Multi-user apps and profiles in the near future?

#1

I have tried the connect test app and blockstack app, both still under development. Currently, it looks like Blockstack is moving away from multi-user apps and also from profiles as identities. Is this intentional?

It also looks like this move is removing the main motivation of having a Stacks chain, i.e. the BNS. How will BNS be used in the new connect library if at all?

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#2

Profiles and multi-user apps are definitely here to stay. However, I think profiles are going to receive less emphasis, since we’ve been noticing that a lot of users don’t bother filling them out. I’m not the one doing the user testing experiments so I can’t comment on the particulars, so I’ll let @markmhendrickson comment instead.

Definitely not – BNS is also here to stay. BNS is a crucial piece of infrastructure that binds user identifiers to their Gaia storage metadata. However, I think the new connect app is going to make it so users don’t need to do the full onboarding experience before they can get started using apps (again, going to let @markmhendrickson or @hank comment here, since they know more about this than I do).

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#3

Generally speaking, I’d caution against interpreting the lack of particular functionality in this new work as a sign we’re “moving away” from anything over the long-term.

We decided to redesign the onboarding experience in particular from the ground up since we believe it’s the most impactful part for the vast majority of users – and in most dire need of attention. Consequently, we paid little or no attention to anything that comes after onboarding in the user experience.

For example, we haven’t invested any energy in the profile creation or management experience. But that’s not because we have anything against it necessarily; we just didn’t find it was integral to an effective onboarding experience.

We’ll continue encouraging any users who want this post-onboarding functionality to use the existing Blockstack Browser in the meantime. We don’t intend to strip any of it out from there.

We’re also not looking to favor single-player apps over multi-player ones with this work. In some ways it’s easier to design for private single-player apps, since you don’t have to think through all the ways in which data is encrypted for multiple people.

However, we believe that people generally demand multi-player functionality from most apps over the long-term, even if they start off using them in a single-player fashion. So we expect to help developers navigate the design challenges with multi-player experiences going forward, perhaps by providing standard components that help users grant view, edit, etc. permissions for certain data in a privacy-guaranteed fashion.

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#4

To further clarify, everything @markmhendrickson said is backed by somewhat extensive user behavioral studies PBC has been doing on the onboarding experience. The design changes aren’t coming out of nowhere.

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#5

Yep that’s important to note. We’re essentially running every feature idea through prototyping and user testing these days instead of assuming what people want, whether they’ll understand or use it, etc. That process applies not only to this onboarding work but all other functionality they may encounter while using Blockstack apps.