DENT Mobile AppsDENT Wireless — 2017-2019 · Design Lead
DENTs vision is to create a global marketplace using blockchain, where everyone has the opportunity to buy and sell mobile data packages. A successful ICO demanded powerful apps to hold up to the cryptocurrencys promise: enabling mobile data trading to users worldwide. The platform for this builds an ERC-20 Ethereum based token, advancing cross-country trading of mobile data packages. Together with DENT, we envisioned a mobile app that lays the foundation to the cryptos development.
Context and Role
The design and development of the DENT Apps are a project of TDSoftware. Together with the design team at TDSoftware I worked as a lead designer directing visual and technical aspects of the user interfaces. The product designers working on DENT include Frank Altwein, Linus Mimietz as well as Philipp Wartenberg.
In the original DENT app version from December 2017, the only feature implemented was the ability to send two types of mobile packages: mobile data and credits. By typing in the phone number of somebody, the app would check what carrier it's on and offer available packages.
The design of the header with its bold claim and input field was thought to give the user an idea what the apps function is. To this point, sending data and credits is still a core feature of the app. The design of the header and the gradient was iterated in version 2.0, giving it a much more modern aesthetic.
From the very beginning it was clear to us that DENT in its brand and product design needed to be open, non-technical and uplifting. In 2017, many crypto projects characterized themselves through dark color cues, weird technical blockchain illustrations and very information-heavy designs. The intended mass adoption of the service was supposed to outgrow the crypto community so that the blockchain technology needed to fade into the background and act more as a platform than a feature. This core principle helped us make space for user-centered design, resulting in close to 20 million installations worldwide to this day.
Mobile Data Trading
One of the integral features of the app is the ability to trade mobile data packages. In 2018, DENT started a pilot project together with Smart World Hong Kong, enabling users to buy or sell other users' data right from their mobile contract. In 2019, data trading was widened to the entire user base in a simplified, package-based version.
Global Voice Calling
Using voice packages, users are able to call landline phones through the DENT App. The functionality was conceptualized for target groups in Africa and Asia where calling landline and phone numbers through a wifi connection is a practical case (comparable to Skype). Voice packages can be bought per-country and work as a prepaid plan.
The DENT Mobile Apps started internal development while I was still studying in Weimar. With only one launched app project up until then, it might not have been my first time designing for production but certainly for production at scale. This project wasn't talking user counts of a few hundreds but millions. The DENT Mobile Apps were and still are the most teaching form of design practice I have received. Working at scale draws focus on many details and edge cases – the exact opposite of university projects. Not losing sight of a grand design/interface vision becomes more challenging but at the same time very important.
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