In this episode, our host, Max Hillebrand, sits down with the head of Wasabi Wallet’s UI team, Dan Walmsley, who is currently spearheading a team of 5 to revamp Wasabi’s UI for the upcoming Wasabi Wallet 2.0 release. The duo discusses what led Dan to contribute to open-source software, his interesting introduction to Wasabi Wallet and his expectations for Wasabi Wallet 2.0 and so much more.
Read the podcast highlights below.
On Working on Wasabi 1.0 with Nopara73 and L.Ontivero in Lisbon.
After Dan started working on Avalonia, his journey with Wasabi Wallet began. In 2018, He was contacted by Nopara73 with an interesting proposition of shortening his vacation time to work on Wasabi Wallet in Lisbon Portugal, a mere few weeks before Nopara73’s presentation at the 2018 Building in Bitcoin conference.
“I met up with Adam, Lucas as well, and I was pretty impressed. And I was like, oh, these guys have flown from the other side of the world to meet me, to find out about Avalonia. And this was kind of like the first time I’ve met anybody, in person, from the sort of Avalonia community or anybody that was building anything with Avalonia. So for me, it was like a pretty exciting adventure and on his own.
So now it’s more than just some people that you just type in a box to, you know, these are actual personalities that you get to know. And, that was, that was really nice. So, Adam sort of tried to explain the concept of what he was doing and what it was. And obviously for somebody that is new to Bitcoin, obviously it was a lot to take in, didn’t fully understand it at first. But, I could see that as you say, he basically built a lot of the code, so he’d done all the engineering and the research to actually implement all of this stuff and it was basically missing the UI.
Basically, we were in a small flat, and me and Lucas would sit around the kitchen table and Adam told us his ideas about how the UX might work and we just went at it like one piece at a time and it was pretty intense. We were working really fast to put stuff together. I think it might’ve been three weeks from nothing until we had something that was at least demonstrable and functional.
If Adam hadn’t already done all the work that he’d done three weeks would have been impossible, so a lot of the stuff had already been done and that was mainly purely building the UI and yeah, and it was really good because obviously, I had so many questions about, Bitcoin, you know, I just had to be like a sponge learning everything. And we would sort of go for these long lunches, me and Lucas and Lucas would tell me absolutely everything that he knows. And I was asking him probably the same question anybody that’s new is asking, you know, over and over again. And he was really patient and explained everything in detail. And, and that was really cool for me.”
On Deciding to Change Wasabi’s UI
Though Wasabi’s initial design was based on Nopara73’s vision of a privacy-focused bitcoin wallet and had a targeted audience of Bitcoin’s early adopters and technical users who understood the principles of bitcoin and Coinjoining, the UI has served its purpose and it’s now time for an upgrade – Wasabi Wallet 2.0, which according to Dan, is completely different and a lot more refined.
The fundamental issue is that we’ve ended up with some slightly redundant UT concepts in there that are technically now needed and after a while people got used to it and people started talking about our features and things that we could do with Wasabi. It started getting to the point where Okay, maybe we’ve gone a far as we can with the current UI and as well it is important to remember that in the beginning there were not many users for Wasabi and I guess it was kind of an experiment – I don’t think anybody could’ve imagined that it was gonna get to where it is today. You know, maybe Adam did, but I didn’t imagine. I quickly realized that it probably was going to be once I started to understand.
The current UI that has served a very important purpose, which is it got us up and running very quickly, it’s become stable reasonably quickly, and lots of people are using it, but now it’s got to the point where, okay, we’re now this successful wallet, and we’re able to provide all these features. Would we have done the UI the same now if we’d known this was the position where we’re going to be a few years ago? And, in my opinion, we would have had similar concepts, but the UI would probably be quite different, which is why we’ve started work on Wasabi Wallet 2.0 and the great thing is now we’ve got lots of resources. So we’ve got UI designers, UX designers, a whole team just for the UX and implementing that. And that’s the direction we’re going in now.
“Now we start from a design. We will spend a lot of time on the design refining how the UI is gonna look, how it’s gonna be laid out, how the user is going to interact with what the user experience is around a certain feature or of the product. So there’s a lot more time available and we’re not rushing to get to the next conference in a few weeks. We’ve got months to spend on it. “
Wasabi’s UI will not be the only noticeable feature change with the upcoming Wasabi 2.0 release. Read our previous blogpost to see what’s coming and listen to the full episode below to hear more about Dan’s work.
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