Pricing Engine

This project was done for a prominent organization based in Abu Dhabi that deals in foreign exchange and remittances. The client has a global presence, however they have been using a decade-old pricing engine which needs to be updated regularly over time. The goal of the project was to replace their outdated system with a more robust one.

People involved in this part of business operation

In this project, I got the opportunity to work on some of their very complex modules used in their Pricing Engine: it's one of their core business modules where they set currency rates based on a variety of factors.

GHQ Treasury Team:

Monitors rate fluctuations and sets GHQ mark-ups

CHQ

Monitors rate fluctuations and sets CHQ mark-ups for countries

Pricing Team

Assist treasury users to set mark-up values.

Branch Users

They initiate the transactions through the POS system. End customers interact with the branch user to make a remittance.

Currency Rate

The currency rate flows from GHQ to the end customer by passing through different stages of mark-ups, this includes profit margins of various stakeholders, volatility factor of the currency and buying/selling costs given by the rate providers

Naturally, there was a need for a much more adaptable system that can assist all the stakeholders involved in this business operation.

USDCAD rate
Bid and Ask rates are the decisive factors that affect the buying and selling rates of the currency. Company's objective is to have a system that helps the treasury team members to manage rates to achieve business goals quickly.

How I approached for the solution

Once I understood the type of users involved in this part of the business operation (Pricing), I began documenting their challenges with the current system implemented.

It gave me a unique perspective on the kind of solutions that they would expect. After collecting the most crucial pain points, I started working on the user journey and designing initial wireframes. I prepared a clickable wireframe -which demonstrated the entire user journey as well as the various interactions by all types of users (GHQ, CHQ, Pricing Team members). At this stage, I started receiving valuable feedback from them.

Annotated Wireframes

Prototyping and Findings

The client had a dedicated product owner assigned to this particular Pricing module who worked with us to streamline the user testing of our prototypes. He also had more than ten years of experience in the Pricing aspect of the business. After doing our initial testing with the prototypes we discovered —

Time plays a very critical role in the success of the business; treasury members make quick decisions based on data presented to them. - Collective feedback from our initial prototypes.

After reviewing their feedback, I prepared some design solutions: in one of the solutions, I utilized the pre-attentive processing principle by using colour patterns to add another layer of information onto the tabular data.

Pre-attentive processing

USDCAD rate
Pre-attentive processing is the subconscious accumulation of information from the environment. All available information is pre-attentively processed. Then, the brain filters and processes what is essential. - Source Wikipedia

I used colours to embed further information about the numbered values. Based on the currency's threshold tolerance, values appear in different colours depending on where they exist on the selected threshold scale. This solution provided the pricing team a faster method to identify the values that needed immediate attention.

Other considerations made in the design process-

  1. Options for keyboard short-cut to quickly find and modify values.
  2. Some screens required tabular data to be displayed with a large number of columns. Once I established a pattern, I grouped the data into subsections which can be accessed by clicking on the individual section names.
  3. The user receives proper feedback when he/she interacts with data on the screen. It gives the user a sense of confidence because he/she is always aware of the current state of the system.

After doing a couple of iterations with our prototypes, we were able to achieve the desired user interface that solved most of the business problems.

Challenges, Stumbles and Victories

  1. Working on a large scale project where multiple teams from different organizations are involved, brings with it all kinds of challenges. It was a very ambitious product by the client, and I realized that communication was the most critical factor when working in such an environment. Initially, we faced many challenges to simply convey our messages across, but at the end, we were able to catch up with the pulse of this orchestra.
  2. Since it was a particularly complex product, it required multiple workshops spanning over more than a month to simply understand the business requirements and challenges that come with the project.

Takeaways

It was a great learning experience for me, where I learned how to work on large scale projects. This project also gave me a small piece of knowledge in the Foreign Exchange Market.

For me, the most important takeaway was that while working on the project I met with many staff members at the client-side, some became excellent friends. People show much trust in you when you let them know that you speak their voice. When they see you as a part of their problem-solving effort, as a UX designer, my job becomes a lot easier. I think, as a UX Designer, It gives you the highest satisfaction when at the end of the day you're able to solve a small piece of a problem that makes someone else's life a bit easier.