UX Research Cheat Sheet and the Best Methods in Web 3.0

September 3, 2022

Introduction - Why UX research is a must-have decision making tool for the creation of Web 3.0

UX research cheat sheet and the best methods in Web 3.0

The blockchain is a promising technology and the main infrastructure that will enable the creation of any Web 3.0 application. Among the most prominent Blockchain promises, I can mention greater transparency, higher speed, and better traceability of transactions of any kind. Blockchain, being a “super ledger”, entails the potential to disrupt entire industries such as finance, energy, and even education due to its unique technological characteristics.  


These days most innovation around blockchain applications is happening in the space of backend technologies. Therefore, most of the conversation around this topic is happening among technologists and engineers.

Now is exactly the right time to involve UX design teams in the work on Web 3.0 to ensure that potential users who are not tech enthusiasts could understand this new world and make the most out of this technology. Blockchain is one of the most impactful areas for UX design in the coming decade, and UX research will play a big part in getting the design of blockchain-based applications right.

UX research methods are what helps UX designers and product managers land on the best design decisions regarding the solutions they work on. It’s important to remember that UX research can only be utilized to its full extent if done right and if it gets the space it needs, as well as the blessing of business and technical stakeholders.


This article will serve as a cheat sheet for UX research methods for Web 3.0 projects during different stages of the product development lifecycle and it will help you understand how UX research can be embedded in the process.


As a rule of thumb, Step 1 and 2 are more exploratory in nature and are good fit for the beginning stages of your product development lifecycle and before you do major changes to an existing design. Step 3 could be applied throughout different design and development iterations of the project as part of the continuous work.

UX Research cheat sheet in Web 3.0

UX Research cheat sheet in Web 3.0

Step 1 - Look inward to understand what enables the service with systems thinking

It’s impossible to imagine all the types of services blockchain infrastructure will enable in the future, just like no one could have predicted that the invention of roads would enable anything from cars to mopeds to travel on them.

Therefore, your first step in using UX research for Web 3.0 applications is to use it to externalize all the knowledge that’s already been accumulated within your development team. This way, you can get clarity on where you are in your journey and where you’re headed.

This step is particularly important for blockchain and Web 3.0 applications since many UX designers and researchers are new to this world and they need to understand the lingo and the technology to do the best job they can.

Using a systems thinking approach you can slowly start to uncover this knowledge and the new system it could create in the future. This is important because it will help you better understand the different perspectives of your team on how potential users should ideally interact with your innovative Web 3.0 solution.

My recommendation is to start this process by having a UX researcher talking to the people who are building this infrastructure, and gather as many perspectives as possible to understand two things:  

  1. What the technology does that’s different from older technologies in the context of the project
  2. Their vision of how the project is going to disrupt a particular industry

In this step, a UX researcher would usually need to conduct interviews with stakeholders such as developers, product managers, business analysts, and even cryptocurrency miners to fully understand the future system you’re developing. This externalization process could allow you to understand what hidden knowledge and perspectives are out there within your team that you might have not even thought of.

Some of the questions a UX researcher can ask stakeholders in an interview at this stage are:

  1. What are you currently working on?
  2. What makes this project unique?
  3. What are we hoping to achieve with this new technology?
  4. What is the competition doing?
  5. What are the main blockers we have right now?
  6. Have we heard any feedback from clients about our service? (if the service exists)

This knowledge will help your design team map out the company’s mental model of the vision and the solution (product or service). You can create a visual artifact to visualize the company’s vision, different perspectives, and what it will take to execute the vision.

When conducting the UX research for your Web 3.0 application, another approach to generate this knowledge (it complements well the one-on-one approach I explained before) is to host a business canvas workshop with a few design, product, and technology stakeholders to get alignment among these stakeholders and uncover knowledge gaps.

This research method can help you understand if you have any knowledge gaps to address regarding the way your potential users see the value proposition of your solution. This brings us to step 2.  

Step 2 - Get to know your potential users and their personas with generative research methods

Get to know your potential users and their personas with generative research methods

Web 3.0 applications come with the promise of improving many services that are done manually in an inefficient way. If you conducted the systemic research activities I described in step 1, you must have some knowledge gaps you’ll need to address doing research with potential users.

If you want to use UX research to understand how to design the best service on Web 3.0 to improve these existing services, you need to understand the current pain points around them. The type of research activity that could help you do that is called “problem discovery”.

During a problem discovery, a UX researcher will have to map all the parties that participate and operate the service you’re disrupting in its current form to understand all their points of view, as well as their pain points. There are no shortcuts here. Even if you have some subject matter experts (SME) advising you, you’d still need to get the actual users’ perspective beyond what the experts say and there are a few ways to generate this knowledge.

Let’s take an example of an education accreditation service like Blockcerts that could help anyone validate their education credentials if asked by a potential employer or another institute. In this case, the parties will be:

  1. An accreditation body (e.g. a university, an online school, a professional association, etc.)
  2. Alumni who want a verified record of their education credentials
  3. Organizations that need these credentials for verification purposes (e.g. employers, universities, etc.)

Since education accreditation processes are still very manual nowadays, a UX researcher can uncover all the pain points someone has to experience to get their education credentials verified by a potential employer, or the pain points an accreditation body has to experience to issue credentials. These two research methods can help you uncover this information:


  1. Semi-structured interviews with representatives of these different groups (e.g. employees in accreditation bodies, university alumni who need their credentials verified, HR people working for employers that often need education credentials verified, etc.)
  2. Surveys that can help you validate what you heard in interviews with a bigger group of people

Understanding these pain points and comparing them to the complete vision of your team (uncovered in step 1) can help your design team understand how to come up with the best design to address them on Web 3.0 given the new capabilities the blockchain enables.

You’ll be able to do it by addressing the gaps between how your team sees your proposed solution and what the experience nowadays is. A nice way to show the summary of what you found in a visual way is to create an experience map.

Another activity UX research can help you with at this stage is the creation of user personas based on different roles and their technological literacy.

Let’s get back to the example from before and see how this could work.

After conducting interviews (and potentially surveys) with different parties, a UX researcher can understand who is the typical persona in roles that need credential verification and create a persona around them. For example, master’s degree and PhD applicants. This research approach will help your design team understand how to approach the problem while having a real user in mind, and taking into account their level of familiarity with blockchain technologies.

Step 3 - Explore your solution with different user personas

At this step, you already have clarity about your vision, and the current pain points of your users (potential or current). Time to get to work and let your design team design a solution that bridges the vision you have for a service, and the customer pain points you’d like to address.

At this step, you’d need to go through exploratory usability tests with your potential users and see what their feedback is about your solutions. Since Web 3.0 and the blockchain are very new, I’d recommend going beyond pure usability and getting into deeper questions related to human-data interaction , trust level, and content comprehension.

For instance, if you designed screens that talk about how the data is kept safe in the blockchain, during the user research you can ask questions such as “Having read that sentence, who has access to your data?” to understand how your users perceive this new technology, especially if they are new to Web 3.0.

Let’s look at a few examples:

Powerledger is a blockchain company in the field of renewable energy. Their platform helps decentralize the power grid and enables peer-to-peer sale of energy from renewable sources.

Such solutions that enable private users to do what only centralized parties such as utility companies can do these days, require testing to understand if the level of complexity matches the one that private users can work with.

In the world of B2B you can easily allow for some complexity to be part of your solution, but you’ll have to measure your users’ comprehension of the system and their trust levels to understand if this is a solution they can easily adopt without a lot of training. If the learning curve is too steep, novice non-business users might not stick with your solution.

Let’s take another example from the field of cryptocurrencies.

In the world of crypto the say “Not your keys, not your coins” is very common. Therefore, crypto wallets should be designed to be as user friendly as possible because they are the key (literally) to the adoption of this technology.  

In a usability test for a crypto wallet you can see how people plan to approach saving their recovery phrases, how much they trust the security of the technology, and what else they would expect to see inside a typical wallet. How many currencies would they expect to be stored there? (Some wallets only store coins from one network such as Phantom for the Solana blockchain). Also, what would be your users’ main use case for the wallet? To send and receive money? Store NFT?

Also, since not everyone is comfortable reading technical transaction information you should think about how much information from the transaction log on the blockchain should be exposed to our end users who are not experts.

All of these are good questions that exploratory usability tests can help with.

As you can see, there’s lots to uncover throughout the UX research process, but you’ve probably got the idea. Put the solution in front of your potential users, and let them give you some guidance regarding what else should be prioritized in your next product iteration.

Conclusion: UX Research is Critical to Product Success in Web 3.0

UX research can play a key role in making sure your Web 3.0 applications function great not only from a technical standpoint, but also from a usability standpoint. In a world where Web 3.0 and blockchain have the potential to decentralize and disrupt so many industries, you have to be careful not to jump too far ahead and develop solutions no one is ready to adopt just yet except for a small group of tech enthusiasts.

UX research, if done right, can bring a lot of advantages to any company working on Web 3.0 solutions. Take the insights from this UX research cheat sheet into action. You can better learn how your employees envision your services and get clarity on who your company want to be, you can learn about your potential customers’ existing pain points, and you can make sure that the solutions your design team is working on make sense from a usability standpoint to users with different levels of technical knowledge.

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About the Author

Yaron Cohen

Yaron is a professional in UX research and digital strategy. His expertise in user research and digital analytics contributed to design, product, and customer success teams in multiple industries, including banking, e-commerce, and Saas.