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MyStock

For investors who want to do algorithmic trading, but don't want to code

MyStock is a one-stop stocks analysis and algorithmic trading platform. It helps US investors to manage and create custom automated buy-and-hold trading strategies with no coding, and stay informed about their stocks portfolio, and allows investors to use algorithms to stop emotional trading.

MyStock processes and analyses data from the US stock market, macroeconomics, market quotes, financial data and other providers. It collects terabytes of data about fundamentals, technical analysis, expert opinions, macroeconomic trends to produces signals that incorporate all the information for end users.

Please bear in mind that I've changed the name of the tool and have omitted any confidential information in this case study to comply with a non-disclosure agreement
Samples of graphs and charts that I created for MyStock.

My role

I was invited as UX consultant to lead the design efforts for MyStock. I joined a diverse Lean Startup team to oversee the process of product discovery and to design testable prototypes. As part of my strategic role, I also helped to recruit design talent for MyStock team. I provided recommendations on how to interview designers and reviewed dozens of portfolios at different levels of seniority.

Exposition

In the summer of 2018, I was invited to be a guest speaker at a conference for startups in Almaty where I talked about how Lean UX approach helps me in my work as a UX designer. We discussed many aspects of Lean Startup and the importance of validating an idea with real users through early and lightweight tests.

After the conference, MyStock co-founder approached me and invited me to run a one-day training course about Design Thinking process with their team. A few months later MyStock proposed to help them with designing a new version of the native app. I had to work remotely because I was based in the UK while the team was distributed across three countries Kazakhstan, Ireland and USA.

Workshops and talks that I ran with the team.

The challenge

Initially, MyStock provided ready to use stock analysis in a simple format with negative, neutral, and positive signals. The original app was built for mobile users only. Clients of the app could see how any company listed on the New York stock exchange is performing on the move. It allowed users to save time on research and analysis and improve their investment decisions by making them more data-driven.

Preliminary market research findings were suggesting that the majority of potential customers were using the desktop for research and maintenance of their stock portfolios. This finding shifted initial idea of re-designing existing native app. We decided to focus on creating an experience for desktop users instead.

The original app was plateauing, the acquisition rate was falling, and the retention rate was low. App store statistics showed that 60% of users left negative feedback and a one-star rating. We decided to dig deeper to try to figure out why was that happening. To do that we conducted formative research.

Mo's journey map.
Ideation session that I ran remotely, and few examples of personas that we created and stored on Trello.

Research

UX researchers conducted a Diary study with a group of existing and prospective customers, which later helped us with mapping a user journey. We recruited people from a list of existing subscribers and also reached out to a broader audience via LinkedIn, Facebook and professional platforms and apps such as TradingView and Robinhood.

We were pleasantly surprised that many investors were happy to chat with the interviewer for free. They just wanted to help us to improve the tool. The studies enabled us to understand usage scenarios, motivations and behaviours of our users.  As we learned more about their routine, habits and how they feel when performing tasks we discovered opportunities for a new product.

We found that investors need to stay organised, stop emotional trading and stay focused. They also want to create custom algorithmic strategies. However, many investors don't know how to code with Python, a skill vital for effective creation of the custom algorithm. Instead, they use an Excel spreadsheet with custom formulas and mathematical equations, taking a lot of variables which overloads the system and they have to wait minutes even hours to see the result of back-test.

We pivoted the idea of a stock analytics tool to a personalised and robust solution for investors. A new tool would give control to investors to create code-free custom but-and-hold trading strategies, add companies of interest into a watchlist and see how they perform in the market with a better overview of stock indicators. This would enable investors to make informed decisions based on real-time data quickly.

Initial lo-fi prototype that I created to validate an idea.

Validating an idea

Following a customer development process, we’ve created a landing page to see if there is an interest in a new product. Within a few weeks, we received surprising result saying that over 12% of users who landed on a page left their emails. We also asked people to give us feedback regarding the new product; it helped us to gather ideas for new features.

I made a prototype which we tested with investors who participated in the initial Diary study. We conducted a series of moderated distributed usability tests and interviewed users at the post-session interviews. The overall design of the work received positive feedback. Please see an example of the test scenario below:

Adding a new strategy and editing existing trading strategy with a code-free tool.
MVP

We prioritised all of our ideas for product and design pipelines and came up with a list of features good enough for early adaptors to create trading strategy. Said new strategy could then be applied to a watchlist of companies of interest.

Watchlist page and adding a new company to a watchlist.
Samples of style guides and UI components that I developed as part of my role.

Outcomes

Within just two weeks we’ve discovered an idea that solves users pain points. We motivated early adopters to subscribe to the product which had not launched yet and became convinced of the necessity of the idea. Users helped us to understand the scope and requirements of the product and the whole product development process was aligned with users feedback. We received positive feedback from existing users and subscribers.

However, the reality is that MyStock team had spent most of the venture funds to create the original native app. So to implement a new idea, they had to raise venture capital from VC firms and angel investors. Investors who were backing up the team along the way have decided to put the project on hold. And the team is currently searching for other ways to raise funds, and I wish them all the best in their endeavours.

Learnings

Working on MyStock was a fantastic opportunity to try me as a UX consultant and perform a strategic role within a team, as well as to learn more about the stock market and private investment. I enjoyed the challenge of working remotely with the international organisation, and I enjoyed the opportunity to work in a startup environment. I earned valuable experience in working with SaaS application and learned more about lean startup methodology.

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