Case Study: 2Nickels Bitcoin — Kilobyte Studios

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I had the opportunity to work with a local Atlanta entrepreneur who is currently fighting to lead the Bitcoin revolution in the western world.

Tasked with developing the online presence for 2Nickels, a bitcoin ATM company located in the northeast United States, I set out on yet another journey to craft a beautiful and mobile-friendly user experience.

The Problem

Working in the bitcoin space was quite unique.  Crypto-currencies in general are a very misunderstood technology, so  we had to be very careful with their online presence.  2Nickels was also engaged in a very competitive expansion that would determine who controlled the majority of the bitcoin ATM market, so we had to move quickly.

After our initial consultation, the legs of the  problem became apparent:

  • 2Nickels needed somewhere that people could go to in order to do two things:
    1. Find the nearest bitcoin ATM; and
    2. Learn more about bitcoin ATMs.
  • The website needed to inspire confidence in the system as the public opinion of bitcoin largely volatile.
  • The website needed to explain what a Bitcoin ATM would do and how to use it.
  • They needed a solution fast so that they could remain competitive in the explosive market.

With this in mind, I hit the code editor straight away.

The Solution

I decided to take a unique approach to this particular solution: skip the wire-frames and jump straight into the designs.  This would save us about a week of time, and I could build something out that would look like a website almost immediately.

Here’s what I came up with:

 

mockup-initial-coinbtm

 

This hits on quite a few of the goals we were aiming for (and it only took me about 10 hours to put together), but it definitely still felt like something some was missing.

(FYI: the site designs were much bigger than this, but the top section really exemplifies the “feel” of the site.)

Let’s take a step back and look at the problem we we’re tackling:

  • 2Nickels needed somewhere that people could go to in order to do two things:
    1. Find the nearest bitcoin ATM; FAIL
    2. Learn more about bitcoin ATMs. PASS
  • The website needed to inspire confidence in the system as the public opinion of bitcoin largely volatile. PASS
  • The website needed to explain what a Bitcoin ATM would do and how to use it. PASS
  • They needed a solution fast so that they could remain competitive in the explosive market. PASS

The primary customer segment for this website was someone on their mobile phone that just wanted to find the nearest bitcoin ATM, but this current website requires users to scroll down more than halfway (see below) before they even realize that it’s a possibility.
mockup-initial-mid-coinbtm

With this in mind, I went back to the drawing board.

Conveniently, I was at that point reading through a great book on experience design: Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug.  It was here that I learned the value of getting your products in front of users ASAP.

With this in mind, I hit the streets and had a few people take a look at the designs and “tell me how they feel”.

They told me something that frankly should have been obvious from the start: “if you want me to find nearby bitcoin ATMs, why does any of this other stuff matter?”.

It was then that I learned something that I now apply to any business endeavor: don’t lose sight of the end goal.  We were so buried in discussions about making the site user-friendly, and building a positive tone for bitcoin that we lost sight of the initial purpose of the website.

if you want me to find nearby bitcoin ATMs, why does any of this other stuff matter?

With this in mind, I went back to the drawing board yet again and made one simple change:

 

mockup-final-coinbtm

 

Now I could safely say that these designs met all the goals we set out to achieve.

It felt really rewarding handing them off to the team!

 

showcase-2nickels

 

I mean, just look at that beauty.

Key Takeaways

So, after all the dust settled, what did I learn from designing this site?

(Well, you can probably guess at this point!)

But to wrap up, let me summarize them anyway:

  • Don’t let branding get in the way of business success.
  • Even if it makes sense strategically, skipping experience mock-ups will usually hurt more than doing them.
  • Biggest Takeaway: Get your products in front of users ASAP.  They will sometimes show you exactly how they want something built.

 

I'm currently available for work starting September 1st, 2016.

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