UX Audit of MetaMask: 7 Usability Issues & Redesign Ideas

August 1, 2022

Introduction: Why are we doing a UX Audit on MetaMask?

Many users trust Metamask as a crypto wallet and gateway to web3 blockchain, both new and expert users.

Today we will conduct a UX audit on the Metamask wallet andwill explore a few key usability issues of Metamask web extension using the heuristic evaluation method. The primary interaction users have with Metamask is creating an account and buying or sending tokens. Another typical interaction is to connect to a Web3 site.

We analyze the usability of MetaMask UI from onboarding to the most popular features and recommend solutions to improve the UX and engagement.

1. Lack of Educational Onboarding Process.

# Heuristics Violated: Recognition Rather than Recall

Metamask UX Audit: Unclear first step after user first landed on Metamask main dashboard
Figure 1: Unclear first step after user first landed on Metamask main dashboard

MetaMask's Usability Issue:

When users first set up the Metamask wallet, they are guided to “Set up the wallet” and “Back Up the Seed Phrase.” However, the onboarding process stops after these two setups. It is unclear to users what is the first step after landing on the main dashboard. To ensure a good user experience, user will need guidance to get started to use the main features.

Why is it Matter to the Users?

Good onboarding UX is very crucial to leave a good impression on users. Giving your users some hand-holding can save them from confusion and frustration.

UX Recommendation:

Consider including the main features as part of the MetaMask wallet's onboarding UX.

2. Lack of Guidance to Add/ Import tokens.

# Heuristics Violated: Recognition Rather than Recall

Metamask UX Audit: Lack of guidance to add/ import tokens on Metamask
Figure 2: Lack of guidance to add/ import tokens on Metamask

MetaMask's Usability Issue:

In Metamask, there is an experimental feature where Metamask can auto-detect new tokens sent to you/ purchased. This feature is off by default, somewhat hidden for a new user. Currently, it is only available on Ethereum Mainnet.

Why is it Matter to the Users?

As for the unlisted token, most users will not be aware that they need to add a token manually. They will wonder why they don’t see the token they just bought. There are also no clear instructions on how to import custom tokens securely. Besides that, it might not be evident for the first-time user to know how to get the token contract address.

UX Recommendation:

Consider making the automatic token detection feature prominent to first-time users. Essentially, detecting and displaying a token of all chains sent to users’ wallets will be very helpful.

3. Missing Proper Feedback. e.g. When a wallet is out of sync.

# Heuristics Violated: Visibility of System Status

MetaMask's Usability Issue:

When a user is performing an action, the progress or feedback should be visible until complete. One of the typical UX issues MetaMask users face is that there is no feedback when the wallet is out of sync. Users might see the incorrect wallet balance or pending transactions. It can happen when a specific chain is out of sync.

Why is it Matter to the Users?

Without proper feedback, many users will not be able to figure out what happens in the background of their MetaMask wallets. They will be either confused or worried about doing something wrong and losing their funds.

UX Recommendation:

Provide clear feedback on blockchain status and guidance when syncing might be the issue.

4. Navigation is not Entirely Clear.

# Heuristics Violated: Consistency and Standard

Figure 3: Multiple click areas on Metamask main dashboard
Figure 3:  Multiple click areas on Metamask main dashboard

MetaMask's Usability Issue:

When you first land on Metamask wallet, the crypto wallet's UI will present you with the top navigation bar with multiple click areas that leads to numerous different menus and overlays. It is not easy to predict where elements are located.

The green abstract icon on the top right is creative, but it doesn't give users hints on where it leads. Besides that, the behaviour of the navigation components is somewhat inconsistent. For example, the network switcher and account switcher are similar components but are separated in different menus. Clicking on some elements will open up another menu while some open up another tab.

Why is it Matter to the Users?

Unclear navigation experience on Metamask UI influences users' next step on the platform, potentially making them leave the platform.

UX Recommendation:

Rethink the navigation and potentially regroup some elements under the same menu.

5. Unclear Requirements for the Gas Fee.

# Heuristics Violated: Error Prevention

MetaMask's Usability Issue:

Unlike conventional transactions, fees work very differently on the blockchain. With crypto, users have to pay gas fees depending on the network condition. As for Metamask, ETH is required as transaction fees. This requirement is often unclear for most users. This confusion increases when users need to perform a transaction on tokens other than ETH.

Why is it Matter to the Users?

Users' confusion about gas fees discourages them from completing the transaction journey. The increase in the drop-off rate can severely hurt users' trust and stickiness to Metamask.

UX Recommendation:

Offers users precise requirements or warnings before performing any transactions without gas fees.

6. No Guidance to Connect to Web3

# Heuristics Violated: Help and Documentation

MetaMask's Usability Issue:

Connecting to web3 blockchain is one of the most common users flows in Metamask. However, the wallet has no visible instructions to guide users to connect to the web3 sites.

Why is it Matter to the Users?

Supposed users set up Metamask to connect to the Web3 sites, they are unable to do it without leaving Metamask to find online guidelines. This complicates the user experience and may even encourage some users to seek alternative web3 services to achieve their needs.

UX Recommendation:

Provide proactive help to get started on how to connect to the Web3 sites.

7. Lack of Guidance After a Failed/ Interrupted Transaction

# Heuristics Violated: Help Users Recognize, Diagnose, and Recover from Errors

MetaMask's Usability Issue:

When a transaction fails or is interrupted by additional website interaction, it doesn’t trigger Metamask anymore. Users will need to close the web browser and re-login. However, there is no help or information provided.

Why is it Matter to the Users?

Most users will have no idea how to fix this or may not even understand whether a transaction has failed or succeeded.

UX Recommendation:

Optimize the UX of the Web3 app by showing an error message to show users clearly the problem and instructions on how to fix the problem.

Conclusion: Better Blockchain UX, Better MetaMask

There is still so much potential for Metamask to improve to onboard even more mainstream users. The is a steady grow of UX presence in Blockchain. We hope see more UXers joining blockchain space, sharing knowledge and learning together.

If you think there are any important points that I missed or any platform that you want me to take a look at. Please let me know!

FAQ About the UX of MetaMask

  • What are MetaMask Wallet's major usability issues?
    In this UX audit, we discover MetaMask's usability issues revolve around guidance in the onboarding journey, feature navigation, notification and warning, etc. Read our article to have a full picture of MetaMask's UX.    
  • Why is good UX Design so important for crypto wallets?
    A smooth and thoughtful UX helps crypto wallets onboard new users and prevent users from leaving the platform due to unfamiliarity with the blockchain features. This help users establish loyalty and feel secure when transacting on a crypto platform.

Have more questions on the UX design of crypto wallets?

Talk to the blockchain UX design experts from UXBoost Now!

Read More:

About the Author

Valentinie Wong

Valentinie is a UX researcher with a background in Cognitive Science. She has experience researching different industries, from E-government services, credit bureau, UX learning platforms, blockchain, food delivery, etc. For her, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing how user research can inspire and shape products that solve real user problems.