Modernizing a trading giant for the new wave of retail investors
Lead product designer
UX / UI design
Design system owner
Based out of Florida, Tradestation is a brokerage company with a long-standing history and over 150,000 active traders. Tradestation is renowned, particularly among advanced traders for its powerful tools and diversity of assets offered. However, as powerful as it is, TradeStation is alienating a large proportion of the retail investor market and losing out to new players like Robinhood and Public.
Additionally, TradeStation had little to no experience working systematically with a design team where decisions were made in isolation using outdated code stacks meaning updates were slow, and inconsistent, and usability suffered as a result.
Setting our project principles together
We spoke extensively to TradeStation stakeholders and employees from all across to business to align on what the future of trading looks like at TS. We developed 4 key principles that underpinned our design, strategy, and decision-making going forwards.
A unified look and feel
Support and empower users
Trading available on-the-go
Grow user's confiedence & skills
Research: Claire, Ron, and Theo
Through stages of interviews, we began to form a picture of our users in various flows of the app. To aid the discussion we created 3 personas; Claire, Ron, and Theo – all of which had different experiences, lifestyles, and trading goals. Trading for many people is a part of their daily routine so we wanted to illustrate this by drawing up a comic. This helped us empathize with our users and revealed unique insights.
Improving design processes at TradeStation
To improve design quality and efficiency, we introduced new ways of working at TradeStation in order to reach our key project principles. We introduced these processes at TradeStation with collaboration with all parties of the team including; product owners, design principles, designers, and engineers.
Embracing iteration and a roadmap
Data-led design with clear goals, research & validation
Reduce build times by updating the codebase
Created a powerful system to improve all aspects of design
Proposed a full redesign of the app from MVP to vision
Async working cross different time zones
TradeStation Atlas was our team of designers, POs, managers, and engineers dedicated to the redesign of the mobile experience. We wanted to create a destination where novice and experienced traders could both gain from the app. We road-mapped our development starting with core features and added complexity, new features, and additional asset classes with each new round from Alpha V1 to Open Beta.
Make trading more accessible
To aid newbie investors we focused on education, learning, and guidance making sure they had the knowledge and were equipped with the right information to make the right trading decision for themselves. We did this by:
Discover was a core new feature that we, as a team, had prioritised in our V1 build. It was important to us that we were able to give investors insight into the latest market movements and highlight any prominent symbols so they don't miss out on a good trade. We used multiple data sources and created scalable designs to accommodate our expanding catalogue. Investors could discover new trade through; hotlists, symbol insights, market sectors, earnings calendar, analysis ratings, community sentiment, news, and more.
Creating confidence in the trade ticket
Following Discover, we focused on reimagining the trade ticket. It was important to us that we assured traders by being very clear with what they were ordering and giving them the right information at the right time for them to make their decisions. Alongside guidance, it was also important we didn't slow the ticket flow for our experienced traders so we allow users to swipe through values without needing to access the keyboard. We began with a simple market order that was able to scale to advanced orders including Stop Limit and Options spread trading. As with other parts of the app, we regularly tested each epic with customers and Tradestation employees.
Represented here is only a small section of the Atlas project. This case study would become far too long if I showed everything, however I would be more than happy to present the rest if interested. Currently the project is in Closed Beta and rolling into Open Beta at the beginning of October. Additional epics I was also responsible for included:
Experiments and future concepts
Prior to Project Atlas, we ran quick experiements imagining how future features could embed themselves in the app. These features included education, community, profiles, and trade-ratings. Here is only a small portion of what we explored.
Building a flexible design system focused on growth
Slow and steady wins the race
While I have led many projects for various products over the years, I've never worked with something quite as complex as a brokerage app. Also, I have never worked on a project with such historic technical debt making it a completely different kettle of fish entirely. My previous projects have often followed a script – the client sets a brief and their desired vision and key goals,
Increased knowledge of trading
Before this project, my understanding of trading was very errr, light. I knew the basics – buy low, sell high – but the intricacies escaped me. As a result, I admit it was at times difficult to design when I couldn't fully grasp all the data and understand the motivations. However, over the course of the project I have been able to speak to customers and experts directly giving me the chance to ask all my stupid questions, understand the data, and get into the mindset of your everyday trader. I've always found the learning experience hugely fulfilling and am grateful for all those who shared their knowledge (including the millions of videos I watched on YouTube!).
Alex Thurman Lead Product Designer
Matthew Rice Brand Designer
Bridget Dawodu Project Manager
Fabio Santos Product Designer
Najiba Noh UX Specialist & UX Researcher
Jeff Peters Director of Product Management
Francis Yango Senior Product Manager
Avery Lai Senior Product Owner
Adam Gessel Director of Software Engineering
Gerrit Schuller Director of Product Development
+ the team of talented developers!