ZECpages UX Sprint

tldr: ZECpages is a cool and (relatively) simple way to get introduced to ZEC and z2z. However, it needs to grow up in its look-and-feel. ZEC (like all hash-monies) has huge bridges to cross wrt usability and accessibility. I’d love to address these, looping in the help of @zanzoy (Marc Dandoy). He is a UX stud with a solid aesthetic sense and knack for intuitive design that can’t be taught. We’re excited to take on this challenge, and look forward to any questions you have about this proposal!

Description of Problem or Opportunity

ZECpages (ZP) is a great way for new users to use z-addresses, network with the community, and feel ZEC technology in action. However, it’s not super well explained to new users, especially the crypto-uninitiated. Inasmuch as ZP provides a great opportunity for onboarding new ZEC users, I’d like to direct energies into some user research, making ZP as friendly and accessible to new crypto users.

Proposed Solution

  • A site redesign to adhere to modern app standards. ZP was built additively as it found its niche, and needs to go back and polish UX. This will involve user interviews, usability testing, and ultimately a redesign to ZP’s look and feel.
  • Explainer graphics for new users unfamiliar with blockchains/Zcash

Solution Format

This proposal has two primary deliverables:

  • A new deployment of ZP with a redesigned UI/UX and new explainer content aimed at new users.
  • Open-sourced UX research (Videos (if permission provided), transcripts, and notes)

Technical approach

(Marc) The problems we’re trying to solve here are twofold - one is usability/friction, and the other is communication.

First we’ll need to identify pain points in key elements of the flow. To do this we’ll need to set up usability studies and conduct user interviews to get direct user feedback, to prove or disprove any hypotheses we have about the experience.

The next is answering the question “what is the best way to explain how this works?” Communication is a two-way street and how you say something also depends on what the audience looks like. So we’ll also have to conduct surveys to understand who our audience is, how much information they need, and how to present it.

I must also add, crypto UX, from creating a wallet, to registration, is a huge problem facing the crypto community today, and I’m certainly not the first or the only person facing this challenge. The amount of research, design, reaching out to others who are also trying to solve this problem - will take a significant amount of time to design & develop. Will ZP be the one to solve this friction?

(Michael:) I want to deploy a better explainer page to ZP that gets new, crypto-curious users informed and able to use ZP (and by extension ZEC, z2z).

I’ll work iteratively with Marc to deploy entirely new, accessible styles to ZP that make it more intuitive and usable for users.

How big of a problem would it be to not solve this problem?

Right now, ZECpages is a resource that makes zaddrs and the memo field easy to share and interact with for users who understand it. However, when fortune smiles on ZP, and a big name on Twitter (like Balaji) gives an RT, we get a massive influx of traffic, but no noticeable change in new posts or user signups. This dropoff in interest is a huge missed opportunity, and I’d like to make ZP comprehensible for a brand new user.

Execution risks

(Michael:) Making cryptocurrency simple and usable is hard. People are getting better at it, but there’s a long way to go. I think the biggest risk is that a UX redesign and better explainer content doesn’t make a difference.

(Marc:) The biggest risk we face (in terms of UX) is moving forward with improperly tested assumptions & solutions. So I need to make sure my sample sizes for my tests are big enough that they cover a significant cross-section of our current and future users.

Unintended Consequences, Downsides

I’m convinced that a more intuitive app built to modern design standards will make ZECpages more valuable, but it’s possible that its rough styles are so deeply a part of its old-internet charm that it loses some appeal from a layer of polish.

Evaluation plan

What metrics for success can you share with the community once you’re done? In addition to quantitative metrics, what qualitative metrics do you think you could report?

I see a few great metrics to measure this success: MOST IMPORTANT: tweets from new users who “got” what Zecpages is and used it. ZP post count ZP user count ZP traffic

Schedule and Milestones

At the end of July, there’s a Network Upgrade that will require my attention and support, so I’d certainly like to have this all finished by then.

UX (Marc):

1 week scoping + planning

1 week talking to users about current experience + running surveys

1 week analyzing interview/survey data, discussing priorities

1-2 weeks formulating and testing new designs

1 month polishing / speccing for dev

UX Costs - $100/hr

4 weeks user research - $8k

4 weeks design (PT) - $4k

2 weeks dev support - $4k

Total:$16k

Web (Michael):

3 weeks to integrate and polish styles and integrate new content

WEB Costs: $150/hr * 120 hrs = $15k

Milestones:

1 month - User research complete, open-sourced - $8k

2 months - Designs complete - $4k

~2.7 months - New styles and explainer content deployed to ZECpages - $19k

Applicant Background (link bc over char limit):

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Hey everyone, Marc here.

I’m quite looking forward to this project. I’m still a total noob to the ZEC community but it’s nice to meet you all. In terms of crypto, well let’s just say that Poloniex was my first exchange.

At this time, outside of this project’s scope I’m mainly interested in breaking down the core components of the ZEC wallet → first transfer exchange for someone totally new to this technology. As enthusiasts and experts we tend to have a certain perspective on how it all occurs. What may be slightly inconvenient and boring to us, is a certain showstopper for people outside the scene.

Given the somewhat evangelical nature of crypto, I know we’ve all had experiences showing friends and family how the crypto world works, and how painful that can be. I want to hear how that went down for you, and open to any potential solutions/ideas!

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Hi Marc! Welcome and happy to help out!

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Welcome @zanzoy (@shawn we should move this to a different thread perhaps)
Doubly difficult for me at least explaining Zcash to people because, firstly, while it is money and is a part of the market movements and stuff, most people generally think thats the extent of it all or is at least the extent of their contemplation and when you try to go deeper they kinda space off because, secondly, people generally don’t like to hear about the seedy details of how the internet works because, coincidentally, it isn’t so obvious. There’s a deeper conversation there about the nature of the human psyche and the instantaneous, candy-colored gratification of the internet (there would be references to the Matrix) but as a rule paradigms shift slowly I guess.
I told my wifes’ aunt about Zcash way back when I was still gpu mining. She’s older, doesn’t even use the internet besides streaming services mostly and so required the whole shebang which if even kept simple is a lot to grasp especially that part about her money in the bank being on the internet. Long story short, she ended up crying a little and so I kinda stopped (it was a lot!) but enough stuck in memory (also remembers my rig was right there in the living room) for her to ask just this past weekend about ‘my mining’ and ‘oh yea that bitcoin’ and wondered if I’d lost much money. I did mine Zcash but my current residence has some old wiring, the outlet was getting warm and I shut it down. I then kind of re-explained which went better this time. She brought up the recent pipeline breach and I said “Yes” and elaborated on a few more like it when I was going on about the why part. Shes got a financial advisor (you can guess what he thinks about bitcoin!) and derives understating of the world from the evening news so it’s gonna take time.
Same with my stepmom but she’s a civilian CA for the USDA and has a far greater knowledge of computers than I. She understood everything I told here about it and maybe better than I did. Me, reciprocating the importance of digital privacy after all those years : ) but same deal, just reluctant of the risk of losing money in such new things. I haven’t talked to her recently about it but I imagine she might be a little more receptive to the possibility but idk.
I have a friend with whom I’ve thoroughly spoken with about this a number of times. He asked just the other day if my z9 mini would mine doge :neutral_face: so again idk.
So I don’t really have any advice. There’s a disparity between the preconceptions of cybercoins with its perhaps more universally accepted mass appeal of money and the cipherpunk philosophy, at least as it pertains to this space. Personal experience of digital invasivness makes a big difference but thats just an extrapolation of definitions. In the real world you can potentially catch someone in the act of spying on you or maybe learn about it (or not) somewhere else (and we could assume catching in the act would be more traumatic). In the digital world, where the seedy workings aren’t so obvious, the vast majority would fall to the unevidentary latter. At what point would they take that invasivness personally?

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Consider the novel “1984” and the different behavioral patterns of the characters when they obviously knew they were being watched and when it was less obvious to them though they were basically no less aware of it’s certainty.

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@zomg any update on this? Looks like this is useful for the broader community especially first time users.

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Still discussing it, see the latest ZOMG update, been a busy few weeks.

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I could not resist to run a zcash-cli z_importviewingkey for the first time and published my founds at https://code.kripto.solutions/kripto/zecpages_audit

ZecPages got 73 transactions summing 0.93624191 ZEC and removed 4 from the board.

While I really like the project concept, inspecting their open repository, I would recommend a lot of changes, beyond the UX face. The cryptic/poetic commit messages also don’t invite other developers like me to join it. I could not follow how it was developed over time. Or - more intriguing - how some board:messages were by_hand? removed.

While the author was savvy dealing with lots of server-side javascript, and python scripts monitoring the zcash-cli, I sincerely fell it is very overpriced, if it is a one-person project, as the git commit messages shows. A proper zec:memo:board should involve more people.

be-zeitpages/board-router.js at master · michaelharms6010/be-zeitpages · GitHub Line 232, there’s an endpoint for deleting posts. The number of posts I delete hasn’t necessitated building an admin interface, I just do it with an http client by hand :slight_smile:

Fair criticism on the commit messages! Sorry about that. I’ll strive to do better in future.

On another note, there’s an issue with your audit. ZECpages has had more than 1500 posts, and I’ve deleted more like 34. When I run the script that I’ve put on ZECpages, I see scads more posts I deleted, some with pretty objectionable content. The majority of missing posts are below the amount threshold of 100000 zats.

See them here (Be warned, some are objectionable):

Really appreciate your interest and hacking on ZECpages!

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Uhm! Interesting… zcash-cli z_listreceivedbyaddres… gives me just 75. Can’t explain why. I assume my zcashd is running full at Block height 1280441, online for 60 days.

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@brunchtime — Please take this as feedback / advice from me personally and not really as any kind of input from ZOMG, but I think you might want to make some space for understanding categories of users who aren’t currently using zecpages, but who you think would benefit from it.

This talk by one of the Twitch founders does a good job of explaining the difference. Lecture 16 - How to Run a User Interview (Emmett Shear) - YouTube

(The short version is, if you want to grow your userbase, you need to pay attention not just to current users but also to people who are not users but who you’d like to become users.)

Perhaps start with folks in the Zcash ecosystem who aren’t yet users. Or folks who are really into anonymous discussion spaces.

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That’s great advice, and it’s absolutely in line with my thinking! I’ll have to reread our proposal to see if we have contradictory text in there to edit. Thanks!

From our slack:
image

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my node problem! a full -rescan did the job :sweat_smile:

Board Txids: 1465
z_received_by_address: 2323
Total removed: 70
Total ZEC received: 84.35417278000065

(and moving this technical discussion on auditing to Discord)

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@BrunchTime ZOMG is pleased to inform you to your proposal has been approved!

ZOMG recognizes the unique contribution that ZecPages provides for Zcash users and is looking forward to seeing the next generation UX and redesign of the site!

Congratulations! :tada::tada:

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Awesome! Thank you so much @ZOMG ! :partying_face: We’re excited to hop into this. Will keep you apprised of our progress here in this thread. :+1:

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