Top firms take on the impossible. Re-designing the Bloomberg interface

13 Aug 2007 - 7:15pm
7 years ago
6 replies
939 reads
Dave Malouf
2005

For those that don't know Bloomberg terminal is a financial standard
in information sharing. It is quite impressive. It is also one of the
most legacy ridden interfaces imaginable with quite a few of its users
cringing at the thought of anyone attempting to change their baby
(including their mayor boss).

To that I was suprised to find in my Reader box this diddy.

Check it out! let's see how the 3-some did!

http://www.portfolio.com/infographics/2007/06/terminals

(BTW, anyone else notice that these are all ID companies? I mean by
their roots, not that they limit themselves to industrial design.)

-- dave

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

Comments

13 Aug 2007 - 7:53pm
Stacy Felish
2007

This is great and long overdue. FWIW - The IDEO version seems to me the most viable option of the 3.

Thanks for sharing, Dave!

Sincerely,
Stacy Felish

-----Original Message-----
From: David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com>
To: IXDA list <discuss at ixda.org>
Sent: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 7:15 pm
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Top firms take on the impossible. Re-designing the Bloomberg interface

For those that don't know Bloomberg terminal is a financial standard
in information sharing. It is quite impressive. It is also one of the
most legacy ridden interfaces imaginable with quite a few of its users
cringing at the thought of anyone attempting to change their baby
(including their mayor boss).

To that I was suprised to find in my Reader box this diddy.

Check it out! let's see how the 3-some did!

http://www.portfolio.com/infographics/2007/06/terminals

(BTW, anyone else notice that these are all ID companies? I mean by
their roots, not that they limit themselves to industrial design.)

-- dave

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/
________________________________________________________________
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14 Aug 2007 - 8:21am
Dave Malouf
2005

Great comments guys.
Again, aren't these concepts? I think the pure practical review
doesn't really make sense when looking at concept designs like these.
I mean, do you REALLY think some broker is going to tag themselves
with some health monitor, or JPMorgan Chase is going to pay for the
Wii controller add on or virtual post-its? Of course not! But there
are REALLY important concepts.

My background and interest here is that I was offered a job at
Bloomberg as an interaction designer that I turned down in favor of my
current job at Motorola. While interviewing I learned quite a bit
about the terminal's history and its lack of UI resource, so I'm
really interested in these. I hope that team is listening b/c there
are some amazing ideas in here that are quite powerful for today's
financial types.

First off, IDEOs concentration on a cleaner design just speaks volumes
to me. I found it to be the most friendly.

I found Happy Corp's visuals holding to the black background to be
respectful of the history, but at the same time created valuable
widgets that guide people to information in ways that the current one
does not.

I don't quite understand Ziba's "puck" concept and I'm curious how
that would work within the context that these same devices are often
the desktop for the people using them.

Hardware was interesting to me in its designs. I like the "take it
with you" concepts of the IDEO design, which only outlined a lack of
change in the IxD of the software.

If I had to "pick" one design to role with, I would take the software
design of Happy and the hardware design of IDEO.

Sigi Moeslinger will be one of the Keynotes @ the IxDA Interaction08
this Feb in Savannah. Part of her pretty amazing portfolio is a
hardware skin design for the Bloomberg terminal. It might make for a
great breakfast to talk with Sigi about these designs from her
experience and perspective. maybe the Bloomberg folks (who I think
joined the list) would like to chime in (but I doubt they are allowed
to).

Like I said, I have some some afinity to this problem set. The first
time I saw the Antenna Design of the terminal at the Cooper Hewitt
Triennial years ago now, I thought that the Bloomberg Terminal is the
ultimate prize for any interaction designer in NYC. Unfortunately the
politics and legacy of Bloomberg (not the man, just the company) are
still huge obstacles from really developing a successful design. I bet
you won't see anything from these 3 designs on a Bloomberg terminal if
ever for a very very very long time.

One missing feature in all these design is how to make command line
more usable. I wonder if the work that Aza Raskin (another
Interaction08 speaker) and the Humanized team's product Enso might
have something to offer here in a very small and powerfully
incremental way.

As to Luke's rules for upgrading, I think that none of these designs
violate them b/c well they are paper level designs. There is nothing
in the Bloomberg platform that wouldn't allow you to say ... Use the
new one ... Use the old one even at the widget level.

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

14 Aug 2007 - 8:43am
Thomas Vander Wal
2004

Many of my friends that spend their life in the Bloomberg terminal
work with the volume, density, and breadth of information in front of
them. Many really want to see patterns and trending more easily as
well as see their collaborators and trusted resources. A mix of the
IDEO breadth and digging deeper (along with the ability to have
portable versions so your information is with you when you need it - a
major complaint) combined with the Happycorp data visualizations and
ability to monitor those near in though or are trusted is really
helpful.

I really fear the Ziba interface would trigger, "who took my
information away" screams. Complex and dense interfaces are not bad if
they are consistent and learning them has value. Similar to gaming
with advanced features that can be learned and more value derived.

All the best,
Thomas

On 8/13/07, David Malouf <dave.ixd at gmail.com> wrote:
> For those that don't know Bloomberg terminal is a financial standard
> in information sharing. It is quite impressive. It is also one of the
> most legacy ridden interfaces imaginable with quite a few of its users
> cringing at the thought of anyone attempting to change their baby
> (including their mayor boss).
>
> To that I was suprised to find in my Reader box this diddy.
>
> Check it out! let's see how the 3-some did!
>
> http://www.portfolio.com/infographics/2007/06/terminals
>
> (BTW, anyone else notice that these are all ID companies? I mean by
> their roots, not that they limit themselves to industrial design.)
>
> -- dave

14 Aug 2007 - 9:03am
Mark Schraad
2006

Dave,

Thanks for sharing this.

From a designer perspective I really like the way the IDEO solution
seems to be ego-less and focused on the user. It would be easy to
criticize this as lacking style or design. But the clarity and clean
presentation was chosen seemingly without regard for it's promotional
value to IDEO. I love that strength.

At the same time, I appreciate the cleanly styled look of the Ziba
solution. The Happy solution appears to be embracing a younger
audience. There is considerable commentary written regarding the
aptitude for failure amongst video game players, and how that can be
very valuable in mitigating and working through risk and failure in
work.

I did some UI work for a financial social network a little over a
year ago. In early pre-design research we found that while our
subjects (not a quantitatively valid sampling) definitely had an
affinity for style and strong statements towards success and high end
purchases (cars, furniture and other possessions), that same affinity
did not transfer to tools of the trade. In fact, the efficiency of
those tools was nearly all that mattered. A low learning curve was
not nearly as important as the eventual effectiveness of the tool.
While the hedge fund decision maker is a small subset of Bloomberg's
audience, it is a rather interesting subset - and may give
indications to why the current solution may may not change. The
investment is very high... and the impact of change quite dramatic.

Mark

On Aug 13, 2007, at 8:15 PM, David Malouf wrote:

> For those that don't know Bloomberg terminal is a financial standard
> in information sharing. It is quite impressive. It is also one of the
> most legacy ridden interfaces imaginable with quite a few of its users
> cringing at the thought of anyone attempting to change their baby
> (including their mayor boss).
>
> To that I was suprised to find in my Reader box this diddy.
>
> Check it out! let's see how the 3-some did!
>
> http://www.portfolio.com/infographics/2007/06/terminals
>
> (BTW, anyone else notice that these are all ID companies? I mean by
> their roots, not that they limit themselves to industrial design.)
>
> -- dave
>
>
> --
> David Malouf
> http://synapticburn.com/
> http://ixda.org/
> http://motorola.com/
> ________________________________________________________________

14 Aug 2007 - 10:52am
Dave Malouf
2005

I totally agree w/ Joseph below.
Having the ability to slice the same data stream across different axis
is a vital component to any data mining application. I too wonder if
it was considered in the original concepts.

If I was to extrapolate these design comps, I don't see why they can't
be a part of them.
What I would see from a concept to Product lifecycle would include a
next step of taking the soul of these comps and then start applying
the comps against a marketing requirements document drilling in deeper
into functionality, but perhaps lowering the fidelity of the
presentation layer of the models presented, in this way I can assume
the presentation layer moving forward, communicate main concepts, but
do explorations of required functionality.

I think we would be remiss to expect conceptual models to incorporate
complete functionality. Then is it really a prototype? or concept for
that matter?

further, from a process perspective, I could see leaving "holes" in
the design as valuable ways for leaving the discussion door open.
Prototypes for me in a design concept phase like this are sketches in
the way that Buxton discusses them as being "suggestions" instead of
"prescriptions". Of course, these are pretty high fidelity to be
sketches, but I would treat all concept work as suggestive and as
interrogative.

-- dave

On 8/14/07, Joseph Selbie <jselbie at tristream.com> wrote:
> I am perhaps being unfair due to the limited access to the conceptual
> material, but what I found missing in the concepts was the ability to change
> "views" of the same material. The "lava lamp" idea might appeal to one user
> but a table view, or alternate graphic view, might appeal more to another
> user. And although I liked IDEO's design the best, it too, appeared to be
> lacking alternative views of the same data. This approach is pretty common
> in BI these days.
>
> We have found in our recent work on with web applications that drilling in
> deeper into the information in the same content area and toggling between
> alternate views of the same data (again in the same content area) are fairly
> well established user expectations now.
>
> Joseph Selbie
> http://www.tristream.com
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Mark
> Schraad
> Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 7:04 AM
> To: David Malouf
> Cc: IXDA list
> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Top firms take on the impossible. Re-designing
> the Bloomberg interface
>
> Dave,
>
> Thanks for sharing this.
>
> From a designer perspective I really like the way the IDEO solution
> seems to be ego-less and focused on the user. It would be easy to
> criticize this as lacking style or design. But the clarity and clean
> presentation was chosen seemingly without regard for it's promotional
> value to IDEO. I love that strength.
>
> At the same time, I appreciate the cleanly styled look of the Ziba
> solution. The Happy solution appears to be embracing a younger
> audience. There is considerable commentary written regarding the
> aptitude for failure amongst video game players, and how that can be
> very valuable in mitigating and working through risk and failure in
> work.
>
> I did some UI work for a financial social network a little over a
> year ago. In early pre-design research we found that while our
> subjects (not a quantitatively valid sampling) definitely had an
> affinity for style and strong statements towards success and high end
> purchases (cars, furniture and other possessions), that same affinity
> did not transfer to tools of the trade. In fact, the efficiency of
> those tools was nearly all that mattered. A low learning curve was
> not nearly as important as the eventual effectiveness of the tool.
> While the hedge fund decision maker is a small subset of Bloomberg's
> audience, it is a rather interesting subset - and may give
> indications to why the current solution may may not change. The
> investment is very high... and the impact of change quite dramatic.
>
> Mark
>
>
> On Aug 13, 2007, at 8:15 PM, David Malouf wrote:
>
> > For those that don't know Bloomberg terminal is a financial standard
> > in information sharing. It is quite impressive. It is also one of the
> > most legacy ridden interfaces imaginable with quite a few of its users
> > cringing at the thought of anyone attempting to change their baby
> > (including their mayor boss).
> >
> > To that I was suprised to find in my Reader box this diddy.
> >
> > Check it out! let's see how the 3-some did!
> >
> > http://www.portfolio.com/infographics/2007/06/terminals
> >
> > (BTW, anyone else notice that these are all ID companies? I mean by
> > their roots, not that they limit themselves to industrial design.)
> >
> > -- dave
> >
> >
> > --
> > David Malouf
> > http://synapticburn.com/
> > http://ixda.org/
> > http://motorola.com/
> > ________________________________________________________________
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
> Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> Questions .................. list at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org
>
>

--
David Malouf
http://synapticburn.com/
http://ixda.org/
http://motorola.com/

14 Aug 2007 - 10:36am
Joseph Selbie
2007

I am perhaps being unfair due to the limited access to the conceptual
material, but what I found missing in the concepts was the ability to change
"views" of the same material. The "lava lamp" idea might appeal to one user
but a table view, or alternate graphic view, might appeal more to another
user. And although I liked IDEO's design the best, it too, appeared to be
lacking alternative views of the same data. This approach is pretty common
in BI these days.

We have found in our recent work on with web applications that drilling in
deeper into the information in the same content area and toggling between
alternate views of the same data (again in the same content area) are fairly
well established user expectations now.

Joseph Selbie
http://www.tristream.com

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Mark
Schraad
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 7:04 AM
To: David Malouf
Cc: IXDA list
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Top firms take on the impossible. Re-designing
the Bloomberg interface

Dave,

Thanks for sharing this.

From a designer perspective I really like the way the IDEO solution
seems to be ego-less and focused on the user. It would be easy to
criticize this as lacking style or design. But the clarity and clean
presentation was chosen seemingly without regard for it's promotional
value to IDEO. I love that strength.

At the same time, I appreciate the cleanly styled look of the Ziba
solution. The Happy solution appears to be embracing a younger
audience. There is considerable commentary written regarding the
aptitude for failure amongst video game players, and how that can be
very valuable in mitigating and working through risk and failure in
work.

I did some UI work for a financial social network a little over a
year ago. In early pre-design research we found that while our
subjects (not a quantitatively valid sampling) definitely had an
affinity for style and strong statements towards success and high end
purchases (cars, furniture and other possessions), that same affinity
did not transfer to tools of the trade. In fact, the efficiency of
those tools was nearly all that mattered. A low learning curve was
not nearly as important as the eventual effectiveness of the tool.
While the hedge fund decision maker is a small subset of Bloomberg's
audience, it is a rather interesting subset - and may give
indications to why the current solution may may not change. The
investment is very high... and the impact of change quite dramatic.

Mark

On Aug 13, 2007, at 8:15 PM, David Malouf wrote:

> For those that don't know Bloomberg terminal is a financial standard
> in information sharing. It is quite impressive. It is also one of the
> most legacy ridden interfaces imaginable with quite a few of its users
> cringing at the thought of anyone attempting to change their baby
> (including their mayor boss).
>
> To that I was suprised to find in my Reader box this diddy.
>
> Check it out! let's see how the 3-some did!
>
> http://www.portfolio.com/infographics/2007/06/terminals
>
> (BTW, anyone else notice that these are all ID companies? I mean by
> their roots, not that they limit themselves to industrial design.)
>
> -- dave
>
>
> --
> David Malouf
> http://synapticburn.com/
> http://ixda.org/
> http://motorola.com/
> ________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
List Guidelines ............ http://beta.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://beta.ixda.org/help
Unsubscribe ................ http://beta.ixda.org/unsubscribe
Questions .................. list at ixda.org
Home ....................... http://beta.ixda.org

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