Project - Re-design and re-launch of an ageing web platform for financial traders, including mobile optimisation
Product /service - Users can compare and monitor portfolios of stocks to consider for investment
Duration - 6 months
Team - Client domain advisors, PM, UX and visual designers /researchers, visual designer, developers, QA.
Activities - UX and competitor audit, scoping workshop, persona and journey mapping, UX and visual design, interactive prototyping.
Outcome - New site is currently in development and due for trial launch this quarter. 

Libra Investment Services' Apollo platform: Before and after

Libra Investment Services' 'Apollo' web platform allows financial traders to compare the performance of stocks, and save them into portfolios for easy monitoring. Whilst it provides accurate and informative comparison tools, at project start the product had dwindling numbers of subscribers. It was hampered by usability issues and little user understanding of what it could do. It could also not be used on mobile screens. Whilst at Pancentric, my team and I worked with Libra to overhaul and relaunch Apollo in six months.

The Libra team already had ideas how to improve the platform, and provided early concept work via Balsamiq. To quality check this and ensure the project started with a good foundation, we conducted a usability and design audit of Apollo and its closest competitors. Through several workshop sessions with the Libra team, we also built up a solid understanding of user needs and began linking their feature requests back to known user requirements.

We co-created a user story map using Realtimeboard, describing user journeys through the platform, prioritising use scenarios and mapping out features. We noted important contextual information, such as which areas were more likely to be used on mobile and which on large screens in an office environment.

To choose our visual design direction, we used a range of images from competitors and related products, organised by style. This allowed our client to select what felt right for them, whilst we offered advice on uses of colour and fonts for best usability and accesibility. 

The design team worked for several weeks on UX and UI design, creating Sketch mockups posted to Invision to assess interactions /navigation, and to Realtimeboard to maintain an overview of screens and modules. We talked daily with client domain advisors and the development team, refining the interface as we learned more about use scenarios and how to optimise for development. 

The design advanced quickly over dozens of iterations, using daily feedback from our client and development team. With pages and modules reasonably well established, we focused greater effort on visual design, applying styles to charts and tables that gave the modern, efficient impression we wanted whilst balancing usability. Key information was formatted for 'at a glance' checks with larger fonts and highlight colours.

We knew that many users would check stock portfolios whilst commuting on their mobiles, and this informed UX work focus. We optimised all screens for mobile use, considering various ways of formatting charts and tables and testing them with interactive prototypes to make our choices.

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