KnownOrigin — redesigned and reimagined

Sometimes you have to rip it up and start again…

With the crypto art market on it’s yearly bull run and hearing some outstanding grips and grimes from the community, we felt it was critical for KnownOrigin to bring a breath of fresh air to the platform with a new design, new tech stack and a new reinvigorated focus on the art itself!

The backstory

In April 2018 we launched with a simple proof-of-concept, then back in 2019 we went through a full brand refresh, however we retained most of the same frontend tech stack which was recently slowing us down and causing some pain for the artists and users who frequent the platform.

Fast forward to 2020 and after the back of a successful couple of months of growth we now felt confident to fully commit and rebuild the platform (bar the smart-contracts) and take the UX to a new level with a more focused effort to show the artwork in all its glory, bring more transparency and an improved easy to use feature set to our users.

The site built throughout 2018 and 2019 has done a great job but we wanted to be better. So we made the decision to rebuild the marketplace and its backend service from scratch using a new frameworks. Go big or go home!

We are live, therefore, we should be able to be move agile, react quicker and build a better product for all.

Our high level goals

  • • Faster site performance and image loading

  • • To enable curated and sharable content on all social networks

  • • Better mobile responsiveness

  • • Better discovery of artwork and artists

  • • Bring data transparency to the forefront

  • • Increased sales for artists with a focus on making bringing the secondary market we have to the forefront as a first class citizen.

Goals set, technology choices made, let the build begin …

A focus on the art

The team shifted to focus on the front-end, user experience and a new fresh look and feel. We needed to retain the brand that we have established over the past 2 years but we also needed to move toward a design system / components based approach.

A good design system provides a collection of reusable components, guided by clear standards, that can be assembled together to build any number of features. This approach will allow us to move much quicker and deliver the consistent features that our user base requests at a much faster pace. We have used a newer modern CSS framework to help us along this journey.

White space is a key element of good website design.

For example, creating a margin — also called negative space — around content helps the images/art stand out on the page.

We have focused on showcasing the artwork by increasing the image sizes and bringing the artwork to the homepage as full bleed images. The images are a mix of dynamic and curated content.

Our goal was to identify what’s most important and allocate it adequate website real estate — while avoiding page clutter.

Data transparency

At the end of the day, KnownOrigin is built on a public blockchain. We ensure all artists and collectors have all the information we have in regards to the provenance of an artwork.

On each artwork we display insights into its history, its ownership and the chain of custody. As well as global insights into both collectors and artists covering purchases and holdings.

Improve page speeds

Website visitors expect a fast and frictionless online experience. We have revamped our indexer, our APIs and data storage which should improve this drastically. Boring but vital.

We appreciate working in the nascent web3.0 world brings it own challenges with a frictionless user experience being key. We have worked hard to improve the page responsiveness, site performance and user journeys — hopefully you notice the difference.

Improved UX

We wanted to provide more value to our users, both the collectors and artists with effective user experience. Cohesive user flows that simplifies the discovery of artist and artwork and streamlining our purchase flow are key.

Creating visual consistency is essential when building confidence with our users and creating a coherent web experience for new users coming to KnownOrigin for the first time.

We have seen that mobile usage is increasing and we believe that the next wave of users will be much more mobile native and our platform should be optimised for this.

We have ensured that visual and text elements complement one another, updates include change to:

  • • Fonts

  • • Colors

  • • Button sizes

  • • Design elements

  • • Image size / ratio

  • • Spacing

Discovering and sharing artwork

We understand the importance of users discovering the artwork they love. The team have implemented a new search on the gallery that allows users to quickly find artwork based on genre, theme, key words and obviously artists.

This is a powerful way to help new users also find artwork without having to know the existing artists names or trends in the crypto art scene. Going forward we will evolve to include an even richer search scope 😉

The new gallery has a simplified filter that enables users to reduce the gallery view to the key elements. These are newest, oldest artwork, lowest to highest price and scarcity from ‘1 of 1’ to ‘1 of 10’ , finally users can also filter on ‘Offers only’.

Once users have found the artwork, many people also like to share the artwork with others on social media. We have made this easier by allowing sharing directly from the artwork page and provided all the critical information with one click.

This represents a fulfilment of the most often requested features on the platform, the ability to properly share artworks on social platforms.

Dedicated minting portal

Artist now have a dedicated portal where they mint new artworks and manage existing ones. This separate platform remove the noise from the new gallery site and allows artists to focus on uploading / minting artwork. Having a dedicated place for these focused tasks will make it better for the users and easier for the team to isolated any issues or bugs without having an impact on the gallery/marketplace. Users can access the portal via create.knownorigin or via the upload button on the artist profile page.

Curated content & collections

We have recently partnered with a series of high profile crypto and arts foundations namely MoCDA, Codame and most recently BlockEureka.

Building these strategic partnerships has helped bring expertise from across the eco-system and ensure that KnownOrigin grows and adds value to both collectors and artists. The partnership with MoCDA has successfully bridged the gap between our collectors and artists, we launched the #BehindTheScreens initiatives focusing on the artists and showcasing their artwork via a live stream with MoCDAs co-founder Serena.

The ongoing collaboration with Codame has helped bring a collective of digital artists in to the CryptoArt world as part of the Codame Collective. You can view the work by Snow Yunxue Fu, Char and Jordan (aka K9d) now via KnownOrigin . Codame will also be running a series of workshops and event as part of this partnership.

With digital art being truly global we have partnered with the Costa Rica based venture BlockEureka who are educating and on-boarding new and established Contemporary artists Boreal and biologist & artist CrypticFauna

We are building lasting relationships with these partners to ultimately grow the audience and artists on KnownOrigin and in cryptoart in general

KO Journal is live!

The introduction of the journal to the platform allows us to share the narrative around the artworks and the artists. This is done through a series of projects like Artist Spotlight and our monthly Guest Editor feature. Having a dedicated space on the site for users to enjoy and share this content is key to drive engagement and education.

Our users are the stars

We have spent a lot of time listening and talking to our users over the past year. The value-able feedback that our users shared has been the driving force for us to invest in this most recent update to KnownOrigin.

But, this is not the end, we will continue to improve and iterate the platform based on what our users need and the changing shape for the digital art market. We are excited about the latest launch of KnownOrigin, we would love to hear you feedback and thoughts on the all new KnownOrigin website.

Thank you for continued support,