IPFS Mobile Design Guidelines

Based on the work started at Protocol Labs with the IPFS Browser Design Guidelines, we then moved on to bringing a safer, faster Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Internet to everyone with a smartphone.

The focus of the development of IPFS to date has been primarily on the desktop and servers. However, the growth of the Internet for more than a decade has been almost entirely on mobile devices. Smartphone use has eclipsed desktop, especially in emerging markets, where IPFS stands best to address use cases, patterns and concerns around data sovereignty, offline applications and security.

To create that level of clarity, designers and developers need clear guidelines that align with user needs to unlock the power of the decentralised mobile web. These guidelines comprise of two main parts, research and design. The research stretched across North America, Europe and Africa, and consisted of three separate cohorts: Experts, Early Adopters and Potential Users. This qualitative, primary research was tempered with examining the existing P2P and related software application landscape and surveying existing mobile design patterns and attitudes.

The research formed the basis to the design which served to further explore and define how IPFS should be used in a mobile context. This was done by first establishing design principles which then informed and gave shape to a number of design scenarios which further illustrate how IPFS should work for people on their smartphones today.

IPFS Mobile Design Guidelines on GitBook


We developed a number of Design Principles for designing for IPFS. These are suggestions for designers and developers of what to think about when building their apps and services on IPFS.

IPFS Mobile Design Guidelines Principles

IPFS Mobile Design Guidelines Principles


Following the Principles we then created Design Scenarios to help designers and developers with situations they are likely to encounter when creating mobile apps and services for IPFS. The scenarios include onboarding, sharing through the mobile OS, sending large files, offline media and identity management. Below are two examples:

Sharing a file on mobile with/without internet access

IPFS Mobile Design Guidelines Scenarios

Large file sent to other user with/without internet access

IPFS Mobile Design Guidelines Scenarios