How not to build a single dealer platform


There are some very talented and experienced people working in online trading system design these days. With the right management, the right resources and the right starting point, they can generally be relied on to deliver great results.

But don’t despair — it’s still possible to totally mess it up, provided you follow a few basic rules. Here’s a handy guide.

1. Don’t talk to actual users. That way you can avoid the hassle of trying to understand their individual workflows and the tedium of segmenting your market. Just include all the functionality you can think of, and with a bit of luck there will be someone out there who will find it usable.

2. When in doubt about whether a feature is needed, stick it in. If you’re choosing between two options, put them both in and let the end-users decide. Give them more choices, more options, more configurability. After all, it’s not your job to figure out the best user interface for them. They can do that for themselves. More is more, right?

3. Don’t employ a professional UX designer. If you have to have one, do not in any circumstances allow him or her to conduct a full UX discovery process at the beginning of the project. Your traders, managers and developers can probably guess what users want and come up with an optimal set of interaction designs. Just tell the UX person to make it look pretty when it’s done.

4. Don’t waste your budget on full-time QA engineers, scrum masters or experienced Agile project managers. It’s not as if those guys actually produce anything. The sprint backlog will manage itself, and don’t worry about the bugs — the users will find them for you.

5. Make sure you follow your corporate style guide to the letter, since whoever wrote it must surely have had high-end trading apps in mind. And make sure your app looks just like your website. You know, the same way Apple’s apps look just like the Apple website.

6. Always remember that a programmer is a programmer. You have some Java programmers? Great. JavaScript must be the same as Java– it’s got almost the same name. And CSS and HTML5 must be easy, because… well, that’s just web design. They’ll pick it up as they go along.

And finally, one from the heart. Don’t be influenced  by the fact that many of the core platform problems are universal and have been thoroughly solved and productised by companies like Caplin. Let your techies solve them all over again from scratch. It will be so much more fun that way.

4 Responses

  1. This is brilliant, made me laugh out loud! All so true Paul. David.

  2. LOL! Funny ‘cos it’s true. But why do people repeat the same mistakes over and over again ? Why is it so hard to do the right thing ? Because software architecture follows organisational structure, because organisations get the systems they deserve, and because the management hierarchy in banks is a vicious bear pit where the key attribute for success is a psychopathic talent for sadistic bullying of one’s underlings.

  3. […] asset client centric SDP, getting the prototype design and interaction right is critical, and it’s easy to get it wrong. What is needed is a deep understanding of relevant client segment behaviour and their workflow […]

  4. […] How not to build a single dealer platform […]

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