I came to Coinbase six months ago as a design manager, and there were many reasons I knew Coinbase was the right place for me. But a long-time love of crypto was not one of them. Rather, I’ve always been drawn to simplifying the complex. And blockchain is complex.
“Almost every time I speak, a woman comes up to me and says she didn’t think crypto was for someone like her, until I said you didn’t have to be an expert, and made it sound accessible.”
— Connie Yang, Coinbase Design Director
Blockchain technology has the potential to change the world by expanding and democratizing access to a new and improved financial system that works for everybody rather than the few. It has the potential to dramatically change the financial landscape, by allowing people to instantly get loans, easily send and receive money across borders and without fees, and much more. Women should participate in that system — and more importantly, they should help build it.
From a design perspective, blockchain is reminiscent of the early days of internet; it’s filled with acronyms, passionate developers, and a lot of open questions, such as what will this all lead to? It’s easy to get twisted up in all that is complicated with crypto and blockchain. That complication is a call to action for designers; we can and should be using all of our tools to simplify the complex, and make this technology accessible to everyday users.
Just think: how much technology is “under the hood” in what we live and work with? How much do we really need to know? Does an average person ever think about what happens when they pay with a credit card? Or how the internet works when we browse the web? How do we get to the state where it does not matter how blockchain works, rather what matters is how seamlessly we are using the technology?The same goes for design in crypto. Let’s stop focusing on how complicated this is and instead shift attention to how do we use our design craft to simplify and make the complex disappear all together.
Crypto needs women designers as well as designers from all diverse backgrounds in order to create the new financial technology that works for all people. Let’s use our design craft to simplify one of the most complex problems out there today. Don’t think this may not be for you. If you are not familiar with it, from the distance it may not look approachable. But once you are here, what was once complex transforms into everyday problem solving by leveraging your design craft.
We’re working hard to bridge this gap and bring more women designers onboard. Making it look approachable and accessible to all. As a part of this effort, we were inspired to start a series of design events at Coinbase — catered to women. These events are an opportunity for female designers and design leaders to connect and learn from each other and also ask unfiltered questions about blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
We hosted our first event a couple months ago. Over the course of the evening we discussed design-related topics over dinner and drinks. We shared experiences and reflected. The Coinbase design team is already planning our next Women in Design event for later this year. If you’re a designer in San Francisco, and interested in joining, sign up here to get notified.