Copyright © 2020 Xiaonan Ma.

Investment Platform

Product Type

Cloud-based investment web app

 

End User

Hedge fund clients

Project Time

2019 - present

Contributions

UX/UI Design, User Interview, Usability Test, Design System

Team

UX Designers, UI Engineers, Software Engineers, Product Managers, Project Managers

The Eze Eclipse platform is an award-winning cloud-based investment web application for hedge funds. It supports full investment process with its front-, middle and back-office services. As a UX Design at SS&C Eze, I’m responsible for being the voice of users, understanding their problems and needs, and designing the next generation Eze Eclipse.

My Role

  • Responsible for UX/UI design for key product areas such as trading, analytics, modeling and compliance. Take ownership of projects from start to finish – including research, ideation, information architecture, wire-framing, visual design, prototyping and testing.

  • Collaborate with product managers and scrum teams to understand complex requirements and transform them into simple, frictionless, user-focused designs.

  • Perform User Experience reviews for projects in active development to ensure they adhere to design specifications and established style guidelines.

  • Organize and facilitate small-scale usability tests with the team.

  • Clearly articulate the reasoning behind design decisions and communicate effectively with non-designers.

  • Contribute to the evolving design system.

Design Examples

Design examples below are retrieved from SS&C Eze public social media shared contents*.

Industry, Business and Product

I think it’s very important to have a deep understanding of the industry, business and product. This high-level big picture is like the North Star, it helps me make rational decisions and develop design solutions in the right direction through all design stages. When I joined SS&C Eze, I listed the questions below to help me build the “Big Picture”. And I learned the knowledge from product managers, UX director, internal and external training courses.

From business’s perspective:

  • Which segment does SS&C Eze belong to in FinTech industry?

  • What product does SS&C Eze have and what are their focuses?

  • What is Eze Eclipse and what does make this product different?

  • How does Eze Eclipse make profit?

  • What products are Eze Eclipse competitors?

  • What is the road map for Eze Eclipse’s future?

From users' perspective:

  • How does hedge fund work?

  • What is the normal structure of a hedge fund company?

  • What are the professional roles in a hedge fund company?

  • What are those professions’ responsibilities in their daily works?

  • How does their daily workflows look like?

  • How do they use Eze Eclipse?

To learn this knowledge, I took the internal training courses and also utilized some external online resources. Furthermore, the product managers I’m working with are very nice and supportive. I scheduled multiple training meetings with different product managers from each product area. They shared the industry knowledge, Eze Eclipse’s features and answered my questions in great details. It was a fun learning journey. Below is a brief introduction of a typical hedge fund company structure with related functions that I learned.

Front Office

Portfolio management

Research and analytics

Modeling

Order management

Trade execution

Middle Office

Trade support

Compliance

Counterparty relationship

Portfolio recordkeeping

Reconciliation processing

Risk management

Back Office

Operation

Hedge fund administrators

Client reporting

Accounting

Investor relations

User Study

At SS&C Eze, UX team learn users with the means below:

  • Interview and research meetings with clients

  • Product managers share information from their researches

  • Feedback and request submitted by clients

 

We utilized the information and built key personas who can represent different roles in a hedge fund company. Below is an example of persona “trader”*:

Ray Clark

Trader at Hingham Hedge Fund

Hingham Hedge Fund is a start-up with 10 employees with $660 Million AUM (Assets Under Management).

Introduction

Ray is an ambitious trader. His work is driven by results and needs him to work fast with confidence. He has strong analytical skills, commercial mindset and attention to detail. Ray is responsible for managing the actual transacting of capital. This process is stressful and he needs immediate feedback when takes action. He works with and support other Traders, Portfolio Manager, Analysts, and Research Scientists.

Skills

  • Fast typing

  • Synthesizing and react

  • Calculated risk-taking

  • Forming relationships with sell-side

Challenges

  • Market competition

  • Compliance interruptions

  • Communicating with multiple sources

  • Integrated systems

  • Unreliable software (e.g., FIX issues)

 

Software Tools

  • Uses keyboard more than mouse

  • Needs precise configuration

  • Uses Bloomberg Terminal

Goals

  • Create orders efficiently with accuracy

  • Get the best execution price

  • Execution without causing price movement

  • Hit commissions goals

Key Tasks

  • Enter and route different type of orders

  • Keep an eye on market data

  • Communicate PL status to Portfolio Manager

  • Manage broker relationships

  • Research broker-sponsored content

Next Generation Design System

When I completed several design projects and UX audit tasks after I joined the UX team at SS&C Eze, I realized the Eze Eclipse platform has UX/UI consistency issues. Different UX/UI patterns were identified in different product area of the application. After more research and analysis, I found there are various reasons and one main cause is from design system.

 

The existing design system is based on atomic design methodology. It has well-established UI components with HTML/CSS code. On the other hand, guidance and rules about how to use apply those UI components are undefined or vaguely presented. For a similar function or a standard user flow (such as edit and save function flow), different designers in the team may use different UI elements or user flow patterns. This leads to the product level user experience and visual experience for the user is not consistent or smooth.

 

From my view, UI elements are like unassembled furniture pieces in an Ikea box. Without manual book’s instruction, it’s easy to make mistakes and hard to assemble the quality furniture in the right way. A comprehensive design system should include UI components, UX patterns, clear guidance and instructions.

=

Design System

CSS

Pattern Library

+

Guidance and Rules

With more research and analysis, I think the design system for Eze Eclipse should cover the topics below:

  • Brand identity

  • Design philosophy

  • High level visual design language, such as color, typography, spacing, etc.

  • UI pattern library, such as button, form, modal, image, etc.

  • UX pattern library

  • Interaction pattern

  • Templates

  • Format standardization 

  • Detailed instructions, such as when and how to use an element; what the correct context is; Do's and Don'ts with examples.

I shared my ideas with the team and we had more discussions. Our team together found out more issues and opportunities we can improve, such as night mode, mobile version, naming convention, CSS token, etc. Currently we are working on the next generation Eze Eclipse Design system.

Measure UX/UI & Usability Test

Even though the UX team receives positive feedbacks from clients from time to time, we are asked about KPIs and financial returns by internal stakeholders frequently. The solution is to quantify designs and we can measure, compare, and track the user experience of Eze Eclipse over time. I lead the project and our team together explored UX metrics and various methods to measure UX/UI designs. Please check UX Metrics & Usability Tests project for more details. Below are UX metric examples:

Quantitative UX metrics

  • Task success rate

  • Time on task

  • Use of search vs. navigation

  • User error rate

  • System Usability Scale (SUS)

Qualitative UX metrics

  • Reported expectations and performance

  • Overall satisfaction

Lessons Learned and Achievements 

  • Built great connections and relations with stakeholders in a short time

  • Improved UX team workflow by suggesting agile sprint cycle

  • Contributed research ideas and techniques 

  • Helped the team to improve

  • Learned principles and techniques for designing dark theme

*To comply with non-disclosure agreement, confidential information and details have been replaced or omitted. Eze Eclipse’s design examples are retrieved from SS&C Eze public social media sharing contents.