Trading at the Speed of Voice

Creating the financial trading desk of the future.


Cloud9 Technologies (Cloud9), a leader in cloud-based communications, is changing the way financial traders communicate. While legacy voice trading platforms have seen little technological advancement, Cloud9’s cloud-based platform digitizes voice conversations on the trading floor, enabling industry professionals to make better decisions faster.

Our innovation strategy experts, industrial designers and user experience specialists helped Cloud9 to define the next-generation trading experience for this platform. Together we designed a hybrid console that seamlessly integrates a new hardware and software experience. C9Trader Stratus delivers business continuity from the trading desk to the cloud and allows institutional traders to manage trading activity remotely.

 

How We Helped

  • Led field research with institutional traders and brokers to understand the role Cloud9 hardware and software played in the overall trading experience
  • Applied a user-led design process to define a product roadmap that anticipates new technologies, user profiles, and business demands
  • Aligned hardware and application design to develop a platform that enables industry professionals to make better decisions faster

 

 

Define a next-generation trading experience for a large user community

 
Trading “turrets” are sophisticated transaction environments that operate at the nexus of information and communications. Highly skilled traders and brokers in these environments simultaneously manage calls with dozens of people for hundreds of financial assets in real-time. They are workplaces that combine the rush of the trading floor with the mental load of an air traffic control tower.
 

 

The sales process still relies on a cascade of handset-based conversations where traders close deals with voice confirmation. While traders are accustomed to minor feature changes that draw out incremental efficiencies, Cloud9 challenged our team to define a step-change in performance for their voice-oriented trading platform. Their goal: uniformly elevate all aspects of their current hardware and software UX.

 

Translate complex trader voice conventions into criteria for an improved experience

 
Context frames design criteria, particularly when a UX environment is as site-specific and activity dependent as a trading desk. Our learning was grounded in field research with institutional traders and brokers to understand the role Cloud9 hardware and software played in the overall trading experience: making and taking calls; monitoring call states; talking while listening; reacting to market changes; and ultimately, buying and selling securities and commodities.

We observed personalized desk setups and preferences. We interviewed traders and brokers to understand differences in their roles and specific needs and priorities of activities that punctuated their day. We noted different user mental models and conventions, awkward interactions with hardware or software, and opportunities for the workflow to become more transparent or efficient.

Our learnings were consolidated in models that described the shared requirements and preferences for four user segments. We used insights about these user groups to generate UX concepts that proposed alternative call flow management solutions. As functions were prioritized through evaluative research with target users, forms emerged to guide the visualization of possible hardware and software choices.
 

 

 
 

An innovation trajectory for a connected hub in a more digital environment

 
Our development process consolidated around a hybrid design that provided a seamless hardware- and software-supported experience. The approach was as welcoming for expert traders and brokers with a preference for hard key workflows as it was for junior traders with the responsibility of managing incoming calls. Configuration controls in both domains allowed individual users to fine-tune physical and display preferences and optimize their personal hub performance.

The new hybrid console — now called the C9Trader Stratus — provides a logical bridge forward for the Cloud9 community. All user segments can now more logically and efficiently manage their call velocity, structure priorities in their call wells, and navigate complex workflows. Advanced features also support contact with remote colleagues, visualize call flow metrics for managers and connect Cloud9 users across the trading community.
 

 

 

 
 

C9Trader Stratus has defined a clear innovation path for this elite trading user community

 
Scalable, intuitive, and familiar, the C9Trader Stratus solution has reset the expectations for voice communication management on the modern trading desk. The user-led design process not only resolved pressing ease of use concerns with current hubs, it also defined a Cloud9 product roadmap that anticipates new technologies, new user profiles and new business demands.

Cloud9’s technology is an asset to the industry. In fact, in 2021, the company was acquired by Symphony – the leading financial markets’ infrastructure and technology platform. With Cloud9’s capabilities to draw on, Symphony will take the lead in the nascent market communications space.

The Essential team, part of PA, are committed to helping us deliver value to our own customers. With the ability to align hardware and application design, while also keeping our customer at the core, the team at PA has supported our mission to drive innovation that enables industry professionals to make better decisions faster.

 
– Jim Miller, COO, Cloud9 Technologies