The Current State of Kadet Wallet and an Overview of Kadet Wallet Apprenticeship Phase 2
Written by Ry Kron, Sara Finnegan, and Morgan Denner
Ry Kron was on the UX Research team for the Kadet Wallet phase 1 apprenticeship and will be UX Research lead for phase 2; Sara Finnegan was a Development apprentice for Kadet Wallet phase 1 and will be a lead developer in phase 2; Morgan Denner is founder of Tech Fleet and will operate as a project lead for Kadet Wallet phase 2.
IT’S ALIVE (almost).
After eight weeks of hard work and tackling big challenges both technical and interpersonal, the Kadet Wallet team recently completed the first phase of work on a new cross-chain crypto wallet browser extension built on the Kadena blockchain.
Working as a cross-functional team of researchers, designers, product strategists, and developers in an Agile environment, the team delivered a nearly complete MVP prototype over the course of eight week-long sprints.
In this article, we’d like to provide a brief overview of the work the team has done thus far, what they learned from the experience, and what’s next for Phase 2 of the Kadet Wallet project.
Background & Vision
In June 2022, Tech Fleet Community DAO set out to create a new cross-chain crypto wallet extension built on the Kadena blockchain and forked from the open source MetaMask application. Seeing a usability gap in the market, Tech Fleet aimed to make it as easy as possible for crypto newcomers and enthusiasts alike to utilize the blockchain — which sounds much easier to do in theory than it is in practice!
Sending or receiving tokens on blockchains requires knowledge of how each blockchain works, and every blockchain is different. On some blockchains, like Kadena, a user has to take very specific actions to complete a transaction, and even a small user error (like sending to a non k:account) can lead to lost currency.
Tech Fleet created a baseline prototype to further illustrate their vision of a simplified, user-friendly wallet experience that the team used as a starting point during phase 1 of the project. To learn more about the original vision for Kadet Wallet and see how it’s evolved since then, check out this post.
Kadet Wallet Clickable Prototypes In Action
Wonder what Kadet’s like? Didn’t get a chance to see it during our user tests for phase 1? Have no fear! Click on each link below to see an interactive prototype that allows you to click-through and witness the experience of Kadet Wallet.
Create an account
Kadet token wallet and importing tokens
Send token flow
View TX history
What the Team Learned in Phase 1
Competitive analysis & empathy mapping
During phase one’s eight weeks, the team deeply researched the market and their target users, starting with a comprehensive competitive analysis. The team chose to focus primarily on MetaMask since the code would be forked from that app.
From this analysis, the team learned that users preferred MetaMask’s simple, easy to understand UI, and that they found many of its competitors overwhelming or difficult to use. Many of the competitors also had a steep learning curve for new users. To better put themselves in those users’ shows, the team chose to place their insights into empathy maps.
Prototype V1 Usability Testing & User Interviews
Based on these insights, the research and design teams worked together to modify the existing prototype into a lower fidelity status and began testing its core flows with crypto users in a combination of moderated and unmoderated user tests.
Testing revealed a few problems with the base prototype:
- The dashboard screen was confusing to users
- The transaction summary screen was overwhelming
- The transfer asset flow had multiple pain points: the amount percentage selections; a lack of custom percentage amounts; and knowing who a user was sending assets to
Variations in user experience
Testing and user interviews additionally revealed differences in the needs and expectations of users based on their background in crypto generally and with Kadena in particular.
- Users who were completely new to crypto found the experience confusing and overwhelming due to jargon and unfamiliar design patterns
- Users who had prior experience with other blockchains, like Ethereum, were easily able to navigate and understand Kadet but found the idiosyncrasies of Kadena confusing
- Users with Kadena experience appreciated the error prevention features but wanted more advanced features
The design team got right to work addressing these issues in the next version of the prototype, while also putting together the wallet’s branding and visual style.
Visual Design & Prototype V2 Testing
While the research team worked on formulating their plan for testing the next version of the prototype, the design team took on the challenge of creating a whole new brand and visual design for Kadet Wallet. After trying several different variations, the designers eventually settled on a light and dark mode color scheme for the app with a splash of accent colors to differentiate Kadet from its competitors while still fitting within the market.
In addition to implementing the fixes and improvements gleaned from research, the designers also added in flows for creating or importing an existing wallet and applied the new visual design to the entire prototype.
With the revisions, a new visual design, and several new feature flows in place, the research team began their second round of testing and interviews — this time with experienced Kadena users — focused on testing the create/import wallet flow, testing user impressions of the dashboard, and preference testing the visual design.
Again, testing revealed a few problems with the new prototype:
- Every participant had difficulty confirming their Secret Recovery Phrase; they didn’t pay attention to the order of the words so they had trouble re-entering the phrase to confirm it
- Almost no one liked the visual design; they found the colors to be too much, specifically the gradients used throughout the design
- Users overwhelmingly preferred the dark mode design over the light mode, but still wanted to see changes made to the colors
User interviews focused on the overall Kadena experience revealed:
- A majority of users learned about Kadena from someone who was already active in the Kadena community, then got more information from places like YouTube and Medium
- Users found the onboarding experience into Kadena difficult and confusing, specifically its multi-chain infrastructure
Final prototype preparation
In the final two weeks of phase one, the teams put their heads down to create the final prototype. In an impressive show of determination, the design team revamped the visual design and created and implemented several new features, including:
- Transaction history
- NFT support
- Send token flow
Due to the amount of work required, the team ran out of time to test any of the revisions and new features, but they ended the project with detailed recommendations for where phase 2 can pick up the work and for further areas to research and test.
Over 8 weeks, the team spent a large portion of time and effort in understanding the ins and outs of crypto, blockchain, and how users interact with different platforms. Research into direct and indirect competitors for Kadet Wallet were done. Research was centralized on user interface, the services provided, and varying technical features in how different wallets traverse the blockchain (i.e. compatibility with different tokens, cold/hot wallet, gas stations, holding NFTs, etc.) This allowed the team to find not only what the industry standard is for crypto wallets, but also where the gaps were for user accessibility and usability for certain features. This allowed the team to propose a brand identity and a target audience. The goal for Kadet Wallet is to be accessible and understandable to total newcomers and have features that surprise and excite experienced crypto users alike.
The research team went through two phases of research. The objective was to gain an understanding of what the gaps were in usability of crypto wallet apps and what users were looking for. There was particular interest to those new to crypto wallets, so to find out how to make a simpler, more cohesive process. For phase 1, the objectives were the following:
- Identify problems and frustrations users have when utilizing the blockchain
- Identify the most common errors/problems users encounter when sending/receiving tokens
- Determine if there are specific blockchain problems we need to address in our solution (ex: multiple chains on Kadena, entering memos when sending from Stellar, etc)
- Identify feature and usability gaps and opportunities among our competitors
- Assess the general knowledge level of users about crypto and blockchains
The second phase of research was for the purpose of gaining insight from experienced Kadena users about how the initial prototype worked for them, where the shortcomings were, and what features would greatly improve user experience if added.
During the eight weeks, the product team did comparisons across the crypto industry’s top wallets. The team looked at the functionality of core features and softwares, as well as user interface feedback from layout, navigation and the visual design. After analyzing the discrepancies between these, the team was able to finalize the following to incorporate in the Kadet Wallet:
- Importing a token onto the wallet UI to show new token balances and send new tokens
- Sending a token from one wallet to another wallet on Kadena (any single chain)
- Kadena Testnet functionality (receiving testnet tokens and adding new testnet wallets)
- Import existing K address and non-K address to wallet
The design team created several prototypes over the eight week period. Ranging from logo, iconography, UI, and color scheme, there were a multitude of directions the design team looked at, designed, and compared. Layout for mobile service as well as laptop/desktop were analyzed. Ultimately, with the branding Kadet Wallet is striving for, the design team came up with the following for Kadet Wallet in its first phase of development:
The development team spent the greater part of the eight weeks in researching the different languages the Kadet Wallet should be coded in, as well as learning how to code in them. The team decided that coding in pact will lead to the most seamless addition of Kadet Wallet on the Kadena platform. They also spent time researching forking techniques from other crypto wallets, and searching for bugs in code to be forked. Code forking from metamask will most certainly be used in phase 2, and as such much bug research was done on that code. A handful of bugs were found, all of low severity to the envisioned final product.
High Priority Items for Kadet Wallet Apprenticeship Phase 2
- Get Kadet web extension developed and launch Beta
- Continue building and testing wallet features to be as intuitive as possible
- Create and test an onboarding flow for new Kadena users in Kadet Wallet
- Define how Kadet Wallet will generate revenue (dex aggregator, fiat-to-crypto, etc.) and design the experience for future phases of work
- Finish defining the branding of Kadet
- Build the information website for Kadet
- Build out the Testnet faucet functionality within Kadet
For the second phase of Kadet Wallet, the design and development teams will be deep in hands-on work. The design team will be working on the creation of the product team’s functionalities. They will have to make sure that the products developed work in a way that coincides and reinforces the branding and target audience for the app. The development team will be working on forking code for smart contracts and tying the product seamlessly into the blockchain space, to make the products viable and bring the design of it to life.
Research and product will have to take account of how users respond to the developed product by design and development, and will also have to take account of how design and development interpreted certain facets. As such, they’ll be doing a lot of regrouping, rethinking, and responding to the needs of both the users and design and development.
For Kadet Wallet to reach its full potential, the teams need to communicate effectively and clearly about their findings, ideas, and interpretations of each other’s work. As such, phase two will work smoother than phase one, as most of the leads have all worked together in phase one and have an understanding of one another’s styles and communication tactics. A stronger team mentality and a clearer image of what work needs to be done will make phase two seem much busier, as the work is outlined that needs to get done, and the framework for how to do it is built.