Eikon is Thomson Reuters primary market data platform, offering a mix of referential and analytical tools, used by over 100,000 financial professionals around the world. Whilst incremental development continued to move the product forward, it was felt that a huge opportunity existed to improve the quality and breadth of coverage of the offering by transforming it into an open platform. This would allow third parties to build apps leveraging Thomson Reuters data and the distribution channel provided by Eikon.
The first stage of work was to flesh out the concept and explore the key implications for the design of the product and the impact on the business model. The design team organised workshops with key stakeholders, sketching potential interface solutions and developing a presentation to outline the proposed solution. I worked on every aspect of the project, including developing the concepts, creating diagrams to explain key concepts, writing copy and helping to create the presentation. The work was presented to over 200 senior managers from across the company, building understanding and buy-in for the proposed work.
A key part of the transformation of the product was the change from a single window to a ‘floating desktop’, in which apps occupied separate windows, controlled by a toolbar at the top of the screen. This afforded much greater flexibility than in previous designs – especially for professionals using multiple screens.
I worked closely with product management and development to design every detail of the new interface. Sequential wireframes were developed which illustrated key workflows through the product. These allowed early testing of the ideas and aided communication with senior stakeholders. User experience and implementation challenges were identified early and changes made, with the design developing rapidly over a period of weeks.
Once the agile development process began, specifications were created for sections of the experience as they were required. I hosted calls with the development team several times each week to talk through new specifications; review work that was underway; and discuss upcoming needs. Specifications were kept deliberately lightweight, tackling only one small piece at a time and relying on regular discussion to fill in any details. This ensured that a common understanding was established and allowed rapid changes to be made where problems were identified, or new opportunities found.
Visual Design and Animation
I worked closely with visual designers to translate the visual signature work for the platform into a workable implementation. Particular challenges involved the translation of the design from Photoshop into an implementation in WPF within the constraints of the development timescales. To avoid visual design problems being de-prioritised, I agreed a working model with development in which they would dedicate two hours a week to visual design fixes. I hosted calls during this time which brought the visual designer and developers together to review the implementation. Problem areas were examined, colour values and sizing information provided in real time and the impact of the changes reviewed. This allowed us to respond dynamically to limitations in the implementation, achieving a much better result than simply providing specifications and waiting for feedback.
In a number of areas, interactions involved animated effects, such as dragging tabs to dock and undock windows. Simple animations were created to show the intended effect and explore the event timings.
Once early versions of the software were available, I helped to organise user testing in the design team’s usability lab. This allowed us to explore key areas of uncertainty and feed corrections back to development in real time.
The application was completed and released to the market in January 2014 as Eikon version 4.0.