More than five billion people are on the internet – 21% of which say they’ve invested in crypto – and they’re rapidly shifting to smartphones to replace their desktop counterparts.
Yet, despite how common mobile devices are and how clearly important it is, many Web 3.0 DApps and websites have failed to take measures to improve mobile experiences and functionality.
People like to talk about where the next billion users will come from in crypto. One thing is for sure – they will not be coming to crypto unless the industry rapidly improves the mobile UX experience.
Learning from Web 2.0
Mobile usage has been on an upward trend for a long time, and there’s no way the trend will reverse. As much as we like to lambast Web 2.0 for being archaic, they have gotten things right regarding mobile user experience.
Even back In 2015, when mobile traffic was at just 31%, Web 2.0 companies recognized how critical it was to attract mobile users and get their sites responsive. Seven years later, and mobile now accounts for 60.7% of all website traffic. The same companies that prioritized a frictionless mobile experience back then are the ones reaping the rewards today. One could say that crypto is in that stage today.
Interestingly, the shift to mobile and the adoption of crypto are rising at the same time. In 2018, only eight percent of Americans owned crypto before climbing to 14.4% in 2019 and 23.16% in 2021.
Yet, Web 3.0 has notoriously come up short in delivering a good mobile experience. This study from the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia analyzed 45,821 app reviews of the top five mobile crypto wallets and identified that among 6,859 reviews of the user experience with those wallets, both new and experienced users struggled with general and domain-specific UX issues that, aside from frustration and disengagement, might lead to dangerous errors and irreversible monetary losses.
The stakes become much higher when there is money involved. Combine that with a nascent technology and infamously bad onboarding process, and crypto entrepreneurs are playing with a small margin of error.
Online merchants, and subsequently crypto brands, are forfeiting not just a lot of money if they fail to optimize for mobile – but also a lot of brand equity and trust.
Mobile UX isn’t just about creating a better user experience – it’s about building a trustworthy reputation and high user/customer retention. Users will take the path of least resistance. You might feel you have a great product that will change the world, but if utilizing that product is filled with hurdles, you will get beat out by a brand with an inferior product and a better experience.
In short, improving mobile UX leads to happier customers with fewer complaints, higher benefits and more trust.
Applying the principles of good UX design
Web 2.0 applications have mastered the art of a frictionless onboarding journey. Typically, when setting up an account, only a single digital form is required, and it can be completed in a couple of minutes. If it’s a banking or fintech app, users can usually transfer money seamlessly and confidently.
In contrast, Web 3.0 DApps are cumbersome to navigate if you don’t have a technical understanding or the patience – two enormous and unrealistic expectations being thrust on users. Oftentimes, setting up an account and sending crypto leaves users anxious and uncertain.
If Web 3.0 wants to realize its full potential and revolutionize the world, then the user journey must be fixed so that users receive a similar or even better experience than their Web 2.0 counterparts.
To improve the mobile UX experience, designers must focus on navigation, personalization, usability and clean design principles.
Users must be able to navigate naturally throughout the process, with one action leading to the next in a way that is personal or relevant to them, keeping any unrelated content away.
Users want a clean experience free of the clutter that complicates and distracts from the process. The information should be well organized and allow users to scroll through important information quickly and with confidence.
Because people are more exposed to visual content than ever before, the copy you put in front of them needs to be compelling. Brands have a couple of seconds, if that, to capture their users’ attention. This is also why using visuals is crucial.
There’s a famous Steve Jobs quote that reads, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” This should always be kept in mind when designing the mobile experience.
Equally important, especially for financial services, is the flow of information. Because of the inherent complexity of crypto, it’s critical to have a flow of information that is both smooth and simple. This gradual structure is an easy way to onboard users without overwhelming them.
Lastly, designers can use the power of color to captivate and elicit positive emotions from users. Surprisingly, 60% of people decide whether they’re attracted to a product or messaging based on color alone. Color also increases brand recognition by upwards of 80%, making this one of the most important yet overlooked aspects of design.
The future is frictionless
While there are significant improvements that need to be made in the mobile Web 3.0 experience, it’s worth noting that the entire industry recognizes this underlying problem and is working to fix it.
As the nascent crypto industry continues to grow, Web 2.0 talent will make the shift to Web 3.0 and work through these problems by applying their legacy knowledge. These Web 2.0 developers will bring over 20 years of experience working on UX and should make a significant impact.
As we hear so much during these bear markets, now is the time to build. The good news is that the playbook, talent and self-awareness is out there to improve UX design in Web 3.0. And what better time than now to do it?
Simon Yu, CEO and co-founder of StormX, is a crypto and e-commerce expert. He previously worked as a financial analyst intern for Amazon and senior credit risk analyst for KeyBank. After graduating from the University of Washington in 2014, he participated in a Berkley Blockchain Xcelerator held by the University of California in 2020.

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