In this episode, we sit down with Amy Ngai, Product Designer at CryptoKitties. If you’re living under a rock and don’t know CryptoKitties, it’s one of the first Ethereum-based decentralized apps to gain some degree of mainstream adoption. It’s a game developed by Axiom Zen centered around breedable, collectible and adorable cats that are one-of-a-kind and 100% owned by you. In our conversation, we get an inside look at how the team behind this early success is tackling the challenges of designing intuitive experiences on top of blockchains, and get a peak at what is coming in the future.

Amy has been at Axiom Zen since before CryptoKitties was born, so it was great hearing what other things they work on at the company. It provides some good insight into what ingredients are good for fostering the type of environment where a project like this can come to fruition. We also really enjoyed getting a chance to hear what it’s like behind the scenes of a project like CryptoKitties and how the team has grown and evolved over time.

Hearing from user experience and design folks like Amy is critical at this stage of the crypto community’s development. We learned a lot from Amy about how the team thinks about user experience and design, as well as the approaches they are taking to overcome the notorious challenges of working with this technology. Check out this great discussion with Amy.


Show Notes

  • [1:07] Amy’s background at Axiom Zen and how that led to crypto.
  • [2:36] Overview of Axiom Zen and origins of CryptoKitties.
  • [5:27] What is CryptoKitties and what inspired it?
  • [9:03] How Amy’s view of blockchain and design for blockchain has evolved as CryptoKitties has grown.
  • [12:18] Big opportunities and challenges from a design perspective in crypto.
  • [14:28] UX patterns and best practices Amy’s observed thus far.
  • [18:03] User research and testing at CryptoKitties.
  • [22:31] Challenges with requiring users to interact with third parties like Coinbase and Metamask to use CryptoKitties.
  • [24:17] Recruiting and running user tests given range of regulatory environments and technical aptitude.
  • [26:20] Areas that CryptoKitties is looking to expand into in the future.
  • [30:53] How CryptoKitties thinks about competition as well as community.
  • [33:36] Team process and how it’s evolved as team has grown.
  • [36:57] Amy’s day-to-day.
  • [39:44] Size, composition and responsibilities of pods.
  • [42:42] The role of community managers for dapps.
  • [46:00] Tools used internally and externally.
  • [46:48] How the team thinks about the regulatory environments.
  • [52:03] Roadmap planning.
  • [54:37] User tracking and metrics used by the CryptoKitties team.
  • [57:09] Dynamics of open sourcing the CryptoKitties codebase and debating what is “decentralized enough”.
  • [1:00:08] Interesting tidbit about Amy.