The difference between asses and guinea pigs

Matthew Baxter joined Caplin as Head of UX Design in December 2012.


“When you assume, you make an ass of you and me.”

The trouble with this aphorism, apart from the fact that you should really take a long, hard look at yourself if you go around regurgitating such trite, hackneyed old twaddle on a regular basis, is it’s usually wrong.  Assumption can be trusted to save time, money and effort in almost every case, provided you are in possession of the knowledge necessary to make the right assumption.

If you perform any kind of professional consultancy, you are paid to make assumptions based on your training, experience and talent.  Assumptions are educated guesses, and we all make them all the time if we want to get things done.  Assumption based on understanding the domain, the user and their stories and the client is what we do.  Assumption without understanding is a recipe for disaster, but starting from scratch every time is obviously foolish, costly, wasteful and time-consuming.  So…. Continue reading

UX & social media in futures and options

While the discussion around trading decisions based on social media sentiment continues:

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UX: Exposing the value of design research

At Caplin we don’t take a single path through design research. Like magpies we pick shiny data from multiple sources creating a rich medley of material used to build a colourful picture of the customer and their needs that brings them to life.

Occasionally we still find we have to justify the value that can be gained by undertaking contextual research and customer interviews

Here is a simple example from a recent contextual study I (Head of User Experience at Caplin) undertook in South Africa:

After a hair-raising car ride to the company’s office, we settled down to business with the group corporate treasurer and got the contextual study started.

Lorries and transporters wait to unload at the distribution hub and in jostling for position in the queue they end up taking over the whole road

Halfway through the interview the subject pointed to a white board and mentioned how he used it to keep track of his orders (as the current system has no way of tracking his orders and rates) the participant didn’t see any special significance to the board as it was just the way he worked. Continue reading

Cooking up some tasty Apple iPad GUIs

At the weekend I cooked up a brace of local partridge with caramelised apple.

Today I’m serving up a brace of tasty designs for the Apple iPad from the Caplin UX team – Yum! Enjoy.

Portfolio manager for brokers to manage portfolios and present options to clients.

Retail dashboard for monitoring/managing a personal portfolio

Focus on UX: FX sales traders have all the fun!

Following on from work to expose the metrics available in the Xaqua platform by Scott we have started to consider the design opportunities to enhance sales trader user experience (UX).

Here we give sales traders visibility of the quoting activity of a client vs the sector, combined with other client specific information into an FX sales trader dashboard UI.

This design provides sales traders with:

  • easy access to valuable client information
  • additional channels for sales/client interaction via social media
  • a ‘smart watchlist’ view of clients regularly quoted FX pairs.

Feedback from sales indicates this design increases both trade flow and client/trader satisfaction.

An engaging User Experience (UX) is more than skin deep

photo by ratterrell on Flickr

Here’s an interesting article on TABBForum:
Show me some skin

It’s great to see the attention product and information design is getting at the moment. At Caplin we blend these skills with interaction design and many others into our UX design practice for Single-Dealer Platforms.

Whilst the GUI is often seen AS the product, you have to consider the unseen design research and development that goes into producing a truly engaging user experience.

Really great GUI is not cosmetic gewgaw. Really great GUI facilitates interaction flow and engages users in an experience that’s more than skin deep.

The UX trinity behind loyalty-building customer experiences

I’ve just read an interesting post on Finextra: Financial services CIOs not spending enough time on customer-facing innovation.

Jeff Hesse, MD, financial services, Diamond, says: “Technology can be the engine behind increased profits, loyalty-building customer experiences, and the ability to navigate today’s dynamic regulatory environment.”

For me building customer loyalty is all about creating an engaging UX (User Experience) and cultivating trust, especially the latter within financial services.

But you can’t just base innovation on hunches or subjective opinions and pull a loyalty building bunny out of the magic UX hat.

Discovering what real customers want from our solutions is at the foundation of our innovation process. Uncovering their goals and motivations is achieved through contextual studies – this is true for both internal and external buy-side customers.

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