As banks continue to build on the digital banking momentum, they must pay attention to design debt and cross-platform consistencies within their digital suites. This will improve user satisfaction, process efficiencies and cost to serve.

In a recent engagement with a global bank, Norman and Sons discovered significant challenges caused by a lack of interconnection between trading tools in equities.

The Challenge

Traders in equities are under pressure to respond to important trade requests in the right way.  

Traders were using a suite of applications to obtain the data they needed to price a trade accurately. These applications looked and felt different from each other – worse still, the applications didn’t talk to each other. Basic example;

When pricing an RFQ for Vodafone, traders must manually enter ‘Vodafone’ in 5 applications:

  • The Pricer
  • The Risk viewer
  • Trade & RFQ History
  • Market data
  • Lifecycle Management

What’s the problem?

With only 10-15 seconds to respond to the client’s request, it took too long to gather the data together to make an informed pricing decision. As a result, traders had to ‘go with their gut’ feel, which usually involved being very risk-averse. The bank was unable to price deals to win business aggressively.  

The Solution

Norman and Sons sat with traders to identify the questions they needed to answer when responding to a client enquiry. We assessed which components needed to work together to provide the answer to these questions. We prototyped how desktop interoperability could allow traders to connect these disparate components to display a “trader fact pack” with just one click – preventing the need for multiple searches and filtering.

We helped reduce unnecessary cognitive load on traders by ironing out user experience inconsistencies. The new design ensures that the most common actions are done consistently across applications, allowing traders to quickly identify the data they need – giving them more time to focus on getting the price right for the important trades.

'As soon as I played with the first design prototype, I felt like a caveman using an iPhone for the first time. The positive impact on our decision-making ability has been immense.'

By immersing ourselves with the traders, performing research, testing ideas before development and building an interactive prototype, we could better understand the traders’ goals and frustrations. We mapped the application needs, created a design solution and identified functional improvements which could be implemented across the suite of trading tools.


Trader RFQ response rates increased. Critically, the Bank increased its Hit Rate with its Tier 1 – or, most important – clients.

More importantly, the quality of the pricing decisions increased: More trades were won in line with risk appetite, meaning traders were gaining the business that the Bank wanted.  

Traders agreed unanimously that the consistent design and user experience across the applications aids their processing of data, reduces the risk of human error, increases their rate of trade and makes their lives easier.


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