Heuristic Analysis

Neblio Stakebox: A Heuristic Analysis

The following review of the Neblio Stakebox is meant to serve as a friendly, yet, professional outside pair of eyes for the Neblio and Stakebox teams. It is based on a heuristic analysis and highlights a few issues surrounding the user experience of the Neblio Stakebox. 

A heuristic analysis, in brief, leverages established design principles (heuristics) to evaluate the user experience / usability of a product or interface. For more information on the heuristics used / cited in this review, please see Nielsen Norman Group's 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design.

Our mission at Chockablock is to help those working with blockchain technology ( 1 ) identify their product's barriers to adoption and ( 2 ) create a better user experience for existing and future users. We offer a full stack of consulting services in the areas of user research, usability testing, and information architecture. This review is done gratis for the cause. However, if the information proves useful, tips are most certainly welcome.


The above recording is of our initial interactions with the Neblio Stakebox but does not necessarily provide the same information as the review below. However, we encourage the Neblio and Stakebox teams to view the recording as it does provide a first-person perspective into an actual user's experience when setting up and using the device and wallet. 


1

The instructions are not easily accessible to users and lack the level of detail needed for beginners

Heuristic(s)

  • Help and Documentation
  • Aesthetic and Minimalist Design

Out of the box, users are not presented with any physical (printed) instructions for hooking up the actual Stakebox or setting up the Neblio wallet for staking. The only clue as to where users can find the instructions is located on the back of a text-heavy business card. Unfortunately, these cards do not even contain the word instructions on them. Further, the link provided on the card is not a direct link to the instructions nor is there any guidance as to were users can find the instructions if they do visit the link.

Yes, this image depicts a PIVX Stakebox. However, the packaging is the same for all Stakeboxes. 

Users who do manage to locate the Getting Started with Neblio Stakebox instructions will find that the instructions lack detailed explanations of what the user should see / expect while embarking on the various steps. Note: this issue has been found in the Getting Started instructions for other Stakeboxes. Unfortunately, this type of ambiguity puts users, especially those that are risk-adverse and/or less tech-savvy, in a precarious position where they are susceptible to making mistakes, getting off course, or abandoning the project altogether out of confusion and frustration.

It's understood that we are dealing with technology that is still in its infancy and, therefore, will require users to interact with and endure less-than-ideal interfaces and user experiences. However, this doesn't mean that those users who are less knowledgable or tech-savvy should be excluded or unable to participate in the advent of web 3.0, the internet of value. With well-crafted, detailed instructions any user, whether a seasoned blockchain enthusiast or a noob trying to get involved, should be able to get the Neblio Stakebox up and running.


2

The Application Script does not provide users with enough information about what to expect when it completes

Heuristic(s)

  • Error Prevention
  • Visibility of System Status

One of the first steps in setting up the Neblio Stakebox is launching the preinstalled file install-neblio-qt.sh. In brief, this file is an application script that downloads and installs the wallet as well as existing blockchain data. Providing the wallet upfront with this data reduces the amount of time it needs to spend syncing with the network in order to acquire its own copy of the blockchain.

Unfortunately, while this script is running, there is no indication of what the user should expect to happen when it actually finishes. Note: there are progress indications, which are great. However, there is nothing to inform the user that the window will close automatically once the script is complete. Further, to add to the ambiguity, there is a delay between the time the script displays 'Unpacking objects: 100% (9/9) done' (indicating that something has been completed) and when the window actually closes. This leaves the user in a state of ambiguity regarding what, if any, action they need to take and therefore at risk of taking action that might jeopardize the successful completion of the script.


3

The Wallet does not provide enough information to users upon launch regarding Synchronization

Heuristic(s)

  • Error Prevention
  • Visibility of System Status

Once the wallet file has been installed, the next step for users is to launch the wallet for the first time. When the wallet opens, it has not yet fully synced with the network. This is conveyed to the user both in the Stakebox instructions and via two red labels placed in the Overview section that read "(out of sync)".

Unfortunately, there is no indication to the user that the wallet will begin to sync to the network on its own. Eventually, a progress bar appears at the bottom of the wallet indicating that the wallet is importing blocks. However, during the time it takes for this process to begin, the user is left in a state of ambiguity regarding what, if any, action they need to take and therefore at risk of taking action that might jeopardize the successful completion of the script. Where they might ask themselves "Is everything OK?" or "Do I need to do something?" and are, therefore, at risk of taking premature or unnecessary action that might jeopardize the syncing process.


4

Users are not presented with enough upfront warning and direction during encryption process

Heuristic(s)

  • Error Prevention
  • Recognition rather than recall

Once the Neblio wallet has fully synced, users must encrypt their wallet. To encrypt the wallet, users create and enter a passphrase. Naturally, a wallet passphrase must be complex. It's a passPHRASE, after all, not a passWORD. However, this is a paradigm shift for users who are used to the current status quo of login credentials (i.e., the use of passwords they can remember but, if they do happen to forget, can easily reset via the now ubiquitous "I forgot my password" feature.)

Unfortunately, users are not provided any upfront warning about the importance of not losing their passphrase. The only warning comes after the user has already entered the passphrase twice and selected "OK." At this point, if the user has not written the passphrase down and selects YES (accidentally or not), their ability to access their coins is 100% dependent on their memory. 


5

Users cannot easily view a full wallet address

Heuristic(s)

  • Error Prevention
  • Consistency and standards
  • Recognition rather than recall

Once users have completed setting up the wallet for staking, they must send Neblio coins to the wallet via a wallet address provided under the Receive Tokens tab. Any user that's ever transferred money between bank accounts has a preexisting mental model of how this process should work for cryptocurrency. Here, a wallet address is analogous to an account number - except that it's an alphanumeric string as opposed to a set of numbers. However, what some new users may not understand is that cryptocurrency transactions are nonreversible and, therefore, anything that increases their chance of error is an absolute no-no.

neb transfer.001.jpeg

Now, there's a pretty good chance that many users (including ourselves and the participants we've observed) will be leveraging a separate computer to send Neblio tokens to the Stakebox wallet. This requires users to view the wallet's receiving address on one screen while typing it into another.

Unfortunately, when users open the Receive Token tab to view the provided wallet address, the full wallet address is truncated by four (4) characters by default. There is an affordance of (...) to the right of the address indicating that there is more; however, users unfamiliar with what wallet addresses look like might think that's just part of the address. Further, traditional mechanisms for adjusting column width (e.g., click/drag barrier between cells or expanding the window as a whole) do not reveal the full address. The only way to view the full address is not intuitive. We actually stumbled upon it by accident when recording a demonstration of how a user cannot view the full wallet address.

If users are unable to find the means to adjust the column within the wallet, the only other way they can access it is by using the Copy Address feature and pasting it into an outside application. This is unnecessary and confusing, and it puts users at risk of making errors that can result in a permanent loss of funds.