NYTimes.com Markets Research Portal
In the fall of 2006, I was part of a small team at Wall Street on Demand that pitched The New York Times on a replacement for their MarketWatch-powered (meaning competitor-powered) financial markets research portal. We created a lengthy pitch-book, complete with research, domain expertise in the financial data visualization field, and ideas for how nytimes.com could better integrate its news content with relevant market data. We continued to meet with the client periodically for about a year before work started in earnest.
While our pitch work had been valuable in demonstrating our abilities from a cold start, we needed to start all over again once things were officially underway. This included meetings on-site with news editors, graphics editors, and web designers. We learned the ins-and-outs of their archaic publishing system (since replaced with WordPress) so that we could better understand how their web content producers’ work flowed throughout the day and night.
We learned the intricacies of their standards for web design, content design, and print-based financial visualization, and weaved them together into a new set of rules. Since few of these disciplines had been integrated by the Times themselves, we had to work with them to forge a hybrid model of displaying financial information on the web that felt at home within their sprawling, ever-changing site.
As our main work would take over a complete CNAME subdomain of their site, our developers needed to build a new platform on our end that perfectly mimicked the look and feel of the actual nytimes.com. I worked hand-in-hand with the development team to build both HTML and Flash-based tools (hey it was 2008) for users to investigate market data. We also worked closely with the client’s developers to create ways in which our content could show up within the main news stories.
In 2006, when we first pitched the client, I had been with the company a year, and was still a relatively new member of the design team, taking much direction from the Creative Director. By late 2007, when we started work from scratch, I was an Associate Creative Director myself, and oversaw 60-70% of the design and front-end engineering work, managing a range of 2-3 designers at a time. Our Creative Director oversaw the broad scope of work but many day-to-day management tasks were handled by me.
- Worked closely with members of the print-focused NYT Business Section graphics editors to determine just how to best port their design work to the web.
- Designed and coded the interface for a Chart Builder that allowed web producers to create one-off charts that could be embedded within news stories in a pinch, which came in very useful when the financial system collapsed in late 2008, and it was used to generate home page charts when the market dropped terrifying percentages in a single day.
- We created an amazing visualization for World Markets data, showing how when Asian markets moved, European markets moved, and then finally the US market moved. We based this chart on a one-off piece done by the Times for print, and we added 24-hour movement to it, showing a constant stream of market data, and how markets in one region affected movement in others.
We launched the site in 2008 and it’s still live today.
Sectors & Industries data visualization included in initial client pitch work.
News Impact chart, as envisioned for client pitch book.
Chart Builder UI, an interactive prototype I developed in HTML/CSS/jQuery.
NYT World Markets page, with 24h live charting for the highest-volume markets in the world.
NYT U.S. Markets page, including Major Indices 52week hi/lo chart.
Example of companies "in the news" market data as pulled out and displayed in a sidebar module.
Commodities and Consumer Rates charts
Mutual funds performance visualization
Bank Rates visualization, as adapted for the web from the Biz Day print designs.