Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A dashboard two ways

One of the perpetual issues we face as a company that sells prediction markets is reconciling two primary kinds of users: the first are people who have never heard of a prediction market or aren't familiar with stock market concepts. This is the vast majority of our users. They are usually being asked by someone inside their company to participate in an internal prediction market and the experience is completely new to them.

The second type of users are familiar with stock market concepts, understand buying and selling shares, and have maybe even participated in a prediction market before like the HSX or Intrade or the Iowa Electronic Markets.

We've always worked hard to try and satisfy both camps in one user experience, usually erring on the side of simplification vs. complexity. But that's a fine line to walk and instead of really making both types of users completely satisfied, we've delivered more of an 80/20 experience.

Last year we began the split of the two user groups with two distinct trading interfaces for "simple" and "advanced" users. In a couple days, we'll be following up this split with the availability of two different dashboards to track predictions. The default will be a "simple" dashboard where you'll track your investments, but will never come in to contact with the concept of "buying shares."

Here's what an entry in the simplified dashboard will look like:

We wanted to make sure the only calculation the user would need to understand is, I spent X to make the crowd prediction Y. We also tell them what their maximum profit or maximum loss would be at any given time. And we let them see the "history" of predictions in any answer, describing in plain language exactly what they did at any given time:

In contrast, a person could choose to use the "advanced dashboard" which simply reveals more about their predictions. They can see how many shares they bought, the concept of short selling is not hidden but is instead made transparent, and there are more liquidation options.

We've also built a search function for your dashboard, so those who have more than one page of predictions can easily find them by typing in a word or two associated with the question instead of having to page through them or rely only on various sorting options. Someone told us recently they have over 40 pages of predictions on their dashboard. Search should be a huge timesaver.

I'm sure we still haven't gotten either experience perfect, but this should lay the foundation for better satisfying both levels of users.

Expect to see the new dashboard introduced some time Thursday or Friday evening.

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