Design Strategy

The target in developing and growing the IPFS user base is mass adoption. The user base is shifting and changing as the technology landscape does, month by month, year by year. There are stable trends though, mobile internet use, which continue to grow globally. IPFS if it is to succeed needs to be where people will use it and that is on their smartphones.

IPFS is an interesting position to expand in user adoption. As IPFS matures and the community grows, we need to look at in earnest how to involve users. That includes designing how they use IPFS in their digital lives today and tomorrow. The P2P market is hidden, and most users of it, whether with torrents or AirDrop, may not know they’re even using it. Users worldwide are ready for a usable P2P network where their identities and files are safe from tracking and exploitation.

The IPFS Mobile Design Guidelines are an essential step in making widespread adoption a reality. This will be a bridge between user needs discovered in research and building out IPFS. This will include design patterns, components and methods for an expanding community building better applications.

‌We needed to translate the guidelines into design. To do that we distilled the findings from the research and synthesised them into the Key Design Questions to begin looking at the design.

Key Design Questions

  • How might IPFS on mobile work seamlessly in sharing files with other mobile devices and the desktop?

  • How might IFPS on mobile be perceived as being a solid service users can trust? How might it be worth the investment in learning to use? Continuing to use?

  • How might IPFS on mobile provide even better file management than existing cloud services?

  • How might IPFS on mobile support viewing and playing of media files?

  • How might users be supported in knowing if necessary, where a file might be and who can access it?

  • How might we design notifications to best support users in their awareness of connection, syncing and sharing status?

  • How might we design around users' understanding or lack thereof that IPFS on mobile would involve them using a P2P network?

  • How might we make onboarding IPFS on mobile as fast as it is informational?

  • How might users be made aware that their use of IPFS on mobile will not create problems with battery life?

  • How might we design offline functionality in regular use on IPFS on mobile?

  • How might setting up and managing identity on IPFS on mobile be as easy as on cloud services while not posing security questions for users?

Design in practice

The design guidelines provide the necessary components and interaction and interface design frameworks for the IPFS community to grow. This is to unify thinking and best practices to make the broader efforts of a safer, faster, more open Internet a reality for users. It is only through consistent and collaborative efforts will the community and the user base grow and IPFS to succeed. We need to look towards an iterative, staged approach in moving towards establishing IPFS as a viable, usable and sustainable ecosystem.

The guidelines will serve as a constant and living guide to the evolving problem space. This will give the IPFS community something to help remember who and what they are designing and building for. These are guides, not instructions. They give enough flexible direction to support different IPFS implementations working towards the same usable, growing and sustainable ecosystem.