UX Research: Understanding Cartesi Hacker’s experience in ETH global events

April 30, 2024

Introduction: Web3 developers and hackathon

In the realm of Web3, hackathons serve as vital hubs for developers to converge, innovate, and collaborate. Among the most prominent hackathons in this space are the ETH Global hackathons, drawing thousands of developers from across the globe. Have you ever wondered what the experience is like for these Web3 developers at these renowned events?

Research Overview

From June to December 2023, UXBoost worked with Cartesi to conduct user research with the hackers who joined the Cartesi track in ETH global events. We conducted 4 rounds of research, focusing on understanding the journey of hackers from awareness, learning, building, and adoption.

Our approach

We initiated our research with exploratory interviews to garner preliminary insights, refining our research plan and questions accordingly. Subsequently, we conducted studies after ETH Global Paris, ETH New York, and ETH Istanbul.

⚠️ Study limitation

It is important to note some limitations upfront. Our participant pool varied across rounds due to a limited number of participants. There are also changes in research questions and methodologies that may affect direct data comparability. 

Key research objectives

  1. Visualize the journey of hackers from awareness, learning, building, to adoption.
  2. Understand overall hacker satisfaction during the hackathon.
  3. Identify challenges faced by hackers.
  4. Gauge the likelihood of hackers to continue developing their projects post-hackathon.

🤓 Please read our full report here: Link

Key learnings

  1. Awareness

Many projects like Cartesi are constantly working on raising awareness to onboard more developers, including attracting hackers to join their tracks. Our research showed that awareness of the Cartesi track varies. Many hackers knew Cartesi's track before the ETH global event through participation in previous events, word of mouth, or online. There are also participants in new Cartesi through engagement at the booth during the event.


  • Ensure Cartesi information is easily accessible before and during events.
  • Showcase live demos to highlight Cartesi's capabilities and attract interest.

  1. Learning

Learning new technology is not easy, especially during the time-sensitive hackathon where you must learn and build something. Most participants predominantly engage with Cartesi technology during the hackathon.


  • Host informative workshops to equip hackers with the necessary knowledge.
  • Make essential materials or repositories easily accessible to all.
  • Provide resources that are not only comprehensive but easy to navigate.
  • Enhance documentation with visuals, practical examples, and exercises to aid learning.

“When you are in a hackathon, you don't sleep well, under stress conditions, you are very pushed to accomplish your goals. In that case, there is never good documentation… because is it very difficult to find exactly what you need and you are kind of desperate. But the Cartesi people is there. I mean, with the documentation alone it's almost impossible, but with the help of the staff it's easy because they point to you which example you should take to solve the challenge. They give you directions because they are more clear with the documentation.”  Participant 5 (Explorative research)


  1. Building

Hackers exhibited diverse approaches to building, with many submitting projects to multiple tracks for increased prize potential. Technical challenges, particularly with the Docker setup, were prevalent and often necessitated support from the Cartesi team.


  • Offer accessible in-person support and regular check-ins throughout the event. Cartesi nailed the exceptional in-person support during the hackathon!
  • Establish clear communication channels for hackers to reach out for guidance and clarification on project approaches before investing significant time and effort.
  • Communicate presentation schedules and locations clearly so hackers can plan their time wisely on submission day.

“The team was pretty chill, actually. Like, whatever we asked them at whatever discussion we had, they were quite positive, which is why we built with them the first place.” Participant 1 (ETH Global New York)

  1. Adoption

Post-hackathon, motivated teams sought to advance their projects. Cartesi should actively follow up with the teams, supporting their journey to advance projects. For projects that don’t fit the requirements, the Cartesi team can invite them to explore other opportunities or join the Cartesi track again.


  • Provide clear and easily accessible grant program requirements.
  • Provide a comprehensive proposal template is beneficial for application when planning and structuring the project.
  • Establish a public, transparent discussion about the project to boost engagement.
  • Offer a comprehensive review of the project ideas and regular support.

Conclusion: Why community research is important

While user research on products is commonplace, delving into the developer experience in the Web3 space is relatively new. Cartesi recognizes the value of an in-depth understanding of this experience in shaping the developer journey. With this report, we hope that you learn a thing or two about the challenges and triumphs of developers at ETH global events. We also want to encourage you to explore Web3 UX research further.

Read the summary user research report for a better understanding: Link


  1. Special thanks to Cartesi Developer Advocacy and the marketing team for supporting this research.
  2. Thanks to my amazing teammate, Ashley, for championing the project together.

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.