Fundbase is known for its intense and relentless attitude for amazing products and user-centered solutions. We strive to deliver functional products that are both intuitive and creative and these are in fact great points in a successful journey. It’s no surprise that any product that is launched needs to have the right pieces in place and one can never forget of all the road blocks that might arise.
When we talk about a product to launch it is imperative to consider what we will face in the road ahead and one can never underestimate the meetings, discussions, ideas, brainstorming sessions, what problems we want to solve, why we might go towards “A” direction rather than “B”. Simply put, there needs to be a concise reasoning for every decision made in this process and at Fundbase we love it!
The Story Behind The Product
Back 6 months ago, we were in a hurry to create an experience that would be unique to say the least. There are literally tens of thousands hedge fund investors and institutions out there, each with their own deals and portfolios to manage. The aggregation of analytic reports, documents, notes, portfolio management tools are only a few of many different assets a fund manager needs to be able to oversee and having one main platform to manage all these is critical for any successful fund/portfolio manager – Fundbase began to research, brainstorm and discuss the possibility of improving its platform to accommodate this venture and we are calling it Fundbase Alpha.
In order to create a successful product, we needed to plan and most of all – iterate many, many times, rinse and repeat. We are dealing with a beast of a product, a managing tool that will change an investor’s way to invest and manage – all for the better. We are talking about a multi-facet product that will save thousands of hedge fund managers and investors time and money on the long run. You might ask, what is the key to launching such product with so many “unknowns”? The answer is simple – we iterate. This is the one key that can make or break any potential idea from moving forward. With this understanding we began by joining key players in our company, to sit down and plan this path to success. Below are some of the stages from this process.
Here are the designs from the old experience:
STAGE ONE: Stop, Research & Sketch
This stage is critical as we need to define the key factors from a product that is already in action. We need to define what’s being used, what are the priorities and what needs to be factored in. It’s important to write it down, sketch ideas and concepts and only then we are able to make this a successful launch. This stage could easily be called: Due Diligence. In this stage we sketch and see what works, what does not work. We need to idealize what we need to create and what problem we are trying to solve and this piece of the puzzle is really important.
Another key factor to consider, is to bring in those who will play a major role helping the team to see, understand and move forward. By having too many team members can increase the time exponentially, so it’s important that the members who are involved, do need to be involved in this stage. Later in this process we will understand that some team members are not meant to help in the “Due Diligence” stage but rather are mostly utilized with great input, at later states. So define those that need to be in this beginning process first!
STAGE TWO: Framing Priorities & Ideas
Once we have basic sketches of what we know can work, we need to continue brainstorming in the process. Having wireframes done (We used Balsamic for some projects), it helps us greatly to visualize what began with basic ideas. Now in this stage we can define the areas that are most important in a more defined way and plan properly for the future designs and a better user experience.
STAGE THREE: Designing Phases & Many Iterations
If you think stage three is to simply apply what we learned from sketching and wire framing and coming up with a single design is the end of this road, think again. This is the stage we iterate and let me repeat that - this is the stage we ITERATE :P yes, all caps was intentional. This is a crucial moment when creating a product and launching it to success. The iterations in this stage will get you far in the game simply because we are using what we learned and as we design and put some flavor to our ideas, more ideas will come up. It’s a fun process because at this point we are seeing “what could look like” and even when we are considering “done” something we began sometimes months in advance, it’s important to understand that we will continue to learn from our users, since they will be the ones interacting closely with what we present them with.
Take a look below at the stages of this design process from what we began with to what we have live. Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.
After research we started to get some ideas down and began recreating the tiles panels for better user experience. Using our corporate colors, we were able to test, test and test.
From this point we knew we had something we wanted to work with, organize each section and give prominence to each fund. Each fund has it’s priorities and so we kept iterating for new approaches and the solutions began to arise.
Once we iterate more, we start to believe the colors are calling too much attention and why not reduce the contrast a bit but start to change structure a bit to fit to our ideas. We even played with the LIST VIEW idea along with this direction and we kept going – take a look.
At the end of many days and perhaps months we worked with some users to better understand their goals and needs and we continued to deliver some more design options and began defining our solution to a brand new Funds Management Platform - Fundbase Alpha. Here are some of the images: