Brokerage Mobile Site

An accessible mobile brokerage site intended to serve as the foundation for a new, more customer-centric primary trading platform


A brokerage firm approached Pivotal Labs looking both to change the way it built software and create an excellent product in their mobile web space. Rarely updated and lightly used, they identified this corner of their crowded digital ecosystem as an opportunity given that (a) the existing experience was dated and difficult to use, (b) most supporting APIs already existed, and (c) improving it could help them sunset their native tablet app. Notably, the mobile web site was the most ADA compliant and needed to remain that way.

Two people stand at a whiteboard to draw a stakeholder map while several other watch

With our stakeholders, we decided to focus on the following goals:

Business Goals

A foundational platform that will evolve to simplify the prospect and client experiences behind a single, unified browser platform

Adopt agile methodologies to deploy fast, subtle, and iterative enhancements instead of big bang changes

Extend our digital reach by enhancing the mobile web experience

Product Goals

Enhance portfolio & market monitoring

Offer basic research and trade validation

Support transactions (e.g. trades)

Remove barriers to engagement (incl. accessibility)

The team consisted of 2 Product Managers (client & Pivotal); 2 Product Designers (client & me); and 4 Developers (2 client & 2 Pivotal). My role ranged from research and UX to visual design and design system refinement.

Problem Space

We conducted interviews with eight mobile users over the course of two days to discover insights and problems associated with their investment and mobile habits, prioritizing the following few:

Close up image of a whiteboard with grouped research findings on sticky notes


Converting the findings above into "How might we...?" statements allowed us to identify as many solution ideas as we thought possible. Helpfully, we settled on a single key scenario to encompass what a seamless experience would feel like to our user; this helped limit the scope our ideas.

Screenshot of the idealized scenario used to set context for the design studio
Image of a "how might we?" statement with several brainstormed ideas on sticky notes attached to it

We synthesized our design studio outputs on the whiteboard to align on a design approach and focus on the user flow and its key features.

Close up image of several solution sketches that came out of the design studio

The best way to understand whether a design is working is to put it in front of people and have them try to use it—even if it's just a simple, click-through prototype. We put our designs in front of five customers to determine what was working and what was amiss with our consolidated solution. This feedback helped us improve our initial thinking and de-risk our eventual development.

All told, on this project, we conducted 5-7 rounds of testing to cover such feature sets as viewing positions, searching for companies, accessing news about a company, creating & managing watch lists, and buying/selling equities. Screenshots of our beta site are below.

A collage of ten of the main pages of the mobile site, including positions, equity profile page, news, trade placement, and order status pages


This project ran for approximately 5-6 months. At the end of the project, the Pivotal team went back to the client's headquarters for 2 weeks to help get them set-up and learn how to amend the process to best fit their home context.

The MVP Beta site launched to the public several months after we completed the engagement, and went live in February 2018. In the first year of operation, it earned over $10M in trading revenue. It's been deemed a great success, and in the intervening years has become the base of its next generation web experience intended to sunset its main web application. As of this writing it is still under active development.