In 2017, Blockfolio was the most popular mobile app for cryptocurrency portfolio management & price tracking. I worked on a redesign of the app as part of a course I took at Hanyang University, where the objective was to propose business goals, conduct user research & propose improvements to the UI/UX of an app you used.

Redesigning a Crypto Portfolio App

Blockfolio was the most popular mobile app for cryptocurrency portfolio management & price tracking globally (at the time of writing).

App Redesign Process

  • Propose Business Goals
  • Preliminary Research to gather insight on how users used the app
    - Identify pain points faced by users
    ‍- Identify what users prioritized or wanted
  • Establish App Redesign Goals based on insights & redesign UI/UX


Simplifying the Crypto Tracking Experience

Towards the end of 2017, the crypto market hit all-time highs.

Blockfolio also saw a significant increase in usage & number of downloads. Blockfolio's index was used at one point to determine market sentiment.

I used this as a starting point to establish Blockfolio's business goals

Business Goals

  • Capitalize on the growing interest in crypto
  • Simplifying the existing app experience
  • Maintain full functionality for existing users
BTC Market Cap 2017. Source: CoinGecko

Analyzing App Weaknesses

Existing App Weaknesses were summarized as follows: UI Inconsistencies, Unclear Affordance, Inconvenient Navigation, Indistinct Visual Identity


Qualitative Interviews

I began with a set of qualitative open-ended questions to establish how users currently used the app & what they felt about the experience.

"What do you mainly use this app for?"
To find out main function(s) that people use

"What is the first thing you do when you launch the app?"
To find out what is the most important function(s)

"What is the most useful feature?"
To find out what is the most important function(s)

"What is the least useful feature?"
To find out what is the least important function(s)

"What features would you like to see implemented?"
To find out what function(s) are missing or lacking

"If you had a magic wand, how would you change this app?"
To find out what would make people want to use this app more


Task Analysis

After asking users the initial research questions, I came up with a set of tasks & observed users as they attempted to complete them. This was to gain insight into
1) what users thought was the correct way to perform certain tasks
2) pain points that users encountered while performing typical functions on the app.

Please try to perform the following tasks on the app:

• Go to the News page

• Change the currency from USD to SGD

• Look at the price chart for LTC over the past 1 year

• Add a 1 time alert for BTC/USD on the ‘Coinbase’ exchange when price is below USD$5000

• Add a transaction to the portfolio: BUY 100 LTC on the ‘Bitttrex’ exchange on the 10 October 2017


Affinity Diagram

While I was interviewing the users, I asked them to verbalize their thoughts out loud as they were navigating the app.



Based on the results gathered. I crafted 3 personas that represented archetypes of users who would use Blockfolio: the beginner investor, the serious trader, the crypto enthusiast.


23 years old
Penultimate Business Student
Strong interest in finance & crypto
Juggles school with his interest a few times a week
Portfolio value of $5,000


48 year old
Retired businessman
Got into crypto trading recently as a hobby
Dabbles in crypto a few times a month
Portfolio value of $50,000


31 years old
Works at top accounting firm
Experienced financial analyst
Trades on a daily basis, keeps abreast of latest news
Portfolio value of $500,000


Survey Analysis & Redesign Goals

The primary functions of the app are:
Check Portfolio, Monitoring prices

The other functions that are supplementary but not necessary:
Price Notifications, Latest News Stories

People find frustration with the following areas in order of significance:
Navigation, Visuals, Text

The results gathered suggested that users were generally satisfied with the overall functionality of the app, but felt that it would be better if the app experience could be simplified.

App Redesign Goals

  1. Simplify the user experience for beginners: focus on 2 most important functions: Portfolio & Prices
  2. Address existing weaknesses of app UIUX in 3 key areas: Consistency, Affordance, Convenience
  3. Create a distinct visual identity to differentiate Blockfolio from competitors

Initial Prototype

Based on the above app redesign goals, I worked on a first draft of the redesign, built a simple interactive prototype on Invision

Then I proceeded with hi-fidelity mockups based on user feedback from this session.


Refreshing the Portfolio Screen

Based on the feedback, it seemed that the Portfolio Page was a critical component of the user experience since it allowed the user to perform the two most important functions: 

1. Portfolio: check total portfolio value, check value of held coins

2. Prices: check price & % increase/decrease of individual coins

Establishing the 'Visual Anchor': Total Portfolio Value

Back in 2015 when we launched what we were trying to do was super simple. Let’s just make tracking crypto easy. Let’s make an app where ... within a split second, you could see how your total portfolio was doing

- Edward Moncada, Blockfolio Founder & CEO

Reducing the 'Intimidation Factor'

For the old design, beginner users found the main screen intimidating.

I felt this was an issue of perception. i.e portfolio screen look like a spreadsheet.

Replacing Table Borders with Tiles

I experimented with a switchable 'tile' view

In the end, I didn't implement 'Tile View', but I retained the tiles which  signaled clickability.


Simplifying Navigation & Onboarding

Portfolio as first page; remove Login

Previously, users were greeted with a login screen on first launch.

Since having an account wasn't necessary to perform the main functions of the app (portfolio, prices), I decided to make Portfolio the first screen; establishing it as the Main screen/Homepage of the app.

Simplified Navigation

Moved the buttons for primary functions from the top corner to a dedicated Bottom Nav Bar, which made it much more accessible.

Nav bar now persists between all screens

Kept the three dots/hamburger menu at the top

Added the name of the existing screen prominently at the top, e.g. 'Portfolio' so that users know which page they're on.


Reworking Secondary Screens

I maintained the same set of design principles for all other screens;

Signaling affordance: things that can be interacted with (date select, time range, exchange etc.) now indicate so to the user

Clear Hierarchy: using background colors & font sizes based on relative importance of information


Nonspecific UI Improvements

Icons & Glyphs

  • Refactored the Alert icons to eliminate confusion between triggered alert, untriggered alert, no alert states.
  • Added notification badge for icons where appropriate, i.e. alert notifications.
  • Selected more appropriate glyphs for Portfolio, Charts, News, Alerts
  • Displayed Blockfolio 'capital B' logo prominently on all screens for brand recognition

Color Palette


I started with a few B/W variants; retained the color scheme of the existing app.

Users commented that the app still looked boring & bland.

Accent Color

I used an accent color (sparingly) to help give the app a distinct visual identity

Initially I went with Blue/Green since these were associated with trust/money.

Ultimately, I went with Orange, the same color as Bitcoin's logo which most people associate with crypto.


Limitations & Lessons Learnt

As this was my first time going through the full UI/UX design process, I felt that there was much room for improvement. Due to being a university course, there were some inherent limitations to the project as well.

Limited pool of users for interview

The users I interviewed consisted of a class of fellow UI/UX coursemates & some school friends I knew who were actively into crypto.

This meant the responses fell into two categories; they came from complete beginners who had not used the app previously, or people who were experts. The experts were generally satisfied with the app to the point I wasn't able to get significant insight from them. The beginners focused a lot on visuals since they lacked domain knowledge to comment on app function.

Operating on assumptions

Given that this was a hypothetical project for a university course, many decisions were predicated on assumptions. e.g. assuming that the target audience were actually unhappy with the app in the first place, assuming optimistic market sentiment leads to more new users etc.

Don't assume the user knows what they want

Some users asked for a specific feature (e.g. Login screens, Welcome screens) which turned out to be a hindrance to the UX. When users ask for features or what they want, its important to understand why they asked for it & what are the needs they are trying to meet by asking for the feature. Then you design to address the need.

Establishing the right goals early is critical

User research is important because it helps you determine what the right goal is. If you work on faulty premises, you end up hurting the company ROI and wasting valuable resources. Thus, always allocate sufficient resources to defining goals & prioritizing them well.

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