The Interledger Community 🌱

Karissa McKelvey
Karissa McKelvey

Posted on

Decentralization Off The Shelf β€” Grant Report #1

Project Update

We are currently producing a library of resources, assets, and patterns to support the design and development of better user-facing applications that are backed by decentralized technologies. We have done research and testing on use cases and user stories for Web Monetization, as well as interviewed 8 expert design researchers. We are on track to ship the first version of the pattern library in March, as well as an additional set of 5 patterns in April.

Progress on objectives

Research: We came into this project with little understanding about Web Monetization and the Interledger Protocol. Although this somewhat outsider's perspective has helped us see new user pain points with new insight, we needed to first understand the ecosystem at a deeper level. Our research strategy was to first map the ecosystem of stakeholders around web monetization, and then pinpoint key organizations that have significant influence in the space. We then chose to interview designers and researchers from these organizations, in order to facilitate a "research of all researchers" point of view. This allowed us to more quickly get up to speed by leveraging the already deep-seated knowledge of these experts, who had already done significant on-the-ground research themselves with users and developers.

Over the course of three months, from November to February 2021 we had the following research objectives:

  • To understand what's technically possible now & near future in decentralized identity systems
  • To find other projects and people that we should be talking to
  • To learn more about design patterns that already exist in the space
  • To understand security, privacy threats, risks
  • To build trust with the interviewees

We interviewed 10 web monetization experts and ran a small workshop (less than 10 people) with designers and product managers of decentralized technologies that include a web monetization component. This workshop focused on onboarding and identity, and helped us refine a few design patterns we had been investigating as part of our earlier research.

Patterns Website: We are working closely with our web developer to create the new pattern library website, which will launch in March for Mozfest, where we will present on the project. This involved three paper prototype iterations with our design researcher. We are now working on patterns that directly came from the earlier research phases and are related to success of websites, applications, and browsers that incorporate Web Monetization or the Inteledger Protocol.

We also have put together a glossary that defines some common words that are used to mean the same thing in different applications (e.g., seed phrase and passphrase). Through juxtaposition, we will illustrate the choices available to designers when crafting their prototypes, as well as the benefits to converging on a single concept.

Key activities

Research findings summary. In March, we will release our research findings in written format.

Website with at least 10 design patterns related to the following topics. The website is about to be released and the contents with design patterns can be found on the DOTS GitHub repository.

  1. Secret sharing (for account recovery)
  2. Profile details (for web monetization relationships)
  3. Networks of Networks (for bootstrapping trust in web monetization)
  4. QR Code Verification (for multi-device)
  5. Cautious Optimism (for web monetization relationships)

3 case studies. We will be releasing the case studies on our website in the next month or two.

Communications and marketing

  • We gave two talks at the Internet Archive's monthly Decentralized Web meetup, where we discussed our progress to date on our pattern library research & development.
  • We are about to release a public-facing research summary in mid-March*,* which we will promote on our high-engagement design community of over 700 designers at Simply Secure as well as on social media.
  • We also will be facilitating two workshops for Mozfest in the Decentralization Space, where our pattern library will be a reference point and showcased to over 50 participants.
  • When we launch the case studies and explanatory materials, we will do a virtual community meetup to unveil and demo the project, as well as connect users with each other in a discussion format.

What’s next?

We are on track to ship the first version of the pattern library in March, as well as an additional set of 5 patterns in April.

We also are running two workshops at Mozfest focused on onboarding and cross-functional communication, which was a main pain point we found in our research for Web Monetization. In Explain Decentralization to Me, participants will engage in a self-discovery process of their communication about decentralization technologies, with the goal of improving our overall approach across the ecosystem. In Designer meets Developer, participants will be matched with each other to discuss a problem or paint point they're encountering in their current project. Participants will leave with newfound insights on their problems β€” and we will get to understand any larger ecosystem patterns that emerge from the conversations.

We had initially planned to include a JavaScript library that would accompany the pattern library, so that teams could easily integrate these designs into their applications. During our research phase, we found that Web Monetization is so new that project teams don't have the proper mental models for how it works and how it can benefit their end-users. Thus, we decided to replace our deliverable for a JavaScript library with explanatory resources about new mental models for web monetization and decentralized identity. We believe this will be a crucial step in onboarding designers, developers, and product managers to understand how this technology works, how it could be integrated, and how it impacts their users.

What community support would benefit your project?

User testing! Since our users are product managers, developers, and designers who want to use decentralized technologies, it would be crucial to meet more of you! Please reach out to us at if you are interested in a short discussion and user test to see how we can improve our pattern library.

We'd also love to speak to designers who are new to decentralization β€” perhaps this project for Grant for the Web is their first interaction with these new ideas. We'd love to show you our explanatory resources and get your feedback to improve them for the broader design community.

Top comments (2)

chrislarry profile image
Chris Lawrence

Hi team! Can you post the details about your MozFest session as a separate post and tag it #mozfest. More details here (and in your inbox)

chrislarry profile image
Chris Lawrence

@okdistribute can you get us the details about all your Mozfests sessions. And if you have time to do a post about them and tag it #mozfest that would be amazing.