If dApps are so amazing, why aren’t we all using them?
There are many promising dApps out there, some of which are fully operational and are working on growing their user base.
States of the dApps lists numerous ongoing projects:
- Games like EOS Knights
- Crypto collectables like Dragonereum and Cryptokitties
- Storage solutions like Storj
- Prediction markets like Ninja
- Marketplaces like Origin Protocol
- Crowdfunding platforms like Vault
The problem is that they don’t function in exactly the same way as the apps we’re used to, and don’t always have the best user experience. For example, as dApps are blockchain-based, you use a public and private key to log into them, not a username and password.
To pay for services, you generally need to use cryptocurrency or a native token, not your local currency. So making and funding an account is more complicated than you might expect. The learning curve doesn’t end there, as dApps can be slow to load and payments take a while to process, adding friction to processes we’ve come to expect to be instant. Users may opt for the devil they know, even if it has hidden fragilities like unscrupulous data collection practices.
Design is also crucial. Not only do we expect apps to work fast, but we also expect certain aesthetic characteristics. For example, if there’s a ‘continue’ and ‘go back’ button on the screen, it’s common for the former to be green and the latter red. If an app switches this around, there is a good chance users will select the wrong option.
We’re creatures of habit and it takes a lot to get us to change. Think about the last time you signed up for a new app, then gave up on it soon after. Did a badly designed interface have anything to do with it? Many dApp makers are more focused on technology than design, which is offputting for users who aren’t experienced with complex interfaces.
For dApps to achieve wider adoption, makers need to think carefully about user experience to ensure they offer seamless, easy to navigate processes. So far, dApps have failed to live up to the early hype, but the technology is still new (most dApps are only, at most, a couple of years old) and these things take time.
As yet, most existing dApps are hybrids of centralised and decentralised technology.
Cryptocurrencies are forming a hybrid economy alongside local currencies, and the same is happening with apps. The looming question still remains, how will these be regulated? It’s clear there is still plenty of work to be done.
Do you think dApps are the future or just a fad? Which projects are you most excited about?