An Open Letter to MetaMask


Dear MetaMask Team,

I think your product is great.

Blockchain is an incredibly complex technology, and you’re doing everything you can to make it user-friendly.

Now it needs to be made even more user friendly.

We recently launched our BMJ Reward Token, a blockchain-based reward program, and initially supported only one wallet: MetaMask.

Our logic was simple. In the world of web3 wallets, MetaMask was the most user-friendly, the most well-known and the most widely used. What we didn’t expect was how confusing your product would be to our users.

These are not unusual: our average investment is over $200,000 in cryptocurrency. Again, we spent a lot of time and energy supporting our users through MetaMask setup and installation – if the goal is a Web3 wallet for the world, you’re not there yet.

As a team at the forefront of MetaMask support, here are a few simple things that will make a big difference – including addressing the root cause of many of your problems.

Let’s start with a simple question first. What is MetaMask’s strategy?

netscape-browser
MetaMask today.

“The Netscape Moment”

At the beginning of the World Wide Web, the first fallout was around the drag battle. Web browser.

As it became clear that the web was going to change the world, everyone wanted to have the software that ran it. The epic battle between Netscape and Internet Explorer is the stuff of legend, and Microsoft became famous for its antitrust suit.

It is very clear that Web3 wallets, the gateway to Blockchain, will have a similar battle. In other words, this is your “Netscape moment”.

Just like in the early days of the internet, your core user base today is geeks and wonks. (This is also evident when reading your Community forums.) But look at the norms that review your product, for example on Trustpilot.

A word: oof.

I understand that this technology is not only incredibly complex, but also new. I also understand that you spend a lot of time and money on support in addition to fighting scammers using the MetaMask name.

Again, there is a big question about your strategy: Do you want to be the leading Web3 wallet for cryptocurrencies or for all of us?

From my point of view, this is your root cause: you go for the geeks, not the rest of us.

By default, you spend your time tracking down every obscure feature request from a cryptocurrency that actively contacts you – and miss out on the huge untapped potential of the silent masses (until they leave the dreaded Trustpilot review).

Some of the decisions made at MetaMask confuse me. Why on earth are you funding grants? Why do you sponsor art shows? Why not spend 100% of your time and money? making the world’s most user-friendly Web3 wallet?

You may not be aware of the incredible competition you face. Because if you had any imagination, you’d trim all the fat, put your head down, and laser your way to mass adoption.

It probably goes all the way back to Joe Lubin, CEO of ConsenSys, the owner of MetaMask. Don’t you know that this product is the shining gem of Web3? We would invest in it if we could (and we do there is we invested in it because our products are interconnected).

Who drives MetaMask’s business strategy? If you don’t have a world-class manager who has scaled consumer software globally, please change the team. Double down on UX and UI. Get rid of art shows. Stop understanding.

Big tech companies, browser companies and fintechs will all have some version of a Web3 wallet. You have to defeat them major structural changes it needs to be done on MetaMask to bring it to the masses. Please start on Monday.

install metamask

Back to First Principles

Again, the bottom line from our outside perspective is that you’re developing for cryptocurrencies, not the rest of us. You let them drive your product roadmap.

Blockchain is dominated by technically savvy people who will trick you with obscure use cases. “Develop this feature,” they say, “I and only I will use it.”

On the other hand, this is what thriving looks like for the rest of us: you put a ton of money into focus groups. You find ordinary users in a room or on Zoom and ask them how to do very simple things. Like installing MetaMask. They buy their first ETH. Conducting the operation.

You look. You listen. You record sessions so others can watch and listen. You do it again and again and again. With hundreds of people who are not blockchain experts.

This is how you make MetaMask the Web3 wallet that we are proud to introduce to our customers. They don’t need a cross chain bridge. They don’t need to evolve on test networks. They just need:

  • Install MetaMask
  • Display BMJ tokens
  • Redeem their BMJ tokens

This is so. The simplest use cases possible. Listening to our customers (and our customers are your customers), here are a few specific areas to work on to get back to those first principles.

metamask toolbar

Get rid of the 3 second delay.

Every time you click on the MetaMask browser extension (we used both Firefox and Chrome), there is a three-second delay to open the wallet.

three. Second. Do not be late.

Over time, this delay grows from a minor inconvenience to a shoe irritation. This makes you want to open MetaMask because this Three. Second. Do not be late.

If you go to another window, the wallet closes, then another Three. Second. Do not be late.

My concern is that Three. Second. Do not be late. It is one of the unconscious reasons that people will grow up hatred MetaMask. We all have examples of these “small frustrations” that turned into huge ones (see Joel Spolsky’s popular blog about The Bakery).

Google returns searches millisecond. This is the standard. I’m sure the Trinity has a fascinating technical reason. Second. Do not be late. But I really don’t care. Please open MetaMask immediately.

Invest in human-centric UI.

One of the best things about MetaMask is that you can actually display the gas bill in USD:

metamask-gas fee

Your reviews show that some users hate it because they think so your fee, but it’s absolutely the right thing to do: you’re transparent about the cost of transacting with users.

It’s human-centered design: that’s it our money, after all.

Please bring the same user interface philosophy to the rest of the MetaMask experience. For example, after installing, MetaMask presents you with this confusing drop-down menu. How many average people will switch networks?

metamask-login

Once they’re logged in, you’re presented with six things: The MetaMask logo (does nothing), a confusing network drop-down menu, a list of Accounts, a cryptic “Not Connected” message, and a scary-looking wallet address. , then the hamburger menu for “Account Options”.

This is your product’s home screen!

metamask-homescreen

This is a mess.

I’ve been using MetaMask for several years and still can’t remember where to find the Settings. (Click on the circular pie chart that appears as a symbol, of course.)

Good UI is relentlessly streamlining and eliminating. It’s about you to hidewhat not you to show. I know you have already hidden a lot. Hide it even more. Geeks won’t like it, but the rest of us will.

Peel it off! Simplify! Make cryptocurrency invisible!

I could go screen by screen at this point, but you get the gist. Design for people.

Adapt the MetaMask experience across all browsers and mobile devices.

As we answered questions from users, we wrote step-by-step instructions on how to use MetaMask – and even created a tutorial video. The problem is what we discovered MetaMask is not supported in every browser. (No Safari? Come on.)

Then there’s Brave, which has its own wallet that you’ll need to disable first. If you want cryptocurrency reliability, you should work with Brave.

The mobile version of MetaMask is still completely different. This is a great scent. While many users prefer mobile, we are just beginning to migrate users to desktop.

Please keep the basic practices consistent across platforms, i.e. installing MetaMask, displaying tokens, and redeeming tokens.

Add custom icons with one click.

Remember that your customer is not just the end user, but the developers and builders (like us) who integrate MetaMask into their products.

We wanted a “surprise and delight” experience where our premium members would find verses in their MetaMask wallet every month, but guess what?

For our users to actually see BMJ tokens, that they haveit is a complex process that involves inserting full smart contract address. It would be easier if we could just send them a link: “Click here to view BMJ badges.”

Please enable adding new tabs with one click, so it’s not like router configuration.

bmj-token-metamask
We want to reach it with one click.

Summary

It is easy to criticize; construction is difficult.

But we wanted to do our work in the strongest possible way, because – although we don’t have an official partnership, we are kind of a partner. We trust MetaMask as the gateway to our product, the BMJ Reward Token.

For our users, MetaMask and the BMJ token are the same “experience”.

If MetaMask is hard to use, our entire product is hard to use. The more you improve MetaMask for everyday users, the easier it will be to surprise and delight our Premium members.

(Conversely, if a competing wallet came out tomorrow that was 10 times easier to use, we’d ditch MetaMask in a heartbeat.)

We are aligned with our mission: to make blockchain and cryptocurrency accessible to everyone. There is the beginning of a great harvest. Don’t get distracted by the power users who drive your product strategy and force your developers to chase rabbits. Build it for the rest of us.

This, the MetaMask team, is how you will ultimately outperform your competition.



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