Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Financial Planning Demo From Accenture / Avenade

As mentioned last week, banking apps seem to be the first big fad on Surface. Here's Accenture's version.

While I like the concept, I'm not sure why it is being developed for Surface instead of a lower end capacitive product.
- It doesn't seem to leverage Surface's two differentiating factors:
Tagged Artifacts and the ability to measure blob orientation.
- UI development could run a lot faster in Flash
- The physical dimensions of Surface seem inappropriate for this scenario. I'm not sure where the banker's legs are. From what I can tell they should be inside the Surface table.

A Thought
It would be nice for customers to take away a printed copy of the converstations

1. Is a signature on Surface legally binding?
2. Usability testing I have seen suggests that, on Surface, 3D objects should be in one point perspective, with the POV at the center of the table. This way, all viewers can read the object. Do people find the 3D charts in this video difficult to read?

More notes later.


  1. Outside of the fact that it seems like software that would be very inflexible in actually guiding one through the myriad of financial options one might need, the human interaction is odd.

    I find it weird that the financial planner is behind a desk. This means he has to read everything upside down. Perhaps this explains today's financial markets...

    Why the keyfob for security? The planner has been using their info to make this presentation. The account holder is physically in the office.

    Good to see some of the $700B might trickle down to UI :)

  2. I did some development on this app, so I can help answer some of your thoughts/questions.

    1. The signature thing is something we threw in for fun, but I don't see why it couldn't be legal. (certainly as good as electronic CC signatures stores) We also have a print function though.
    2. There's just the one graph that's 3d, and this was more a fun addon, but the idea is that the information is targeted at the customer (on one side of the table) and being explained by the advisor, who is already familiar with that data. So you could make the argument that a POV tilted towards the customer side of the table makes some sense.
    We also have a 'cube' control that rotates through 4 different sides of content. That control's POV is centered and its rotation controls orient to whoever touched it last.

    More generally, I don't really agree that blob orientation and tagged objects are Surface's only differentiators. It's the only commercially available multi-touch device, that I know of, that does more than 5 simultaneous touch recognition (very important for collaborative applications). Well other than Jeff Han's 100k walls. And it's optimized for a horizontal form factor (light defraction layer and all that).

  3. Hi Ben,

    There are many reasons to go with surface...tight integration into the MS product stack is a big one.

    While I agree with you that collaborative multitouch is a differentiator, Diamondtouch (which is theoretically for sale) is a better, lower latency collaborative tool.

    Was there any element of the Avenade financial planning demo that used more than 2 point multitouch?


  4. Dear Anonymous,

    This is a forum for ideas, insight and creative criticism.

    If you have a productive addition to the conversation that is new, thoughtful, or witty I would be glad to add your comment.

    Perhaps posts on:
    - Improving this demo's UX
    - Your experience putting together UX design teams
    - Your vision for Surface?