What if every crypto product team had real user data and radically faster feedback loops to inform their decision-making?
That’s the vision of OpenUX, a collective of product and user researchers working to make crypto applications more needs-based and user-aligned.
By conducting tactical user research, training teams to fulfill their own data needs, and publishing open source insights, we exist to accelerate web3 adoption.
Most people working in crypto have considered the question: what will it take for crypto to reach the next 100M users? How can we accelerate adoption and keep new users engaged long-term? Instead of exploring how we get to 100M users, OpenUX has been considering, what is holding us back?
2021 and 2022 brought an influx of designers, developers, and product people to web3—many with valuable experience launching high-adoption consumer applications. Yet despite this new wave of talent, many web3 teams still struggle to chart a path to product-market fit.
We believe the biggest barriers to adoption are not limitations in technology, creativity, or effort; they’re oversights in how web3 product development is coordinated. More specifically, we believe web3 teams are taking unnecessary risks by undervaluing the user research and discovery process.
Many teams who undervalue discovery only collect user feedback after a product is developed. Others will address surface-level usability risks but skip testing foundational assumptions of how well their product addresses user needs.
Some builders justify this approach with claims that time spent on discovery has too big an opportunity cost. Others say that user feedback only pushes teams away from novel use cases that crypto is pursuing.
These beliefs fundamentally miss the value of research in an assumption-driven, iterative development process. By testing assumptions about user demand after multiple development cycles, teams delay resolving their products’ biggest risks. This can lead to several negative outcomes, such as:
Building a product without an audience
Building a complicated product for too many audiences
Building a product with a misaligned audience
Building an unusable product
When these issues compound, teams get fewer chances to work on solutions with realistic paths to adoption. This leads to web3’s collective ‘brain drain’—the misdirection of talent away from products that will reach 100M users.
OpenUX is a collective of product and user researchers helping teams build widely adopted, delightful, and valuable web3 applications. We invest in research, training, and other projects that proliferate the meme that user research is a public good.
Our launch is inspired by many institutions who’ve come before us. As a metalabel producing research artifacts, we aim to meet standards set by W3C, Nielsen Norman Group, and Other Internet. As a decentralized network of web3 contributors, we’re motivated by our colleagues at VectorDAO and Water & Music.
Towards our mission, our operations are structured as follows:
Just as many founders benefit from financial literacy training, we believe many web3 builders would benefit from product discovery training. OpenUX is assembling a team of some of the brightest user research and discovery experts to lead seminars, office hours, and training for teams on the following subjects:
Recruiting a relevant user base
Writing testable assumptions and hypotheses
Conducting unbiased interviews
Designing actionable experiments
Running a cost-effective discovery process
If you’re interested in joining trainings in these subjects, we’d love to hear from you.
OpenUX has been running private research studies for crypto protocols and startups. Today we’re excited to announce our first public study through the NEAR Foundation.
If you’re interested in working with us on a research study, please tell us more about your project.
We’re also recruiting researchers to collaborate with us on client studies and other projects. If you’re a researcher with capacity for work in 2023 and you feel aligned with this post, we’d love for you to apply to do research with OpenUX.
Today, many permissionless DAOs and developer ecosystems are recognizing the value of community empowerment over short-term information asymmetry. In pursuit of user research as a public good, OpenUX is publishing open and anonymized studies and encouraging our partners to do the same.
We believe that a subset of user research insights—especially those rooted in deductions on human behavior—can be extremely valuable to other builders. We also recognize that most published research today is neither accessible nor actionable for most teams. OpenUX will spend 2023 collaborating with partners to make our research more digestible and reusable for web3 builders.
If you do research with a web3 product or community, let’s talk about collaborating!
There are many ways to get involved with OpenUX:
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