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
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
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