Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Design Thinking for Blockchains (designforblockchain.net)
46 points by umitakcn 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments

Users don't care if the database behind instagram is mysql or couchdb. Users don't care if a site uses php or node.

So why are we telling users they are using blockchain tech? And forcing them to hold their private keys?

Blockchain should be implemented behind the scenes to increase user experience, in a way that improves the overall technology. Until this occurs, we won't see mass adoption of blockchain.

I get the sentiment, but believe you’re missing a big part of a user’s draw to blockchain tech: its novelty.

Designers: don’t let a new tech’s unique place in time be lost. Don’t look down on a technology or its fans based on their current manefestations. This technology will only be new once. It’s okay if early adopters are attracted to the risk. Be honest, but let everyone explore and discover along the way. We are figuring this all out as we go along.

> This technology will only be new once

This technology is decades old, and the fact that you consider it novel indicates that it can actually be new more than once.

That is correct. It is actually all about marketing. For example, there shouldn't be a huge difference between something working intuitively vs using AI/ML. But somehow parading it as something build on AI gives a lot of airtime and credence to an extent.

+1, this is the _only_ correct answer to the crypto- UX dilemma.

A blockchain is an immutable distributed ledger. That's all. If you have a problem for which an immutable distributed ledger is useful, and there's no one you can trust, then a blockchain may help. So far, there are not many of those.

As for programmable applications on a blockchain, see this list of successful "dApps".[1] They're mostly gambling. The top Etherium application is CryptoKitties. The big problem is that any application which relates to the real world needs reliable info from the real world, like "did it get delivered". That means trusting some data source. In which case a blockchain doesn't help much.

Most blockchain applications involve empowering something illegal somewhere. First it was drugs, then it was getting money out of China. The binary options crowd had an ICO, but the system never came up. There's proposed "blockchain FOREX". All gambling, really.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/ethereum/comments/7s81tu/successful...

> One of the most significant obstacles against blockchain and cryptocurrency products from entering daily lives is bad user experiences.

I think the biggest obstacle is the use-case for blockchain. Unfortunately, most of the articles written in favor of blockchain solutions don't cover the why and hows and instead directly go for buzz words like trustless, decentralization etc. Case in point about banks:


So I am really looking forward to a curated list of well-written articles on the use cases for blockchain.

Not a curated list, but I am writing a serialised book on the subject:


My POV: plenty of problems to solve with Blockchain, UX is key and early attempts are very bad

Blockchain is a technology – and as with all technologies, it should be abstracted away from the user. The majority of people don’t care about words such as “trustless” or “decentralization”; those are essentially meaningless. They need tangible benefits such as lower fees. Not sure why people in the cryptocurrency space don’t understand that.

I think people in the crypto currency world understand that pretty well. The problem is that blockchain solutions don’t actually do anything useful yet.

The intention of the better design for products. Products also should be abstracted away from the user?

How is designing for blockchain different from designing for fintech?

“Block-chain needs service design to succeed”... isn’t the whole point of service design that you enter a project without fully knowing what you’re trying to solve and then figure it out a long the way?

I work digitization, so we digitize things, typically. There is a town in Denmark with a design school called Kolding, they did a digitization project with service design, that ended up with a cardboard sheet for citizens to keep track of their case history and a less noisy waiting room because service designed showed them that was what their citizens needed if the goal was to reduce stress in the case working of long term sickness. They didn’t go into this project expecting to do a non digital solution, like expecting something to save blockchain, but that’s what they ended up with through service design. It’s since improved their case working and citizen recovery immensely by the way.

Anyway, I find it interesting that people keep pushing for block chain. The largest municipality in Denmark has run some POCs on it, and even though we’re the public sector where it makes sense to have public records, blockchain aren’t the most efficient way to do it because we need to control the network. We can’t risk a mining farm taking over 51% of the workload and we certainly can’t defend even having a proof of work in a world that’s destroying the climate.

So we’d need to control the nodes anyway, and then it just doesn’t make that much sense. It may make sense for a company like Maersk who can share nodes with partners, but despite sitting on a sector which has a lot of public databases, like the land registry or ownership records, there just isn’t that much of a use for blockchain tech.

Now here's a "blockchain" example which could have been useful, but it's just another "coin" and a lot of hype.[1] The idea is to have a DRM system for assets in virtual worlds, which might be useful if VR ever gets anywhere.

When I heard about this, I thought, "they're going to use this to make assets portable". A game/VR/virtual world asset is basically a file, which has to be decrypted to be useful. It has a creator, who owns the IP rights, and an owner, who owns the copy. Currently, such property is slaved to a single game/VR/virtual world, and the owner can't move it to another one.

Think of a user A wanting to move an encrypted graphical asset created by creator B from Facebook Places to Apple's VR world. Creator B has to approve of portability between the two worlds, and user A has to request the transfer, but Facebook Places has no say, because they don't own the asset.

Now that's what I thought High Fidelity was doing. Nah. It's just another token with a complex backstory that doesn't do much. They're talking about a way for creators to prove ownership. All you need for that is a cryptographic time-stamping service. Those already exist. When you create something, you take the hash of it and get that time-stamped. Now you can show priority. No blockchain needed.

[1] https://blog.highfidelity.com/tagged/blockchain

One of the most significant obstacles against blockchain and cryptocurrency products from entering daily lives is bad user experiences. It is extremely difficult to figure out for someone who isn’t tech-savvy.

This has nothing to do with "blockchain."

It has everything to do with public key cryptography. Managing private keys is a royal pain for ordinary people. Yet every block chain secures its users assets with the same basic technology.

Users detest managing private keys so much so that they'll obligingly turn over their digital assets to bank-like institutions (Mt. Gox and a cavalcade of others who rarely get mentioned). In so doing users undermine the original censorship-resistant value proposition on which legitimate block chains are based.

If you want to make block chains more usable, focus on making public key cryptography more intuitive.

I agree - this is the basis of the issue. Though there's no apparent solution. Using passwords is inherently less secure. What are the other alternatives?

I would suggest a higher contrasting color for the sub titles.

A site about design that uses a blue font on a black background. The irony.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact