About Bloomberg IB
Bloomberg IB, short for "Instant Bloomberg," is an instant messaging platform that allows financial traders to monitor and exchange instant messages, link to Bloomberg data and analytics, and create group chat forums, so they can quickly share and act on important information. IB, is one among many "functions" or apps available to the user that shares screen real estate in a Bloomberg Terminal. IB also works as a standalone app available to traders on their personal computing devices such as laptop, table and mobile phones.
Design for Glancing
IB exists in a space where the user's attention is divided across several apps. However, the cost of error is any of the app is huge. The task here is to come up with a design so that the trader doesn't miss any incoming messages (which are in the order of double digits), easier to navigate through all the messages and responds quickly.
Existing IB App wireframe
The design was to follow a rapid prototyping style incorporating several swift iterations to arrive at the best possible final design. I had 72 hours. The work was to done on an existing wireframe design provided by Bloomberg, which was a quick mockup of the existing IB app that is used in the Terminal.
1. User Cognitive Walkthrough
To understant the state of usability of the existing design, a user cognitive walkthrough was done to reveal friction for use with the existing design.
2. User Goal Breakdown & Task Mapping
The provided prompt illustrated some user goals such as not miss any incoming messages (which are in the order of double digits), easier to navigate through all the messages and responds quickly. The previous step lead us to discover some distinct problem points, which were cross-referenced with the goals to see if they were trying to meet the goals or not. A resulting breakdown of goals was imminent since the goals were too broad and there was a need to arrive at the fundamental user goals which the lead to fundamental user tasks. The goals and tasks were then mapped into the app's various feature to illustrate where the problem was occuring.
Once the problem was distinct and mapped to the respective areas of the app, it was clear where the design needs to be tweaked, redesigned or to have a new design brought in. Individual user goals was brainstormed upon and possible design solutions were explored. During the brainstorming process I asked several questions and made my assumptions clear and the scope of design definite. The design was to be made so that at each level it would aid the user in glancing and a user would soak in maximum information from each glance.
4. Design and Iteration
The brainstorming process quickly followed with working out the design details for individual goals followed by heuristic evaluation, re-design and several rounds of iterations. It was only then that a compelling solution was accepted and collated with other solutions to form a broad design solution for the goals.