Tezos Foundation

Create a website to help Tezos drive social, political, and economic innovation on a global scale.

The Tezos Foundation stands as part of the cryptocurrency community in support of the Tezos protocol and ecosystem. The Foundation’s role is to deploy resources to high-quality projects and initiatives strategically.

Here is my story of how I designed the Tezos website—a website that supports their mission, builds and connects community, and provides tools for grant submission and review while allowing them to grow and scale as necessary.

My Role

Product Design
UX / UI

Platforms

Desktop
Mobile

Agency

The Brigade

The Challenge

Ship perfection faster than a sprint

Create a best-in-class destination to educate users about not only the Tezos platform; including blockchain that can evolve by upgrading itself where token holders can vote on amendments to the protocol, amendments to the governance mechanism itself, and to reach social consensus on proposals as well as a system to streamline the Tezos cryptocurrency user grant application process — all within an extremely tight timeline requiring delivery with no room for error.

My Role

As the sole product designer on the team, I delivered every part of the project, including UX/UI, branding, copywriting, prototyping, and client presentations.

Kickoff

What the heck is cryptocurrency?!

Discovery

My near-total lack of knowledge with what this virtual currency even is meant I needed to understand what cryptocurrency was, and quickly.

I spent as much time as I could collaborating with the Tezos team to better understand what they do and how they do it. I also did a lot of reading online (articles + statistics).

In order to deepen my understanding of cryptocurrency, discover more about the audience, market, and competition, I built out a presentation to consolidate my learnings.

This included:

  • Audience Analysis
  • Market Analysis
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Key Takeaways
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Users and Audience

There were two user types considered, the internal Tezos team that would be implementing content, as well as managing and handling grant proposals, and the users of the website.

The internal team that would handle implementing content is primarily tech-savvy and familiar with content publishing. So there wasn’t much of a learning curve to be considered, and familiarizing the team with the CMS was relatively easy.

The users of the website would also primarily be tech-savvy cryptocurrency types, but there needed to be a broader consideration with the potential user base.

Time to complete the first iteration of the project was a serious concern, so some of those details weren’t completely fleshed out in V1.

Personas

From the above, I was able to create an internal user persona and assumptive persona for users of the website. While not my preferred method, they helped to overcome the hurdles and time required to use research-based design personas. However, it did get stakeholders to begin thinking about their business goals in user-centric terms.

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The Biggest opportunity

Streamline the grant submission process

Research

Tezos has a robust grant offering with dozens of people involved, and there wasn’t a process in place. So there was a lot of work to do to improve grant submissions for their internal team, and review committee, and create clarity around who and what was involved in formalizing a process and identifying gaps.

After interviewing the Tezos team, I was able to begin to map out a flow of their current grant submission process to identify pain points and opportunities.

Pain Points

Both user types were involved with the entire process, so I broke up the flow into two stages, handled by the website and handled internally. Both stages presented challenges and pain points, so breaking it up helped to hone in on each step.

End-user — Handled by the website

“How will I know when my submission is received?”
“Who reviews my proposal, and how soon will I be contacted?”
“What if I want to provide feedback on a decision with my proposal?”
“What if I don’t see the type of grant I’m looking for?”
“Waiting sucks!”

Internal user — Handled internally

A lot of emailing documents back and forth
Multiple people in various timezones
Keeping track of submissions and where they are in the process
Assigning members to review committees
“We need a way to keep track of these things!”

Findings

By providing users with the necessary tools to quickly find and easily submit a grant proposal, the Tezos team will then be able to quickly review and determine if the project is suitable for them, and ultimately fund a grant, making both parties happy.

Ideation

I quickly began sketching and whiteboarding to solidify my understanding of how a grant proposal would flow through the website, and ultimately come back to the user.

This approach was necessary to understand the grant process and be able to prescribe an improved method of sending, receiving, and reviewing grants. This early exploration had a significant impact on the project and played a vital role in the quality of the experience.

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Solution

Provide the user with a list of available grants categorized by type, and a guided form to submit a grant proposal. Users will appreciate the ease and speed in which they can submit a proposal. Once a user submits the form, a confirmation email is sent with details on timing and next steps.

Once the form is submitted, the internal team and review committee will be notified by email. Then they’ll be able to set up a time to meet and review the proposal.

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The Ultimate Solution

Though out of scope for the current project, I proposed a plan on how the website could be set up to handle nearly all of the submission process. Allowing the end-user, internal team, and review committee to log in to a dashboard to review, approve submissions, send messages, and more.

Site Map and Wireframes

Once I had a solid understanding of how the grants process would flow, I started building out the wireframes.

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Prototyping

I used inVision to build out prototypes and present various aspects of the project.

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Clean and Friendly

Design

Brutal-ly Material-ly

The design steps into a light mix of Brutalism and Material. Brutalism is used with restraint, but allows the design to push the boundaries and break some rules with the grid, and in this case, adds to the user experience rather than taking away from it.

Things are kept clean and clear of clutter by utilizing a good amount of white space, breaking up content with blocks of color and typography while using simple shapes to create consistency.

A mix of Serif and Sans Serif fonts is used to add personality and style and create a hierarchy of content types.

Used sparingly, iconography is used to call attention to key content elements.

Subtle animations are used to give certain elements of life, without distracting or confusing the user.

Rounded corners are used to soften elements and tie components together visually

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Semi-corporate, please

The Brand

The focus with the brand was to keep it clean and semi-corporate. A bright color scheme consisting of blues, gray and white ties in the Tezos Foundation site with the rest of the Tezos brand and ecosystem while still able to stand on its own.

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all's well that ends well

Conclusion

Small force, great results.

The website launched successfully and on-time. User engagement and reach have grown substantially, and so far, the Tezos Foundation has funded numerous grants for companies like Zednode, Clause, Cryptonomic, Obsidian Systems, and Cryptium Labs.

The Tezos Foundation is pleased with the results. They now have a platform to publish content, accept grant proposals, and organize their community and direct their social efforts.

Takeaways and Lessons

Focused on delivering

During the project, I observed a strong focus on delivering, rather than a focus on the outcome. The team overly managed and measured the output, which inevitably led to haste, distraction, and short-sightedness.

The persistent question of “how fast can we build it” ended up defining the quality of the results. Had the focus been on the outcome, we would have launched a more reliable and polished product in the same timeframe.

The information within this case study is based on my own views, and it does not reflect the views or opinions of anyone working within the Tezos Foundation or The Brigade.