Intro to Arcana’s Design Universe and our 7 Principles of UX Design

Intro to Arcana’s Design Universe and our 7 Principles of UX Design

Darkweb v2.0 public release is here

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What has changed in our latest release?

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All new features available for all public channel users

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Coding collaboration with over 200 users at once

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Real-time code save every 0.1 seconds

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This blog post is a part of our series on ‘Design at Arcana,’ an attempt to give you a sneak peek into how we approach design, what works for us and what doesn’t, and how we arrived at where we currently are. After we give you a brief account of how we created the design language for Arcana, we will present the seven principles of our UX design. These principles are influenced by Ann Cavoukian’s ‘Privacy of Design’ approach.

Who inspires our design? Industrial designers Jony Ive and Dieter Rams, and architects Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, and Bjarke Ingles, who have each pushed the limits of their fields.

As our website is being revamped at the moment and is nearing its launch, it seemed like the best time for posting a guide to understand what we at Arcana consider good design.

How We Arrived at Arcana’s Design Universe

The Inception

When we’re designing an interface, what we’re actually doing is designing a micro-environment that has its own rules and behaviours. In our case, we needed to define what the light source is, what the surfaces are, what the gravitational effects are, and even what the behaviours are for each element. For example, land-based mammals on earth are mainly four legged because it’s the most efficient model to navigate such an environment. But go to the oceans and the shapes of the creatures suddenly adopt a different model that suits that environment.

Inspiration for Elements

So when designing a new environment, albeit a digital interface for an application where no rules exist, it’s best to begin by designing the fundamentals of the space rather than from an element-first approach. Contrary to popular opinion, constraints are good. These constraints define what works and what doesn’t. It can help us easily identify things that fit from those that don’t and get us out of the subjective realm. This allows us to define not only the elements that we can imagine today but also the ones that can come to life in future.

And good design is simply something that holds together well and lasts as long as possible without corruption. Just like in real life.

Below are the elements we arrived at while translating our Inspiration into Design.


Shapes and Figures

Spheres are all around us in the form of planets, molecules, and atoms. A supermassive black hole, the best expression of the phenomenal power of negative space, is a dark sphere. A photon of light bursting through space at speeds that defines the edges of our understanding of the universe is best thought of as a sphere. Dust clouds have been coalescing in a cosmic dance to form a sphere, just like bits of information come together to form an idea.

Defining the Design Language

So, when thinking of what the base unit of our design language should be, it was obvious that it needed to be a sphere. It was natural to think about Storage of Information as a glowing sphere. It’s easy to understand the identities of anonymous entities in the form of dark spheres. It was simple to visualise resilient information as a sphere disappearing into a wormhole in one place to appear again in another part of Arcana’s space-time continuum.

For Arcana, we’ve modelled the environment as a world of information as it was — a dark space where concepts, credentials, and characters are represented as spheres — where there is only a hint of gravity and only when up close. It’s Schrödinger’s space where things exist because someone is observing them. If not, they fade away. Ephemeral and timeless all at once, as information is. The horizon may or may not exist. Surfaces form from the dark when required and fade away when we don’t. It is a private space, but things light up when they interact with other things because there is joy in the interaction and the expression. But there is a quiet, unyielding resistance to surveillance and censorship. And a human is hurtling through this space, conjuring existence through their power of observation.

With these broad brush strokes on the canvas, we hope to go forward and paint a detailed universe for Arcana.

We call this world “Spatial Gloss”.

Mood Board

The following is a mood board that largely influenced our thinking.

The Seven Principles of UX Design

This is a simple set of guidelines that influences the design of Arcana’s applications. The principles are also influenced by Privacy by Design principles by Ann Cavoukian.

#1 Be Transparent

There are a lot of things about the crypto world that are unfamiliar to the larger developer user base. Making every effort to ensure the user understands what they are doing will engender trust.

#2 Use intelligent defaults

Wherever possible, use defaults that work for most people and allow the user to make a change if required.

#3 Have one way to do something

To simplify things, it would be best to have one way to achieve something. It makes explaining the interface easier, training easier, and the support easier. Alternative ways that lead to achieving the same function are okay in situations only where it’s obvious.

#4 Design for non-crypto natives

While we will begin by addressing the needs of the crypto-natives, we will eventually need to address the needs of all developers, as Arcana should be a real alternative to traditional storage services.

#5 Prevent errors

Everything in the world of crypto is technical and complicated. We need to design in such a way that the interface is forgiving and allows users to recover from errors in case they end up making them.

#6 ‘Listen’ to what users need

Building exactly what users need (not want) will engender loyalty. An application interface has the power to “listen” to the users and we should find ways to use it to do so.

#7 Build a community

The success of Arcana depends on adoption. As adoption is driven by a strong community, it is necessary to utilize every opportunity to foster an active community.

While we have given you a quick rundown of our guiding UX principles above, in the upcoming blog post, we will dive deeper into each principle and how you can apply them in your own design process.

About Arcana Network

Arcana is the Web3 Infra to manage your data layer. Web3 App and wallet developers use Arcana’s SDK to authenticate users by generating wallets with Social and Passwordless Auth, Store Encrypted Data, and Manage Access. Built for Ethereum and EVM based chains, with Arcana’s privacy stack, developers can build secure and privacy-preserving apps with a seamless user experience.

Arcana has raised 2.7Mn USD from some of the leading investors and founders in the ecosystem such as Balaji Srinivasan, Founders of Polygon, Woodstock, Republic Crypto, and Digital Currency Group.

Watch out for Arcana’s upcoming Testnet and Mainnet in 2022.

Official Links: Website | Telegram | TG Announcement | Twitter | Medium