More evidence that designers are the best people in the world for pissing off businesspeople: Conde Nast’s Portfolio site recently commissioned three top design firms to create fantasy redesigns of the Bloomberg terminal, the world’s most widely used financial analysis interface. The results show us why rank-and-file businesspeople still rightfully distrust designers: all these designs – regardless of cool they may appear – illustrate a fundamental ignorance by their designers of the very people who are supposed to use them.
Color: Ziba recommends the color red to indicate a stock story. RED?! Are they kidding? Rule #1 in finance: NEVER USE RED – it means loss.
Visual pace: IDEO’s oh-so-refined newsprint look says “the world is slow and steady and we’ve all got time to sit back and cogitate on it for as long as we need.” WRONG. Ever sit on a trading floor? You’ve never seen the world move so fast. It’s a loud, frantic place – and that’s the sense of urgency that the interface needs to support.
Eye candy: Thehappycorp’s heatmap-share price-lava lamp has something going for it. All they need to do is strip away all the Photoshop layers and we might be able to see what that something is.
It’s not all bad: the two things that are interesting are the proposed interaction devices. Thehappycorp’s recommendation to use a Wii controller is right on… but not for playing golf, you fools: use it to navigate the unbelievable complexity of the market! And Ziba’s puck has great potential: it reminds me of the scrollpads used in the more advanced air traffic control centers.
I’m passionate about this because I’ve recently been asked to help out on the redesign of a similar financial analytics interface. Just getting the finance analysts to sit in the room with us designers was already tough enough – when user-clueless designers start showing this kind of stuff it makes it harder for the rest of us who are trying to make something that actually helps.