In the back of my mind for some time has been this article about Spatial Software and it got me thinking about some use cases. Most instances of spatial software seem to be communication or visual design related but after doing some data visualisation work I thought wouldn’t it be useful if trading/personal finance applications had an infinite canvas as well? This may be wrong but I started drawing up some mockups of what an application could look like.
Windows can be dragged around, resized and possibly even connected to one another through drag and drop functionality. E.g. I have a window of latest statistics in the form of a table - I then drag a line into the bar chart window and it updates.
Initially this could open up the pandoras box of trading/finance software into a more experimental-interactive mode. Could even be collaborative?
I took elements from Figma but was also inspired by Berkely Graphics ethos of information density. I wanted this to be a portal for high level information transfer not a simple dashboard and white space. The user has control of his/her terminal - multiple windows can be stacked, dragged side by side and connected. Windows open up new windows depicting different levels of detail. There could be plugins similar to Figma which I indicated simply here with a clock and post-it note but it could be much more complex.
Windows could be saved as templates and opened up again in one click.
I think the main thing that’s inspiring this project is a number of different ideas coming together. One, I wanted to practice forms of data visualisation and how they might connect. Two, I’m interested in spatial software and how it can open up new forms of engaging with software that’s playful and more free for exploration and joining of different parts. Three, this is software that I would actually want for myself.
In terms of UI I took some ideas from Figma of course but also games like Eve Online or Crusader Kings which have a number of windows which open up further windows incresingly grandular data and can be dragged around the screen.
What’s key here is the high information density available to our eyes. With modern design trends dashboards are too simple, limited and I believe not what users want or is in their best interest. Think of the Bloomberg Terminal, why is that level of info density available to the financial brokers (or eve online players) but not to every day users? Are their finances more important than ours? Are we forever confined to Excel or patronisingly simple dashboards?
I want more software to be like a desk, or a house - you move things around, grab what you need and put it back later. Make it yours.