Usability improvements of the crucial part of a trading platform - the list of all trader's existing holdings.
usability tests, design workshop facilitator, card sorting, prototypes, visual design
Our support was recently contacted with the same issue when users were confused from behavior of our blotter. The heuristic evaluation showed us that filtering and grouping are not following proper usability rules of thumb.
In order to gather as many issues as possible, we organized usability test of the trade blotter. We also involved the development team, which helped us in the further discussion. The most painful tasks were column customization, filter reset, and groups discovering.
Having the development team onboarded, we organized a design workshop where the team came up with a few designs of a brand new trade blotter fixing the existing usability issues.
I synthesized the ideas and translated them into a Balsamiq prototype ready for an early internal validation. In this stage, I also organized a few short card sorting sessions with each member of the team in order to find patterns in the understanding of the blotter information hierarchy. Thanks to that I could tidy up the context menus, highlight important and push less used actions back. After a few iterations, we were ready to prepare hi-fi prototype and test it with users.
Balsamiq prototype is a great tool, however, the basic styles, interactions and lack of logic behind don't make the prototype trustworthy and ideal for usability tests of advanced scenarios. For that reason, I created another prototype in Axure and we were ready for recruiting a few participants.
During the usability test, we found a couple of minor bugs which we were able to fix on the fly. But in general, the feedback was very positive and even though we tested more scenarios than we tested within the existing solution, we significantly decreased the time needed to complete the job. Literally, in 10 minutes the participants were done whereas in previous session a few users didn't manage to finish the tasks in 30 minutes.
Axure prototype used in the usability test.
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