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

13 Aug 2007 - 10:09pm
7 years ago
2 replies
472 reads
Markus Grupp-TM
2006

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!

Cheers,
Markus

________________________________

From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com on behalf of David Malouf
Sent: Mon 8/13/2007 8:15 PM
To: IXDA list
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Top firms take on the impossible. Re-designing theBloomberg 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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Comments

14 Aug 2007 - 12:04am
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

Good points, Marcus.

Two more:

1) It looks like the actionable information density has been lowered in all
prototypes - an interesting interesting challenge to tackle, given the
wealth of the information.

2) Three lessons for redesign of entrenched legacy interface from Luke's
presentation (found in one of Spool's podcasts) on eBay redesign: 1. modify
design in small increments. 2. provide obvious value with each modification.
3. do not force the switch. All three have been violated here. Incidentally
all three lessons can be found in 'How Buildings Learn' by Stewart Brand
(1994).

Oleh

On 8/13/07, Markus Grupp <Markus.Grupp at telus.com> wrote:
>
> 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!
>
> Cheers,
> Markus
>
>
> ________________________________
>
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com on behalf of David
> Malouf
> Sent: Mon 8/13/2007 8:15 PM
> To: IXDA list
> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Top firms take on the impossible. Re-designing
> theBloomberg 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/
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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 <http://beta.ixda.org/>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

--
Oleh Kovalchuke
Interaction Design is the Design of Time
http://www.tangospring.com/IxDtopicWhatIsInteractionDesign.htm

14 Aug 2007 - 10:49am
Todd Warfel
2003

On Aug 13, 2007, at 11:09 PM, Markus Grupp wrote:

> 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!

Having done quite a bit of work in the financial sector and having
colleagues at a mid-sized trading company and several investment
banker relatives, the redesigns struck me instantly as mostly missing
the mark. Only the IDEO redesign came close to understanding the
customer goals, use, behaviors, and needs.

Having intimate knowledge of how little room there is for error when
trading, there's more to missing or closing a deal than we might
imagine. Some of these deals are measured in milliseconds. I'd hate
to be the guy who lost $100M because the old UI didn't perform as
well as it could, which is the flip side of your argument Markus. And
yes, I've seen it happen - there is opportunity cost in having such
an outdated interface.

That being said, as with any redesign, there is some migration period
that has cost as well.

I believe the Bloomberg interface could be improved substantially,
still providing all the access to all the information they currently
have, but in a more intuitive and efficient manner. The improvements
that Bloomberg speaks of in his autobiography are more functionality
and less about usability.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
President, Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
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Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
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In practice, they are not.

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