This phase consists of research through designing, case studies, and user testing. Through this process, we go from ideation concepts to tangible prototypes, creating a full suite of possible alert designs.

We had to create an alert system design with opportunities to grow into an individualized trading platform.


We had to do user testing with a limited set of real/proxy users that could speak from enough experience.

Design Journey
Research in service to design was a running theme throughout our design journey. Each of the steps below address how we used design to answer our research questions, and how our findings influenced our final product.
Design Research
User Testing
Final Product
Design Research
To make our work suitable for testing at Liquidnet, we started with hi-fi designs and did user testing.
User Testing
Our team used onsite interviews and remote calls for testing. We talked to traders, relationship managers, and proxy users for feedback and input on designs.
Final Product
New analogous domain research and feedback from user testing helped inform the development of our final product.
Design Research
In preparation for onsite research, we refined our existing prototypes using insights from analogous research. This focused on specific case studies related to trading scenarios testing alert streaming and urgency.
Alert Case Studies
We brainstormed domains that excel in getting the user's attention or encouraging user action and examined their techniques. If they were similar to trading, we applied them to our prototypes.
Analogous Domains
Later in our research, we used Elito Method to find analogous domains to trading. These domain's alerting mechanisms were studied, and paradigms were translated to our designs.
Refining Prototypes
We developed hi-fi prototypes for onsite testing. The prototypes doubled up as a research tool for us to better ask user behavioral as well as evaluative questions to understand their state of mind.
How did we come to these concepts?
Our team first revisited the concepts brainstormed last semester. Due to difficulties interviewing traders, we used multiple sources of information to develop design guidelines for trading software.
After doing analogous case study work, our team focused on making four higher quality prototypes. Similar case studies were grouped together to make one testable concept for our onsite research.

User-Defined Alerts

Our visuals demo tests for urgency. Topics covered are color, animation, and sound. We tested a low, medium, and 2 high priority alerts.

Minimized View

This design was an unconventional, futuristic take. We wanted to challenge the current visual standard. We tested call-to-action through bubble alerts.


To save screen space and increase efficient use of space in the alert stream, we designed a grouping system that would collect similar alerts under one topic or area.
User Testing
We tested hi-fi prototypes onsite and learned which concepts and features had the most value for traders. This segment some key points from our synthesized notes - they informed our final revisions of the prototype.
Increase the intensity of high urgency alerts
A trader's tolerance for sounds and visuals is higher than we expected. Traders actually want and will handle intense alerts for immediate actions. In general, our highest urgency attention-grabbing alerts could even be more extreme, though this could verge on annoying for the trader.
Use animation for conveying data
Contrary to what we thought, animation is less important for grabbing attention and more important in the context of data. In graphs, animation can quickly show status or progress.
Features to keep
Feedback for the alert stream was to use color to alert or indicate urgency. Customization and grouping was popular, and many responded that it would give more control to traders. Minimized view was one of the most popular ideas, and users loved its space-saving capabilites.
How did we test our prototypes?
This section details the interview methodology used to test our prototypes, as well as some overall observations from the Liquidnet Labs event and other activities.
Interviews and other design activities done onsite were collected into a three-page Feedback Grid, whereas specific questions about desirability were sorted into a Kano Analysis chart.
After condensing our responses from Liquidnet Labs as mentioned in the last section, our team used the synthesized findings to iterate on our prototypes. Below are examples of how the alerts shown earlier evolved.

User-Defined Alerts

Sound classifications were previously misleading with red-green backgrounds indicating 'good' or 'bad' - we made our design more neutral and included more options as requested by those testing this concept.

Minimized View

The bubble form of the minimized view was extremely popular, though it clashed with the visual design of Liquidnet's current platform. In this update, we incorporated visual design elements like color and shape from our other alert features to make it feel more like a Liquidnet product.


We focused on improving the visual appearance of the grouped alerts - because they were popular, we made them the same size as normal alerts and also provided more description underneath as context for the grouping itself.
After incorporating the feedback into the prototypes just shown, our team did one more round of user testing and analogous domain research. We had proxy users remotely navigate our prototypes, and also we brought in domain specialists to discuss analogous domain work. This then influenced the final design of the alert prototypes made.
Final Product
After completing the synthesis of our user testing and finishing our last investigation into analogous domains, our team was able to build a guide of recommendations and prototype examples for Liquidnet. We developed the Tradewell Playbook, a resource that captures the guidelines, analogous domain research, and prototypes our team developed.
We conceptualized findings from secondary research and analogous domains into design guidelines that summarize the state-of-the-art practices.
Analogous Domain Research
Many analogous professions to trading require timely decision-making in high-stakes situations. After reseraching six analogous domains, we conceptualized their best practices into design guidelines.
With analogous domain and design guidelines gathered, we translated inspirations into prototypes which were validated by Liquidnet members and proxy users.
If you want to read about our final findings and view our revised prototypes, please view the Tradewell Playbook at the link below or contact our team for more details.
Trufflin Logo
Our team was extremely proud to hand our website to our clients at the conclusion of our project. We presented our final concepts to our peers, clients, and faculty and were able to end the project on a high note. Overall, this phase of the project pushed our team to design realistic trading technology, while still keeping the trader's needs at the heart of our design.

Our team designed realistic prototypes and was able to present alert design guidelines and research through our Tradwell Playbook.


Our team learned how to design demo prototypes for onsite work and discovered a unique way to present our findings to Liquidnet!

Previous step in our journey:
Trufflin Logo