We spend a lot of time researching trends in content creation and drafting content strategies for startups. That is why we have been surprised by the number of otherwise innovative companies across the blockchain space that do not pay attention to the creativeness and inventiveness of their websites.
Blockchain is a disruptive technology by any means. We cannot say the same about the large number of blockchain websites around. One can understand that blockchain startup founders invest much of their time developing an innovative solution for one or another industry and market. Ignoring the most visible side of your blockchain service, and a website is the first point of contact, is a mistake that will cost you dearly in the long run.
Forget about Lines Connecting Dots
After visiting a certain number of random blockchain websites, one can easily decide he/she will never again explore a site that features lines which connect dots. It is unbelievable how many blockchain sites use the lines-and-dots concept to make their front page.
Below is a randomly selected sample of how an average blockchain homepage looks like. We have removed all the branding from the web page screenshot.
The same design, with lines and dots, is on numerous other websites. It is a viable design concept for a distributed ledger such as a blockchain network but not if everybody is using the very same design.
Furthermore, the above web design reflects only the core idea/concept of the blockchain - its distributed nature and the fact that a blockchain consists of multiple independent computing devices.
Your blockchain startup is not just a blockchain network, however. You develop a solution for a particular industry and specific target audience. What the above design tells us about your specific blockchain solution? Nada.
Where's Your Brand Message?
Let's now look at the brand message in the example site above. It says:
Bringing Blockchain Technology to Enterprises.
Actually, it says nothing since it does not answer a few very basic questions. What blockchain technology? To which enterprises? Across what industry? How you bring this technology?
Having an appealing brand message is a must but taking the easiest path of making a statement that says literally nothing produces a boring and non-converting impression. There are better ways to produce an obscure and all-encompassing brand slogan if you want to engage websites visitors in exploring your service in more detail.
Placing an infographic that explains the basic principles of blockchain is not a substitute for an appealing brand message and valuable content, too. The sample below is from a report by the Germany's central bank, Bundesbank.
The same type of charts appear on the frontpage of numerous blockchain services. The great difference is that the chart by Bundesbank is inserted in a piece of content that is placed on a proper section, their reports page.
Placing an otherwise useful chart as the above on your homepage is like a car maker putting a flow chart of how ignition engines work on their top page. It is not only stupid, it is not necessary, as your product should not require the customer to be familiar with the underlying technology.
Minimalist Design Has Drawbacks Too
We also find that an overwhelming number of blockchain sites stick to one-page design and tend to bet on simplicity by creating minimalist websites. This is good but to an extent.
One-pagers are easy to navigate on mobile devices, especially a smartphone, as they provide upward and downward scrolling only. It is useful for a very simple website that has a few, but short, sections only.
But what happens when your website grows? You add content, offer new services, and expand sections. And endless scrolling is not a viable solution anymore as scrolling through endless sections is not a good user experience.
Minimalist design is as good as any other design concept but sticking to it for the sake of following a current design trend speaks fortunes about a company. Design trends come and go while good interface and user experience are here to stay. Playing with fonts and endless scrolling will not substitute for innovative design.
The ultimate innovative design, in fact, is one that leads you straight to the point and does not make you wonder where all the important sections/features/content hides.
Customer-centric Design is Not Boring
So, what a blockchain startup can do to avoid creating the next boring website?
Concentrate on your specific solution and target market and do not focus on what blockchain is. Your intended audience is already well aware what is blockchain, in general. Focusing on the pains you eliminate and the ways in which you solve a problem will give you a good starting point for building a brand message to remember.
Bet on customer-centric design, as it is the ultimate stepping stone for creating a blockchain site that stands from the crowd. Late Steve Jobs always knew he has one of the best products of his time. Why did he invest so much energy and efforts in designing packaging for these products then? He knew that packaging is the first to make a lasting impression.
Sure, you can package a useless product into an impressive packing and consumer's excitement will last until they find it's useless. Putting a useful product into a miserable packing, on the other hand, prevents you from demonstrating the advantages of your product in the first place.
An old saying goes that a good product will self-promote. It might be true but you need to make websites visitors willing to open the product packing first. Blindly following the common website design patterns created by old and new blockchain companies alike will not help you build a lasting impression. You need not a template website design but a creative solution for an innovative blockchain solution. Don't you?
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