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As Design Director at Palm NFT Studio (now Candy), I led the Product Design team, and executed on UX/UI design throughout the development of a complex marketplace that facilitated the sale of NFTs, digital comics and other digital collectibles in partnership with DC Comics. I collaborated closely with the Product, Engineering, Creative, Marketing and Executive teams on this critical flagship launch within an extremely short timeline. The impetus and challenge of the user experience of this product was to make it as seamless and intuitive as a conventional e-commerce experience to remove friction for brand fans who were new to Web3/blockchain technology so the solution based on our hypothesis was to integrate credit card payments instead of a cryptocurrency wallet. Additionally, it also required parity with competing marketplace platforms for crypto-native users so we emphasized expected features like unique traits and mint numbers.

The first drop that was launched on the platform was the highly anticipated Bat Cowls Collection that featured 200,000 randomly generated unique 3D Bat Cowls that served as an access pass for NFT holders that came with a 2-year roadmap for perks, exclusive features and drops. The initial primary sale only resulted in 10,000 out of the 200,000 we projected to sell but an avid community of fans were trading with secondary sales in addition to the other NFT collections and digital comics.

In retrospect, I identified the cause of the lackluster initial sale: user research to validate product and design strategy was omitted due to time constraints. This led to me spearheading a UX research study with 62 participants in various cohorts ranging from NFT/Crypto Native to NFT/Crypto Skeptics and the entire gamut in between. What we learned from the study would have certainly altered the success of the Bat Cowls launch; in short, brand fans new to NFTs assumed they needed a cryptocurrency wallet to purchase a Bat Cowl which was a major barrier to entry. On the other side, NFT collectors did not appreciate the conventional method of payment and desired the option to purchase the NFT with a cryptocurrency wallet because they had expendable crypto but not fiat assets to play with. Basically, we missed the mark with both of our targeted user personas; had we taken the time to “measure twice, cut once” we would have seen a much better outcome.

Experiences & Flows

Onboarding Flow

The onboarding flow for the DC NFT Marketplace was designed to be seamless and intuitive without the friction of most blockchain products.  We decided to delay the KYC verification to the purchase flow to limit the barrier to entry for users just wanting to learn about the platform and peruse the collections.

Purchase & Sell Flow

I aimed to design the buy and sell workflows to mimic a conventional e-commerce experience since the target user personas were Batman and DC brand fans with limited to no knowledge or experience of NFTs or blockchain technology.  However, where we failed to communicate in the marketing and user education efforts was that they could purchase a collectible with just a credit card without needing a cryptocurrency wallet, which created a significant barrier to entry and prevented many would-be users from buying a Bat Cowl.

Reveal Flow

Watch the Reveal Flow

The reveal flow was the most fun I had designing this project.  I collaborated with a motion graphic artist on the creative team to create a video clip of a “Bat Crate” opening to reveal the Bat Cowl holder’s unique randomly generated NFT that showed each trait and its rarity on the reveal date.  It was a fan favorite.

Withdraw Flow

Another flow I designed was a way for users to withdraw their Palm credits after selling their NFT on the secondary marketplace. Users were able to purchase NFTs with credits or cash out the funds back to their bank accounts through ACH. We partnered with a KYC company called Sardine to verify the user's identity. As stated above, this removed the friction from the onboarding experience of new users.

Watch: More Videos of DC NFT Marketplace

Project: Design System

While we were busy building the DC NFT Marketplace, along with several other dropsites for DC and other entertainment and music clients, my team built a robust bespoke design system that utilized design tokens based on the Chakra UI library.  Design Systems are the common source of truth amongst product development teams; it allows developers to build new features efficiently and precisely removing all redundancies and ambiguity to achieve parity with the intended design.