July was another productive month for the UX team, with our main focus being on introducing Microblocks to both Stacks Wallets and the Stacks Explorer. This is one of the most anticipated features for Stacks 2.0 that allows transaction to process in just seconds instead of the typical ~10 minute confirmation time on the Bitcoin blockchain. We are looking to ship an initial implementation during the first half of August 🤞 and we will share more updates on Microblocks very soon.
But wait, there’s more! We’ve deployed improvements to our state management, improved our Ledger implementation, designed a new onboarding flow, and during the monthly hackathon we increased our test coverage by a lot!
✅ Second team hackathon: Shipping fast, often, and with confidence
As you may recall from previous team updates, the UX team runs a hackathon every single month with the goal of using the products we build. This month was an exception since we decided to take the three days to focus solely on improving the test coverage of Hiro’s web wallet.
Bruno Souza, one of the greatest Java engineers of all time, said that writing tests is like wearing a seat belt. If you want to drive really fast, you’ll want to wear more and better seat belts!
Moving fast allows us to be nimble: ship more often, iterate quickly, and since the wallet deals with highly sensitive data, deliver a high quality product safely and with confidence.
What was the result?
Unit tests went from 5% to more than 40% coverage, and there are now functional tests for almost all critical flows.
This is an ongoing process and we keep improving and adding tests as we ship code.
🚀 Microblocks and more!
Microblocks is a feature that impacts three projects that the team owns: the Stacks Explorer and two Stacks Wallets, but the bulk of the work has been done on the Explorer and web version of the wallet in particular.
In this first implementation, the web wallet will show in the activity feed both the anchor and microblock balances, with the anchor one being more prominent. If a transaction is in a microblock, it will show a new “lightning bolt” icon.
The explorer will inform whether a transaction has been included in a microblock or an anchor block, with icons and legend in the activity feed.
While working on the Explorer, we took the opportunity to leave the place better than we found it by making several code improvements, including an update to the state management.
Even though the new experience for users seems simple, this has been a large engineering and design undertaking, iterating to deeply understand how the API behaves and thoroughly testing different use-cases. These efforts helped us improve the guidance we provide to developers.
Desktop wallet Ledger updates
We have been working closely with the Ledger team on an update to remove the “developer mode” status of Stacks app for Ledger that will soon see the light of day. We have only one change to make then we’ll resubmit the app for re-review with an expectation for approval soon.
During July we worked on, perhaps, one of the most critical aspects of the Stacks UX: the onboarding experience.
The Stacks Wallet is the gateway to the Stacks ecosystem. Having a good onboarding experience that gives users a sense of what they’ll need to do in order to interact with an application is fundamental to building confidence and trust, directly impacting the overall conversion and retention rates for the ecosystem.
In this new iteration, we’ve explored the idea of helping users find apps, register names, buy STX and back up their Secret Key. Here is a preview:
We only have one chance to get a good first impression, and what we say and do can be the difference between having users feeling lost or welcome to our community.
🏅 Would you like to join the team?
Hiro’s UX team is, without a doubt, the most amazing team I’ve ever belonged to. Full of kind, proactive people that deeply care for the community we belong to, the product we build, and most importantly for each other.
We are looking for a Front End Engineer to help us create an inspiring, compassionate, and productive team that makes a name for itself in the crypto space!
If you want to spend your days working in a fully open source and remote environment, alongside the most brilliant minds in the crypto industry, please apply here.
🗓️ August plans
During August the priority is to ship a first iteration of microblocks. We’ll also be kickstarting the work to implement a new and amazing onboarding.