3 ecosystem as a result of scams and hacks. Thousands of people were affected by these scams, and yet more (rightfully) became skeptical of crypto as news of these scams became public. 

In a broader context, trust in the space has been damaged significantly. The space as a whole has come under strong criticism as critics have used these events to undermine progress. Even though these events are serious, the first step towards improvement is to recognize the need to take adequate measures. 

We need to integrate scam prevention, detection, and support systems to protect users at every stage of their journey. Creating such systems is no small task – and will ultimately require collaborative efforts across the ecosystem to solve for. 

Our experience has demonstrated that having a reliable way to detect and monitor bad actors on your platform may be a good starting point for improving scam protections within your product. Mnemonic’s ML-powered predictive behavior categories enable you to instantly identify wallets that are bad actors so you can mitigate risk on your platform.

Spam NFTs

Off-chain spam is just the tip of the iceberg. Bots and spam posts have become notoriously synonymous with Web3. Just a single Twitter search for any crypto or NFT tag can show you the extent of spam activity that is being generated on a daily basis off-chain. 

Meanwhile, on-chain spam is an increasingly significant issue. New protocols and other developments make creating NFTs more accessible and affordable every day. While this is a great improvement for the industry as a whole, it also means that its increasingly easy for bad actors to create and distribute spam NFTs. To paint a picture of just how significant the spam problem is, as of April 2023, there were nearly 70 million spam NFTs total on Ethereum and Polygon and nearly 100k spam collections.

The sheer volume of on-chain spam can have a catastrophic effect on user experience.  Aside from the potential of being scammed, the sheer volume of spam out there can make it difficult for users to organically explore content without manually sifting through spam.

While spam itself will never be entirely eradicated, there are ways we can actively help users navigate around it, keeping them safe while protecting the quality and credibility of your user experience. Mnemonic’s NFT spam detection capabilities, for example, can help you remove spammy NFTs from your experience entirely, or help users steer clear from potential danger by labeling spammy NFTs. 

Provide more personalized content and experiences

Users bridging over to explore what Web3 has to offer for the first time are used to highly-personalized Web2 products powered by algorithms that tailor their experiences and content based on their history and preferences. Web2 platforms whether they are social media, shopping, or search have been built to surface the most relevant content for users. This sets a high bar around personalization for users that are entering Web3. 

Privacy and decentralization are foundational to Web3, so bringing sophisticated personalization to Web3 requires an entirely new approach, and at present, most Web3 products simply don’t measure up on this front. 

As a result, users exploring Web3 still have to work to search for and discover collections and communities that are relevant to their interests. Having to search for what interests them puts a burden on users and in a way takes out a bit of magic from the experience. What does this mean for our products? Poor adoption and retention amongst Web3 newbies, and less engagement overall. I mean if I don’t see things that I’m interested in, why would I keep coming back to explore? 

Improving personalization and making Web3 products more intuitive will have a significant impact on Web3 adoption and retention. Mnemonic’s rich insights enable you to deeply understand your users, and our APIs empower you to create more personalized experiences for them.

We are currently developing more capabilities to enable personalized content and experiences in Web3 products –  If personalization is top of mind for your team right now, we would love to chat with you about some of your challenges and goals.

How to offer a better Web3 user experience to increase adoption

While the Web3 ecosystem has massive potential as the next generation of the internet, we can’t reach that potential until we put users’ needs at the core of what we do.

To summarize, here are the steps we can take as a community to make it a more welcoming experience:

  • Minimize the learning curve
  • Improve trust and safety  
  • Tailor experiences to users 

But, it can be challenging to come up with plans to address all of these factors. 

That’s where Mnemonic can help! Want to know more about how Mnemonic can improve your user experience? Set up a time with our team, or just simply start exploring our APIs with a free Mnemonic API key.

Together, we can build a safer and more delightful Web3 for all!