Top firms take on the impossible. Re-designing theBloomberg interface
13 Aug 2007 - 10:09pm
8 years ago
Interesting makeovers... aesthetically, at least.
Functionally, however, I would expect it to be a different story.
It is difficult to tell who these designs are actually targetted at. The functionality displayed in these design concepts, and how they are visually executed, appear targeted at first-time or ocassional users of Bloomberg terminals, as well as individual investors (who would not be paying the $1800
per month subscription fee). For new or ocassional users, these interfaces would definitely seem more intuitive, less uncluttered and easier to learn. To the uninitiated, a Bloomberg screen can be completely overwhelming and its shortcut codes are hidden riddles.
However, these re-designs would leave most regular users (most traders, portfolio managers, investment and treasury professionals) asking "Why?"
Most regular users have completely personalized pages for their primary views. What appears to be an overwhelming, cluttered screen is a clear, straight-forward layout on which a trader will execute a trade based on as little as an up-tick in his/her peripheral vision. Users who find the Bloomberg
graphically or functionally limiting use the Bloomberg plug-ins for Excel or third-party analytical software to pull Bloomberg data into do their technical analysis.
Dave, as you mention, it is a legacy-ridden interface. But with legacy comes familiarity, predictability and significant user investment in learning the advanced features of the existing UI. I would hate to be on the trading floor when a trader blows a deal as a result of the new UI!
The current Bloomberg terminal has universal access to any information from anywhere in the UI. The graphical user interfaces proposed in the three designs all appear to require the user to drill down on lists & menus or use search to get to specific data. Contrast this with the existing Bloomberg
(hybrid) command-line interface, which allows users to enter Bloomberg codes from anywhere in the Bloomberg UI. The behaviour patterns of many Bloomberg users are not linear. The breadcrumbs and IDEO's "Where am I?" feature seem somewhat misguided. Users often quickly jump from one look-up to
another by simply typing the related Bloomberg code.
Typing "KO" + <EQUITY> key + "ANR" + <GO> key from anywhere in the UI, Bloomberg immediately displays the latest analysts reports on Coca Cola. From here the user can jump to typing "HD" + <EQUITY> key + "CN" + <GO> key takes the user directly to the latest news on Home Depot. (You can see why
these terminals are difficult to use for first-time/ ocassional users)
A mouse, touchscreen and electronic notepad not only introduce additional complexity of focus management... try finding an electronic notepad under the print-outs, analysts reports, trading confirmations and McDonald's bags on a trader's desk :-)
Some of the features seem quite amateurish. The News Maps interface is interesting (try it over at http://www.marumushi.com/apps/newsmap/newsmap.cfm), but presenting news stories by the number of related articles or number of readers seems to counter-intuitive. Traders and portfolio managers
trying to exploit market inefficiencies would want to find information and stories with low readership :-)
This all seems like a little bit of New Coke to me ;-) The Wii golf plug-in would be a unanimous winner though!
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.