Product roadmap and strategic development

The KeepKey device is a hardware cold storage solution used to hold supported cryptocurrencies. The purpose of this device is to ensure the owner is the only person with access to assets stored on it.

Client: KeepKey
Date: March 1, 2018
Services: UX, UI, Strategy

The Challenge

The KeepKey device while popular amongst the cryptocurrency audience falls dead last in comparison to the Trezor and Ledger Nano solutions. All 3 brands are currently the most recognized hardware device solutions on the market for the storage of cryptocurrencies.

Desired Outcome

After identifying the existing user pain points, goals and general product needs through various layers of research, the main goal was to redesign a more intuitive user interface, with a focus on resolving key accessibility issues.

Role (s)

  • UX Researcher | Designer
  • UI Designer
  • Creative Direction
  • Project Management

KeepKey UX|UI Audit – Uncovering the experience pain points

KeepKey UX | UI Audit Takeaways

These are some of my core findings that made sense in the following buckets. They are “strengths” or the things KeepKey is currently doing well and another bucket for “opportunities”, areas where KeepKey can improve or have missed altogether.


  • Of the top 3 HW brands, KeepKey is the sleekest¹
  • The packaging feels premium
  • Setup of the device is simple enough
  • Security is a huge consideration of the experience²
  • Can be easily obtained from Amazon or the OEM website
  • Confirms the user’s intentions for critical steps


  • UI feels like a beta, not a polished app. Note: RC Beta’s.
  • Could benefit from a revised user flow.
  • The UI patterns are inconsistent.
  • Exchange feature is not obvious.
  • Randomizing of PIN is a barrier to entry.
  • Information Architecture needs revising.
  • Uses standalone icons vs icons with text.


  • Adopt a mobile-first philosophy
  • Increase trust with solutions independent of Google
  • Provide desktop solutions
  • Increase familiarity heuristic with FIAT display


  • Any solution that moves away from the randomized PIN.
  • Solutions that better align with the users mental model for value/currency.
  • Competitors that offer an obvious exchange.
  • Solutions with greater cryptocurrency support.
  • Solutions that offer 2FA (Two Factor Authentication.
  • Solutions that use Iconography + Text.

Comparative Analysis

Nano Ledger S

Number 1

One of KeepKey’s main competitors and potentially the no.1 recommended¹ hardware solution currently on the market is the Ledger Nano S.

Ledger has many strengths but what impressed me the most was their understanding of a brand ecosystem and translating it to the various user touch points, one use case at a time. All of their website properties are well designed and so are the application interfaces and hardware solutions they offer.

  • Offers a full range of access points from standalone desktop solutions for Windows and Mac OSX to Android and iPhone apps.
  • The brand understands ecosystems and allows a wider range of users to utilize their device by meeting their software environment needs.
  • They smartly provided mobile solutions for their users.
  • Icons + text in the main navigation
  • All UI solutions display FIAT values
  • Provides extra security measures (2FA)
  • Updates include improvements to the UI, not just bugs
  • Uses same randomized PIN pattern as the KeepKey 
  • Support is highly visible at the top level
  • Uses a persistent navigation in the Chrome and desktop clients


The Trezor easily reaps the rewards of being first to market and name recognition. It was released in 2014, the same year that Ledger was formed and started to deliver solutions for the blockchain industry.  The KeepKey was last to market (2015) within this competitive group.

  • UI feels more polished than the KeepKey UI
  • Displays FIAT value
  • Provides 2FA 
  • Support is highly visible
  • Offers Chrome extensions and mobile solutions

Across the qualitative user feedback on sites such as Twitter, Cryptocompare and Reddit, 2FA or Two Factor Authentication is a highly researched and sought after feature of a cold storage or hot wallet solution.

While the overall UI provides a better aesthetic, the experience feels disjointed when seeking specific utilities or information and KeepKey has a better product user flow since it does not redirect the user to a separate e-shop website. This is an odd e-commerce experience for users but one that Ledger has also duplicated in approach in an era where companies have sought to make their experiences more seamless and connected.

  • A mix of Icons only and Icons + text
  • Displays FIAT values
  • Provides (2FA)
  • Support is highly visible at the top level
  • Has mobile and desktop solutions

Who are the users?

There are four distinct archetypes currently in the blockchain/cryptocurrency space. While each invests in the technology based on specific motivations and available finances, there are overlaps in their behavior and some traits. For example, everyone in the interviews signaled “volatility” and “security” as key concerns.

Archetype 1: Main Street

Archetype 2: The Hodlrs

Archetype 3: Classic Investors

Archetype 4: The Whales

Low Fidelity Wirefames + Interaction Thoughts

Annotated wireframes

Once my low-fidelity wires were in a good place, I created the annotated computer generated wires before moving onto the final designs and deliverables.

User + Product Journey Maps

Final Redesigns

These are the final desktop solutions for the new application experience.


To say that there are ample opportunities for KeepKey to advance its position in the market is a massive understatement. From the design of the physical product to it’s UI solution, we can see the opportunities abound. Reimagining the UI and entire application flow for the KeepKey user is only one small part of this. There are strong qualitative comments across the board, not just from the user interviews and peer analysis that shows more users want a mobile solution in addition to a desktop solution.

To discuss the full details of this project and my process, please use the contact area to drop me a line. Thanks.