Design challenge

An NFT marketplace for Robinhood

Design Challenge

Robinhood NFT Marketplace

Duration

December 20, 2021 - January 3, 2022


Role

I designed the visual identity for this project, drawing inspiration from Robinhood's current design system. I developed the crypto and business research plan. And, I designed a user interface and experience of the Robinhood NFT marketplace.

skills

UX Design
UX Research
Visual Design
Product Thinking
Business Research
Crypto Research

TOOLS

Figma
Photoshop
After Effects

Overview

About

What was this project?

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital assets that represent real-world objects like art, music, in-game items, and videos. They are one of a kind and can be bought and sold online using cryptocurrency. Robinhood NFT Marketplace aims to be a peer-to-peer NFT marketplace that makes discovering, selling, buying, and learning about NFTs effortless and enjoyable through beginner-friendly designs.

Product Vision

What did we imagine?

Robinhood NFT Marketplace aims to bring down barriers for non-technical users to interact with blockchain technologies and explore new forms of investments with user-friendly and familiar interfaces. Our product vision aligns with Robinhood’s overarching mission statement to democratize finance for all and facilitate creator economies' expansion.

Make NFT investing user friendly and less intimidating
Context

Background

what's going on?

Non-fungible tokens play a crucial role in helping people achieve increased economic freedom by enabling creators and artists to explore novel ways of establishing creativity and ownership. Although they have been around for years, NFTs exploded in popularity in 2021, and their global market valuation reached a whopping $52 billion (according to crypto.com).

Problem

What needs fixing?

Even though NFTs investments are currently all the craze, the option to manage them with the same precision and as part of mobile apps that people already use to keep track of other investment instruments is still largely unavailable. Additionally, there are limited platforms that cater to non-crypto-savvy users who are less familiar with crypto jargon and processes.

Opportunity

where's the value?

Since Robinhood announced, it would be launching its crypto wallet in January 2021, introducing its own NFT marketplace would allow the company to enable users to manage all their investment assets in one place without having to leave the app to use third-party platforms like OpenSea. Robinhood's mobile brokerage expertise transfers well to creating a product that simplifies and democratizes NFT's.

How might we help investors confidently and effortlessly invest in NFT’s on Robinhood ?
Research

Design Goal for Blockchain

setting standards

Blockchain's user experience issues need to be addressed. As is often with technology, jargon creates friction for the user experience and can lead to wasted funds and time, leaving new investors confused and frustrated. Experiencing high commission fees and slow transaction speed discourages investors from trading or using the platform often. Address names are unnecessarily complex and usually not customized by their holder.

Blockchain’s famed transparency is hardly usable for people unfamiliar with technology. Overall, the current state of blockchain causes it to be used by a small group of users, who are forced to deal with relatively high entry barriers and numerous questions and problems than meeting user needs. Keeping these pain points in mind, we came up with four key design goals to follow during this redesign process: Discoverability, Awareness, Education, and Security.

Discoverability

  • Enable users to explore newly added, featured, and trending creators and creations through a variety of filtering options
  • Ensure customizability of content on platform home feed, so the user is flexible in terms of what they value and want to see more of
  • Supporting users in finding more relevant items through a search by using item categories (e.g. art, music, 3D, etc.) and hashtags

Awareness

  • A concise breakdown of any fee (e.g. such as for gas) and/or commissions for trades on the platform
  • Clear communication about the security, usage, and public visibility of the investors’ personal information
  • Provide the most relevant information at first glance on cards for individual listing items and collections

Education

  • Education via tooltips and expandable options that explain jargon like “gas fees” and “wallet address”
  • Vetted articles and documentation from top Crypto organizations and content from Robinhood Learn can help people improve their technical understanding, making investors feel more confident
  • News section so investors can make informed decisions

Security

  • Multi-factor authentication in-app, so we know it's you when you initiate a transfer and transaction checks to understand better the risk of where coins are being sent.
  • Provide better protection against scams using interface features like the "report" button and the "verified profile" checkmarks for official accounts

Sentiment Analysis

Research methodology

We performed sentiment analysis to extract and identify emotions, attitudes, and opinions from our sample sets on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube.

Quora

Several users have identified and codified the critical features of popular NFT players. It appears that at this point: there is a playbook for creating an active NFT marketplace. But, factors that differentiate marketplaces are simple, pleasing user interface/experience, and network effects with diverse artist offerings.

YouTube

We found several NFT money-making tutorials with hundreds of thousands to millions of views. Other popular video essays explain the NFT phenomena, the underlying technology, and the possible future.

Twitter

Our findings reflected that users, on the whole, expect Robinhood to have an NFT offering primarily because of Coinbase’s recent NFT marketplace announcement. Further, Robinhood is seen as a default brokerage for young, new investors, and the NFT market shares the same demographic appeal.

Robinhood's Values & Vision

Democratize finance for all.

Robinhood Crypto COO Quote

Statement on NFT's future

“So here's what I love about NFTs. Today, the number of 18- to 29-year-olds who are actively investing, right, who have any investment, is less than 30%. So investing has a whole lot of barriers to entry, whether it's economic, educational, emotional. NFTs bring that barrier down a little bit more, right? We've all hung something on the wall. We've all put something on a refrigerator.”

“...the jump from, hey, art, music, things that are real and let's make that digital is a lot easier than investing, which the majority of young individuals today aren't doing and saying, OK now, there's a digital component to this, right? The jump is just a little bit easier.”

“...we'd be silly to not be looking at right now.”

— Christine Brown, as told to Yahoo! Finance

Market Statistics

Competitive Analysis
Data provided by NFTGO.com

NFTs made headlines in 2021 due to the increasing number of sales, particularly the sales of Beeple's "Everyday: the First 5000 Days", which became the world's most expensive NFT. Since then, NFT sales volume skyrocketed, with the market cap reaching a total of over 11.5 billion U.S. dollars as of the latest data, according to NFTGO.com.

  • Education via tooltips and expandable options that explain jargon like “gas fees” and “wallet address”
  • Vetted articles and documentation from top Crypto organizations and content from Robinhood Learn can help people improve their technical understanding, making investors feel more confident
  • News section so investors can make informed decisions

Competitive Analysis

Research methodology

Who are the top players?

OpenSea is the leader in NFT sales. It is the world’s most prominent marketplace for Crypto collectibles. It also supports artists and creators and has an easy-to-use process if you want to mint your own NFT. The marketplace supports more than 150 different payment tokens. OpenSea says it is now worth $13.3bn following a new investment of $300mm.

Why are they on top?

OpenSea has all sorts of digital assets available on its platform, and it's free to sign up and browse the extensive offerings.  They also sport a fully customizable landing page/marketplace. Users also only pay minting and listing fees once and can mint the rest for free.

Top Marketplaces

Competitive Analysis
Data provided by Kyros Ventures

Marketplace Rankings & Analysis

Competitive Analysis
Data provided by Dapprader

A Closer Look

Competitive Analysis

Coinbase plans to open its own NFT marketplace, where people will be able to trade digital art and other items in the next quarter or two. The company wants to offer a one-stop experience for users to make purchases and store their holdings on a platform. Their platform would provide a social media experience more similar to Instagram than a traditional marketplace like eBay Inc. Coinbase has received more than 2.5 million emails seeking to sign up for the marketplace since it was first announced in October.

The biggest existing NFT marketplace, OpenSea, had about 236,000 unique user addresses interacting with it in the last 30 days, according to data tracker DappRadar. Coinbase is an investor in OpenSea.
Users will showcase their NFTs on the Coinbase site and let others follow their profile and receive updates. Such features could be vital to getting the word out and attracting users when many social networks are also jumping into the NFT market.

Marketplace Rankings & Analysis

Competitive Analysis
Data provided by Messari

Interviews

Research methodology

We conducted five individual interviews with users aged 21-25, ranging from avid to new NFT investors. We recruited people to interview based on varying backgrounds and expertise levels. While our focus remained on learning more about their needs, goals, and pain points about the NFT investing process, their diverse perspectives contributed to different types of insights.

Goal

Understand how users currently interact with and invest in NFTs to derive insights on how Robinhood could build a platform that better supports the needs of various stakeholders in the system.

Personas

Research methodology

Our personas were inspired by our anonymous interviewees, their key insights, and personal stories. We share their background, motivations, pain points, NFT and investing background, and goals.

Biography

Annie recently graduated from college and now works as a designer. She’s passionate about her career and wants to progress. But, she is often bored at work and struggles to save money. In 2020, she heard more about cryptocurrency and began researching NFT’s as an alternative investment. She currently holds bitcoin and ethereum on Robinhood Crypto platform and also uses the Robinhood app for stocks.

Goals

  • Would like to manage her NFT investments in the same place as her crypto and stalks, i.e., within the Robinhood app
  • She’d like to learn more about NFT’s because she is an art enthusiast and potentially invest in some pieces on a simple, trustworthy platform

Needs

  • She needs to know that her holdings are safe are accessible from hackers and scammers.
  • It wasn’t easy to understand when she began her research. As an investor, she needs an app that is simple to understand.

Pain Points

  • After hearing about many wallet holders losing access, she’s worried about scams and hackers or simply forgetting her login.

Biography

Amay has been an artist his entire life and avidly follows new technology. In 2015, he became fascinated by blockchain and cryptocurrency. He first bought Bitcoin and Ethereum and then branched out to many other tokens. He became interested because of ideological beliefs but has since made a lot of money through his NFT collections. He is optimistic about the future of NFT’s and would like to share his art with as many people as possible.

Goals

  • Initially, it was hard for Amay to get discovered. Now, he wants to continue competing with other creators by auctioning his work
  • Maximizing the likelihood of higher bids by reaching a large audience while engaging with platforms that have the cheapest fees

Needs

  • A platform with an easy interface and straightforward process for minting, tracking auctions, processing sales, and viewing sale data
  • Climbing ranks as a top NFT creator to get their work more recognition; prefers working on investors purchases over client work

Pain Points

  • Worried about discoverability as he creates a particular type of art and because new NFT creators are flooding the market
  • He does not enjoy client work as it requires him to operate under stricter constraints and has yielded lower profits than certain investors sales

Biography

Abbey works at a management consulting firm and likes investing in NFTs as a self-proclaimed ‘side hustle.’ She has been involved in the NFT space since 2019 and is surprised by the industry’s recent explosion in popularity. In 2021, a scammer sold her a fake version of a popular NFT which made her lose a significant amount of money. However, she wants to work on regaining her confidence and continue investing.

Goals

  • Wants to invest in NFTs with greater confidence after being scammed on OpenSea despite being well-versed with crypto
  • Having the option to curate the content she wants to discover and explore, as she wants to invest in NFTs by emerging creators

Needs

  • Abbey would like to build a diverse, potentially high-yielding portfolio
  • More safeguards prevent herself from getting scammed again and features that help identify the legitimacy of accounts and items

Pain Points

  • Wary and distrustful after having a bad experience with NFTs, she does not want to risk losing more funds to very convincing scams
  • Worried about the exclusion of individuals lacking technical know-how from NFT investing due to lack of easy to understand platforms
What were the main takeaways?
Figure 2: Mindmap of extensive contextual analysis from driver’s perspective

Key Insights

Research summary & Synthesis

We used affinity diagramming to derive critical insights from our interviews and literature review. We found themes in four primary areas: Customization, Trust & Security, Simplicity, and Education.

These themes inspired primary features for the new NFT marketplace and served as selling points for the NFT marketplace.

key functionality
Explore content more relevant to you
While some users are interested in investing in newer artists to maximize profits, others want smaller gains through trading items. There is also frustration finding specific types of items as new NFTs are minted every day. We realized that there couldn’t be a standard explore feed that works for all.
COMPONENTS
  • Help creators get discovered by creating categories for new artists and their newly minted work.
  • Allow users to customize the content they want to see on their home page and feed.
  • Provide a search bar, content categories, filters, and hashtags that improve searchability
key functionality
Feel safe with investments
Through our interviews, we recognized a common concern: trust and security. Investors new and old acknowledge the risk of losing their hard-earned money and require that their platform sufficiently protects their personal information.
COMPONENTS
  • Visual elements to identify verified information, such as checkmarks for official profiles
  • Include multi-factor authentication before in-app transactions, such as placing bids
  • Keeping the user in the know about their information’s visibility and usage
key functionality
Understand what to do and how to do it
Simplicity in interfaces, language, and the overall experience was a commonly-mentioned theme and necessity for users. Our interviewees confirmed this. We recognized that applications with the most straightforward interfaces usually performed the best among the competitors.
COMPONENTS
  • Use accessible design principles for interfaces and only present helpful, contextually relevant information to users.
  • Replace over-complicated explanations with simple, intuitive explanations
  • An investment is an asset bought with the expectation of generating some future income or profit.
key functionality
Learn smart investing quickly and easily
The most common problem that creates a barrier to entry for people without heavy technical knowledge about blockchain is the lack of access to easily digestible information that breaks down complex topics. We must use our product as an opportunity for education.
COMPONENTS
  • Balance jargon and abstraction so that new users are motivated to learn but aren’t overwhelmed
  • Empower investors to make informed decisions by providing them with vetted information and news
  • Utilize Robinhood Learn to help people unpack technically challenging topics more easily
Features

Education

Inspire informed action

Empower investors to make informed decisions by providing them with vetted information and news

Simplify intimidating topics

Utilize Robinhood Learn to help people process technically challenging topics more easily

Abstract, but still teach

Balance jargon and abstract away details, so new users are motivated to learn but aren’t overwhelmed

Customization

Improve the exploration process

Allow users to customize the content they want to see on their home page and explore feed

Help creators get traction

Facilitate the discovery of emerging creators by creating categories for new artists on the platform

Provide granular search options

Provide a search bar, content categories, filters, and hashtags that improve searchability

Moodboards

Organize content, your way

Schemas vary based on experience and perspective. Users can express themselves by creating and sharing moodboards with the community.

Browse similar recommendations

Similar to how Spotify recommends songs to your playlist based on past listens, the marketplace shows you what you’d love based on your moodboards.

Share your perspective

Community is a key pillar of the NFT ecosystem. Being a part of it, you see the world differently from others, and your moodboards would reflect that.

Security

Multi-factor Authentication

Include multi-factor authentication before in-app transactions like placing bids on items

Report suspicious listings

Visual elements like profile checkmarks and report buttons generate more trust from users

Manage your personal details

Keep traders in the know about their information’s visibility and usage

Cards

Glanceable

There’s only so much time in a day. With glanceable cards, you can gather only the most necessary information.

Appealing

NFTs can reveal the artist and appreciators in all of us. Cards let the art speak for itself, with as few distractions as possible.

Balanced

We display only two cards per row to give each item the focus it deserves, avoid cognitive overload, and yet show multiple listings as you scroll

Review

How did I feel when working on the design challenge?

I felt invigorated working on such an exciting, impactful project. We were overwhelmed with the amount of work we had ahead of us. And, at times, I even overworked myself to the point of suffering from COVID for an entire week. Nonetheless, I’m incredibly proud to have made an entire case study encompassing a whole app design and supporting research.

What would I have done differently?

I wouldn’t have overworked myself. We likely would have completed this project faster if I hadn’t pulled all-nighters on the first two days. Also, we were pretty scattered with our research plan, mainly owing to our lack of experience doing such an expansive project. Moving forward, I believe we have a solid basis for Crypto research and case study presentation.

What did I learn about each other from this project?

I learned that Resham is a monster at creating interfaces. She’s incredibly fast, and she’s very open to design critiques and debates. She has a natural eye for information organization and aesthetics. We worked seamlessly through the entire process, and there were no points of friction — ever. I’m so blessed to work with her regularly.

What did I learn about myself from this project?

I learned that I can get distracted quite quickly, and I’m very thankful Resham was there to keep me on track. Among other things, I was surprised to find that I was relatively competent at case study design and research — things that are relatively new to me. Since playing around in Photoshop at age thirteen, I never realized that I would’ve expanded my skills to market analysis, user experience research, and visual design. I’m excited to see how I can grow as a designer in an age where the job is less focused on kerning and more on problem-solving.

Kinds Words

FROM MY PROJECT PARTNER

Dimitri is an incredibly talented designer and team player. His years of experience, eye for detail, and perseverance in the face of challenges are what set him apart. Not only are Dimitri's determination and passion for perfection infectiously inspiring, but he also takes the initiative to go far above and beyond because of how deeply he cares about good design.

Resham Khanna
UX DESIGNER
Reflection

How did I feel when working on the design challenge?

I felt invigorated working on such an exciting, impactful project. We were overwhelmed with the amount of work we had ahead of us. And, at times, I even overworked myself to the point of suffering from COVID for an entire week. Nonetheless, I’m incredibly proud to have made an entire case study encompassing a whole app design and supporting research.

What would I have done differently?

I wouldn’t have overworked myself. We likely would have completed this project faster if I hadn’t pulled all-nighters on the first two days. Also, we were pretty scattered with our research plan, mainly owing to our lack of experience doing such an expansive project. Moving forward, I believe we have a solid basis for Crypto research and case study presentation.

What did I learn about each other from this project?

I learned that Resham is a monster at creating interfaces. She’s incredibly fast, and she’s very open to design critiques and debates. She has a natural eye for information organization and aesthetics. We worked seamlessly through the entire process, and there were no points of friction — ever. I’m so blessed to work with her regularly.

What did I learn about myself from this project?

I learned that I can get distracted quite quickly, and I’m very thankful Resham was there to keep me on track. Among other things, I was surprised to find that I was relatively competent at case study design and research — things that are relatively new to me. Since playing around in Photoshop at age thirteen, I never realized that I would’ve expanded my skills to market analysis, user experience research, and visual design. I’m excited to see how I can grow as a designer in an age where the job is less focused on kerning and more on problem-solving.

Kinds Words

FROM MY PROJECT PARTNER

Dimitri is an incredibly talented designer and team player. His years of experience, eye for detail, and perseverance in the face of challenges are what set him apart. Not only are Dimitri's determination and passion for perfection infectiously inspiring, but he also takes the initiative to go far above and beyond because of how deeply he cares about good design.

Resham Khanna
UX DESIGNER
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