From 2017-2018, I have been a UI/UX designer for Ethos, a financial services company and blockchain-based platform. It features the Ethos Universal Wallet, a multi-currency crypto wallet and social platform app on iOS and Android.
Building the Universal Wallet from its earliest pencil sketches to the global app store launch of the MVP was a 9-month process. Throughout this journey, I got to be involved in every step of the product’s design lifecycle, wearing a few different hats along the way.
From its origins, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain-tech industry have gained an intimidating ‘Wild West’ or ‘dark side’ reputation. Today, usability remains a large barrier to mass adoption of crypto, and as a result, the space still services mainly a niche audience of technology enthusiasts.
Few solutions exist for people to easily transact with multiple types of cryptocurrencies, safely manage cryptographic keys, and intuitively access financial services, making entry into the new digital economy daunting to new users.
The goal of our project, the Universal Wallet, was to help design a digital wallet solution for people’s smartphones, to make crypto “open, safe, and fair for everyone.”
The first phase of Universal Wallet designing was my favorite one. Before building any screens digitally, we had many collaborative brainstorming sessions to scope out what a “best crypto portfolio-tracking wallet app” might look like out on paper. A few of the features we realized were missing from many prevailing portfolio trackers at the time were support for multiple different portfolios, transactability of multiple cryptocurrencies from the same wallet, high level portfolio analytics, and social features (community sentiment and ratings). These holes we spotted helped inform the direction we would take with the Ethos Universal Wallet. Pictured on the left was an early sketch I made for Ethos in my math notebook.
Wireframing & Design
Building the bulk of the designs was an iterative process. The UX Team (me and Ellen) first charted out the core skeleton of the app in the form of low-fidelity wireframes on Adobe XD. This was where we fleshed out the main components of the app (Wallet Creation, Wallet Home, Send/Receive, Coin Search, Coin Info, Settings, User Profile), where I heavily focused on Coin Search, Wallet Home, and Coin Info. After weeks of user testing and reviews of these wireframes with our Product Manager to cement the main structure of the app, we proceeded to incrementally refine the look and feel.
Prototyping & User Testing
I conducted ~30 user tests and interviews with members from the Ethos Product Council (209 active Ethos community supporters and early adopters), which helped me spot usability issues throughout the app. Over the months, the UX Team has used several different softwares to wire up clickable prototype to test with.
Final MVP Designs
After fleshing out the final designs of the app in Sketch and Zeplin and providing continuous design support through the development process, the MVP release of the Ethos Universal Wallet was launched for iOS and Android in July 2018.
Post MVP – Present
Post-launch, I had the freedom to explore some work in product management for Ethos, outside of my role as UI/UX designer. This has given me a chance to better understand the new engineering processes, to understand product strategy, and to be more in touch with user demands.
Today, I continue to work on UI/UX improvements of the app, and I’m also now helping draw out a number of new expansions of the app. Exciting new features are underway!