Last week the official Ethereum Twitter page announced that ethereum.org had been completely recreated by the community. Whilst I was looking at the website alongside the responses to the tweet above, I thought it would make an interesting article with Ethereum receiving plenty of backlash.
First of all I think you have to give credit to a community that creates a product for the wider team as the creation of this website and the content within the pages will have been created on little to no funding. When a bunch of volunteers get together to build something off their own back, you have to respect that. However, I’m well aware this doesn’t give immunity from improving the user experience (UX).
Ethereum released a blog to put the websites release into context which I thought was a good way to explain to users exactly what the purpose of this website was and how it should be used. What stood out to me was the opening status of the blog:
I’m glad to see from a UX perspective that the team have realised that continuous improvements are important and they won’t just be releasing the website and abandoning it. You can read the full article from the Ethereum blog here.
Principle 1 – Ethereum.org is a portal to community-built resources
The first thing I want to discuss comes from the blog rather than the website itself. As I mentioned earlier, the blog addresses the purpose of the website and one of the objectives is for the site to be used as a hub of community-built content and resources.
I think that the community have done a good job of creating this portal including a variety of links to a wide range of resources. I seen people complain that the web links are not what they would like to see but I think this approach has been thought about carefully. Could you imagine how complex, overwhelming and difficult it would be to navigate through this website with the amount of content from each resource being printed directly onto the web pages. It would be very cluttered and untidy which is why I think the web links serve a purpose. As the statement above from the blog states, the “purpose is to be a portal to those resources, not a substitute for them”. It gives the user the option to only click and view the content that they really need which I think is a well organised approach and a good practice of UX.
The website design
First impressions are everything and when I first visited the newly designed website I originally thought I was on the wrong website or maybe the styling hadn’t loaded properly in my browser. As I inspected the code I realised this wasn’t the case. This was the theme that the community had chosen. I genuinely felt like I had gone back 15–20 years in time.
Reflecting on the design, I can see the reasoning behind it. To give Ethereum that developer/decentralised vibe. However, I personally don’t think it was the correct approach to take. This website is clearly aimed at people who want to learn more about Ethereum and predominantly, it’s going to attract a lot of beginners. The community are well aware of this as there is a designated page for beginners. If I’m a beginner and see this website, I don’t see it as very welcoming or inviting unless I’m a developer.
I feel that a unique style, colour or brand is how a user will remember a project. This design is not what you want beginners to remember the platform as. It comes across as very boring and plain and that’s why I want to address the following statement from the blog.
I understand the reasoning behind this statement but I feel that just because a website has a unique style or brand doesn’t mean that you are trying to sell the user something. I understand that the website is aiming to on-board new developers but as an outsider with no technical background, this isn’t a community or a website that is very engaging or welcoming to take my first steps in crypto.
The content of the website
Putting the styling aside, the content of the website is something I like. I think the homepage makes it extremely clear what the categories are and specifically where beginners should go.
When digging deeper into the content there is a variety of educational articles and videos. This instantly meets a wider range of user needs as everybody learns most effectively in their own unique ways. Having a range of resources really caters for this. I think when you take a step back and look at all the content and resources that have been scooped together for this website, it is fairly impressive when you consider it has been done by the community.
Overall I definitely believe that there is room for improvement on the ethereum.org website but the reassuring thing to see is that they will be actively looking to improve the site. According to recent tweets and the blogpost, the website was overdue a change so its good to see that this was finally addressed and the community took on the responsibility.
From a user experience stand point, some changes are necessary in my opinion especially around making a more welcoming introduction to cryptocurrency for beginners. I would be more than happy to help the community out and put forward some recommendations in this area.
You can check out the new Ethereum website here.
You can check out the Ethereum blog post here.
I did not get paid to write this review so any tips are much appreciated.
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- I have not been paid by the ETH community or team to write this article.
This is something I volunteered to do due to my background in UX.
- All opinions and views within this article are my own.
- This review was wrote based on the websites appearance on May 3rd 2019.
Thanks for reading, Malone!
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