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Why The Experience Matters…Even In New Technologies

polluterofminds profile image Justin Hunter Originally published at Medium on ・3 min read

Photo by Hal Gatewood

Computer science offers us breakthroughs on seemingly a weekly basis. And as we explore these new technologies, it’s important to keep perspective of what’s important when these technologies reach the public. Experience drives adoption.

We have so many great things that revolve around computing, and any of them that have been adopted by the general public have a great user experience. The public knows what they are expected to do, and there is little cognitive load required to use the technologies ushered in by computer science. But, as we build for the next version of the web — Web 3.0 — technologies are reaching the general public before they are easy to use. Many compare the current state of Web 3.0 to the web in the early to mid 1990s. However, the early web was still very usable. Take a look at what was available. The directory format of Yahoo!, Microsoft’s first web page, and in the walled garden world, AOL was the king of user experience.

The new technology of the web came and it was pretty darn simple for people to understand and use. It may not have done much, but as we know, that would change soon. It may have been slow, sure. But it was usable. Blockchain technology and the entire Web 3.0 community is on the verge of changing the way we compute, but as the technology reaches the general public, it is not even close to as usable as the early web was when it reached the public.

So what do we do about it?

The complexity of what is being built at the base layer requires extreme focus. It requires iteration and a willingness to break things. The people working at that layer simply cannot focus on user experience right now. Nor should they.

Instead, I propose a convenience layer rise up around Web 3.0. Much like Coinbase has added a convenience layer to trading cryptocurrency, a layer that focuses solely on the user experience of Web 3.0 technologies must be added. That layer can change over time. It can become less custodial as the technology changes and as people adapt to the new web being built. But until that time, companies like SimpleID should exist.

SimpleID is not going to be for everyone. For those already technically familiar with blockchain technology, encryption, and peer-to-peer networks, a convenience layer does not make sense. But if we want to move the needle and get people using Google and Facebook less, we need to give them an easy path to Web 3.0.

SimpleID does just that. The first computer password was created in 1961. Since then, the world of computing has grown around the idea of usernames and passwords. It’s so ingrained, that people sometimes struggle with social login. So, the first step to creating a user experience that will allow the general public to start using Web 3.0 technologies is to make the onboarding feel just like it does with the web they are used to. Asking them to write down a 12- or 24-word seed-phrase is a non-starter. Asking them to install a local web server or a browser extension just to sign in is not going to work. Instead, we can give them a username/password experience where they still retain ownership of their identity, can use it anywhere they want without the custodial solution layer, and start exploring and using Web 3.0 technologies.

This is how we bring the experience up to the expectations of users of the current web. This is how we shift the power dynamic away from the oligopoly of Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.

If you’re a developer building for the decentralized web, if you’re hoping to attract people to Web 3.0, if you want to give users the experience they expect while giving them control of their data, SimpleID can help.


Posted on Aug 26 '19 by:

polluterofminds profile

Justin Hunter

@polluterofminds

Writer, Developer, Builder. Founder of Graphite and SimpleID.

Discussion

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Computer science offers us breakthroughs on seemingly a weekly basis.

Ouch. Did I miss something important? Could you please list a couple of the most exciting breakthrough papers published in the past year?