UX Review: BOLT+
Last week I put out a Tweet asking the Crypto Twitter community to shill me their favourite mobile wallets in the blockchain space. One team that got a lot of praise was BOLT for the BOLT+ mobile app. After doing some research, I realised that this app was not actually their mobile wallet but was a very interesting app that has a genuine use case which I am going to deconstruct from a user experience perspective.
The community also made me aware that the ‘BOLT Pegasus’ app is the official mobile wallet which will be released on iOS in the near future. I look forward to taking a look at this app once it hits the App Store but for today’s article, I will dive into the BOLT+ app and touch on how it could potentially synchronise with Pegasus to make a smooth user experience.
But first, what is BOLT+?
BOLT is an operational, mobile focused video content platform centred on delivering live (e.g. Live TV, Premium Sports) and Trendy video highlights (<5 min in duration per clip) to emerging markets that are constrained by bandwidth. Today, we have users streaming our service on web, iOS and Android.
There are a number of features that create a genuine use case for humans around the world. What I find interesting about BOLT+ is how the team have created a piece of technology that has completely reconstructed the user experience in this sector. Firstly, users are able to stream live TV in HD at 250MB per hour. To make a quick comparison, streaming Netflix for 1 hour in HD can use around 3GB of data meaning that users can save a drastic amount of their data allowance. Although you may be reading this from a highly developed country wondering why this matters, this is a huge deal for the lesser-developed countries who do not have unlimited data/internet allowance in their household or within their phone contracts which completely changes the game for them. This has a massive impact on the user experience, putting BOLT worlds ahead of the average streaming service when it comes to usage.
The BOLT white paper defines the solution as a ‘mobile focused video platform’. I do feel that because of this, the solution may not meet user needs for everyone around the world. When watching live TV especially, many people will watch with family and therefore it isn’t practical to be watching on a smartphone. However, streaming via web browser on computers and laptops is a possibility but this still may not meet all user needs. I completely appreciate that the BOLT team cannot meet the needs of all users at a click of our fingers, but if this solution can scale to Smart TV’s, that would be a huge game changer across the world, in my opinion.
In todays world, streaming on our mobiles is becoming increasingly popular especially with the younger generation so I can definitely see how BOLT are catering to a growing audience and are planning for the future.
One feature that I think would take Bolt to the next level, is an abundance of high quality partnerships. If Bolt had the rights to show a range of worldwide live sports for example, that would catch the eye of not just blockchain enthusiasts, but the average sports consumer. That could be the first real sign of mass adoption that we see which is something that excites me. It’s clear that Bolt already have this in motion securing both Cricket and Rugby World Cup partnerships.
This has a huge impact on the user experience. A very standard and vague user requirement of this service would be:
“I would like to watch all TV, sports and content creators for a much cheaper cost”.
If BOLT are as ambitious as I believe they are, they could make this requirement a reality. I’m definitely eager to see where they take things!
A great place to start with the interface is the signing up process to BOLT+. The first thing that I noticed is that no bank details or address are needed. This is a big deal too many users who pay monthly subscriptions to watch live TV and are often felt unappreciated when their supplier suddenly bumps the price up. Already, the user is feeling at ease about the process. BOLT does require a telephone number but I feel that most users would rather supply a phone number than their personal bank details.
The Discover page.
The Discover page is simple yet effective as there isn’t an overwhelming amount of information to consume. It also adds a social media feel to it which caters to a wide range of users who will be familiar with features such as Instagram and Facebook stories which has been replicated on this page. I personally think that adding a ‘favourites’ option would be a good addition to the app as users may only be interested in one sport or subject and a favourites option would enable the user to quickly find any new content in that particular area.
The Live page.
I also feel that the Live page is another user friendly page which is kept extremely simple and doesn’t feature any confusing blockchain information or terminology which is perfect for the average user. One small change I would make to the interface is adding a ‘full screen’ button to the live video so that the screen can be turned horizontally. Although users can turn their phone to the side and it enters full screen mode automatically, many users will have their screen locked vertically which will prevent the video from doing this. This is not a huge deal but if we want the average users to adopt this technology, it has to super clear, familiar and easy to use.
I enjoy using the BOLT app as they have made playing live TV as simple as it possibly could be. I do think that as the live channels increase and the app continues to grow, a search bar may be useful to filter through the large amount of live TV channels.
Bolt Wallet Integration.
Although I am aware of Bolt Pegasus being released, I think that having two different apps to gain full functionality to BOLT services can become quite clunky and create a long winded user process. I think a good compromise would be to allow users to click on the wallet balance within BOLT+ and complete basic wallet functionality such as viewing BOLT balance, deposits and withdrawals. Currently, when the user clicks on their BOLT balance, nothing happens. There is no functionality nor any information on how to add to your BOLT balance which can confuse users.
After speaking to the Bolt team, they made it clear that both apps will be using the same log in which definitely makes the process more user friendly but I think a little more information would be helpful to prevent users becoming confused and raising support tickets. The profile page is another place that a user would typically go to find out more information or to find support but at this current moment there is nothing in place.
It feels like BOLT have already done the hard work in implementing this excellent technology, they just need to revisit the basics and attend to tweaking some of the core functionality of the app.
I think that the Bolt team have done a great job in solving a real world problem that users have. The use case that they are working on is unique in the space rather than competing with a number of other projects who are all solving the same issue.
Another thing that interests me is how BOLT plan to reward content creators via their platform. Although there is no information around this in the BOLT+ app, it is something that is mentioned within the whitepaper and I am looking forward to hearing about what plans they have for content creators in the future.
I think that the team can make some improvements and take BOLT to the next level, but I am confident that they will be well aware of this and it will of course, take time. I’m sure the team will already have plans to make some of the changes that have been mentioned above and I’m confident that they are heading in the right direction. I am looking forward to seeing how far they can take this.
You can find out more about BOLT and download the wallet on any mobile device by visiting this link.
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- I have not been paid by the BOLT team to write this article. This is something I volunteered to do due to my background in UX.
- All opinions and views within this article are my own.
- This review was wrote on the BOLT+ app version 1.37.1.