Mobile Trader App

TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim is an award winning derivative trading platform for active traders.  The platform includes a desktop application and mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android phone and tablet.  

Since I joined the team, the mobile trading app has consistently won industry awards and top rankings as best mobile trading app.  

- TD Ameritrade Mobile Trading Platform #1: Best Online Brokers, Investor's Business Daily
- TD Ameritrade #1 in Mobile Trading: 2017 Online Broker Rankings, Stockbroker's.com
- TD Ameritrade Mobile Trading top ranked: Barron's 2017 Best Online Broker Ranking
My Role
I am the product Principle User Experience Design Lead.  I work directly with product owners and business leaders to create the experience vision for all app features and functionality.  I listen to daily client feedback and talk with clients at conferences, trade shows, and user research sessions to ensure their needs are met.  I collaborate with our internal and external development partners, design agency team, user research and client engagement teams, trade desk partners, and our QA teams.

Due to the deep level of knowledge required to design for Mobile Trader, I added a junior design partner in 2015 and have mentored his growth into an integral part of the Trader analysis and design team. 
Experience Strategy and Vision
The trader apps are specifically designed to be a companion to the desktop and our goals are:
- Frictionless trading
- Uninterrupted monitoring of watchlists, positions, and markets
- Intelligent defaults and presets  
- High degree of customization
- Seamless monitoring and trading experience across devices

I have also created concepts and new functionality for supporting a growing base of mobile only users and new to trading users.
Process
The team generally runs an Agile Process.  When longer "sprints" (marathons?) occur, the UX and design teams move into concept development and interface improvements that feed the overall product roadmap. 

Our process is Lean and relies on a core team to review all features and functionality.  I spend a short time with product and business partners to frame the problem and vision for a solution based on client feedback and requests, and immediately begin concept wireframes using Sketch that we present in Invisionapp as tappable prototypes.  
Healthy Debate and Collaboration - Clients Included
The core team then proceeds to the healthy debate phase, where the meat of the requirements and scope, as well as the final flows and interaction design get hammered into shape. The use of Invisionapp prototypes gives us the opportunity to run small user tests with clients or run things by our trade desk partners, who are traders themselves, for gut checks. 

Beta releases are often available at the time of conferences or trade shows and I will run small usability tests with clients, in person.  We turn our insights from these around during QA, ensuring the final release has been through as many feedback loops as possible.  In the event of release that creates feedback on the UX of a feature, we look at root cause, make rapid changes, and issue a patch release. 
iOS and Android
We begin all of our designs with iPhone to work out most of the interaction flows, then move on to iPad and Android phone and tablet.  

Asia, Canada and U.S.
We maintain 3 versions of the apps for the Asia, Canada, and U.S. markets.  They all function exactly the same except where country specific regulations apply.  
Visual Design Style
Mobile Trader apps are designed within the thinkorswim sub-brand, and generally have a more refined and user-friendly look than the desktop platform.  The app allows for a black or white interface, so all colors, shading, contrast and readability are reviewed by the core team during design production.  We use device specific patterns to ensure we are not tied to any high degree of customization and can move quickly to adopt new OS's and user expectations for mobile conventions.
Mobile Trader
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Mobile Trader

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Published: