Neelesh
Sonawane

07949 034 391

web
+ Finspreads. Website for derivative trading service provider

Site architecture and web design

Finspreads is a leading online financial spread betting firm, that pioneered fully interactive online spread betting. They cater for the beginner to intermediary trader & provide training & extensive support for those taking their first steps in spread betting.

As the lead designer on Finspread's trading application it was a natual choice for me to lead the design of their site which required re-organisation and restructuring.

The solution I designed came about from data garnered from heatmaps and 'corridor usability' testing of the existing site homepage, which indicated that most users would be either a new trader, an experienced trader looking to trade using Finspreads or an existing client.

These three user paths were defined as being the most important and the site structure followed with strong clear direction and calls to action from the homepage.

Visually the site takes it's cues from the Finspreads logo & the trading platform, which, allowed to breath in a spacious layout, presents a serious, professional yet approachable image for the company.

finspreads home page

Finspreads homepage

content page

Finspreads content page

+ Finspreads. UI for online derivative trading platform

UI design

The Finspreads platform previously java based was being overhauled and re-written from the ground up in Flash. This allowed Finspreads to redesign the look, feel and experience of using their platform.

I was brough in through a recommendation to redesign the platform UI to provide a clear, logical and simple interface that enhanced the user experience.

This was acheived by studying and gaining a thorough understanding of the spread betting processes to inform my wireframe designs. With this level of understanding and employing pattern design techniques, I was able to create a clear hierarchy and a familiar interface for a fairly complex process.

The platform also needed to be recognisably a Finspreads product both visually and in ease of use - the Finspreads brand attracts novice traders new to the game so had to be approachable without alientating more experienced traders. One stage of usability feedback with a focus group at the prototyping stage further informed the design.

As the platform was delivered in Flash and needed to be a whitelabel product to facilitate revenue sharing deals with 3rd parties, the developers required that my deliverables were skinable or could shapes drawn and coloured by xml instruction. This greatly increased my knowledge of designing within a Flash and xml driven environment.

Additionally to the initial Finspreads layout, I also designed several skins and layouts for a variety of whitelabels including a second interface employed for trading currency pairs on the forex markets.

The live platform

finspreads platform

Detail of platform showing instruments selection menu & trading grids

platform closeup

White label platform for Finspreads client

green cfds

High-end 'Black label' platform for advance traders

black finspreads

high-end platform close-up showing the trading grids

black finspreads closeup

The platform configured for currency pair trading through IFX Markets, Finspreads parent company

ifx finspreads


+ Interactive Investor. Funds & ISAs pages

Web design

As part of my time at Interactive Investor, working as the senoir designer together with the Web Producer I designed, conducted user testing to refine the ISA and Fund Centre sections of the Interactive Investor site to increase the users exposure to suitable products.

Extensive user testing was conducted employing the usability facilities and usability specialisation of Web Credible. We conducted a raft of tests including AB testing on various user paths, user observation to garner reactions and establish how easy to use the layouts where, in order to determine the most sucessful designs. Two rounds of testing and refining helped us produce a very satisfying experience for the users which increased the takeup of the products being offered.

The illustrative techniques I employed set a president in the clarity of visual metaphor and conveyance ofcomplex financial instruments using everyday items as a means to describe them. This called for a reexamination and redesign of the existing icon range for the sites other financial products.

ISA homepage

iii isa homepage

Funds homepage

iii funds home page

Fund filter guides users to find suitable funds for their investment vehicle

iii funds filter

+ Planet Science. Science education site

Web Design

Planet Science is a high profle science education site, funded by NESTA, aimed at inspiring people about science related activities.

I design and implement new content and various sections of the site and it's offshoot Planet SciCast - dubbed the YouTube of science - a site dedicated to videos of science demonstrations and experiments.

Notable sections I work on are the weekly newsletters, monthly quizzes, the text only site and a revisit of the site navigation as well as everyday management of the site.

Initialy the site was planned to be in operation for only a year, 7 years ago! As a consequence it is a static site layed out using tables delivered in frames. I am currently managing the project to redevelop the site to bring it's delivery technology up to date and transfer the content to standards compliant CSS based layout ready to be ported to a CMS.

Planet Science monthly quiz

February lurve quiz

Getoutside feature section

Getoutside section screengrab

Sciteach section homepage

Sciteach section screengrab

+ Planet Science. Teen science newsletter

Email design, build and deployment

PS News, Randomised and Hay-wire are weekly and bi-weekly newsletters for teachers, science educators, students and parents, funded by NESTA.

They have a total readership of 18 thousand subscribers with a click through rate of active readers at 20%.

I have designed the templates to work with all email clients to ensure the quality of the newsletters is consistent. This has helped in gaining new readers and encouraging existing ones to be more active in their readership: forwarding the newsletter to colleages and friends, and clicking through to articles.

The newsletters are delivered using an online email marketing system with full tracking and reporting facilities from which I analyse and generate readership reports for the project manager.

Randomised newsletter: logo and contents

Planet Science Randomised issue 6 top

Randomised newsletter

Planet Science Randomised issue 6 top

print
+ Planet SciCast. Producers Pack: handbook, poster, leaflet & custom enclosure

Print and custom enclosure design

Planet SciCast is an initiative of NESTA to promote science education by calling on people to film science demonstrations and experiments to submit to the site - it's been dubbed the YouTube of science.

Through my work at Planet Science I was asked to design a mail out pack to guide participants and suggest means, methods and ideas for films they could produce during the summer holidays to submit to the site.

The pack included a 44 page handbook, A1 poster, 4 page careers leaflet, postcards and other collateral which was all assembled in a reusable custom enclosure: the participants could refold the enclosure to send back the film be it a tape, dvd or cd. This was for environmental concerns as it negated the need for a return envelope. Additionally the off-cut paper stock from the enclosure was used for the postcards ensuring there was minimal waste. All material was printed on sourced recycled stock.

The handbook theme I created emphasises the participant by creating blank figures taking part in filming or science activities outdoors whilst surrounded by microphone trees, dvd clouds and tripod pylons.

I designed the enclosure, handbook, poster, careers leaflet and postcards and managed the print, turning the job around in just 3 weeks from receiving the copy text.

Enclosure as delivered and refolded to send back DVD

SciCast handbook cover

Handbook cover

SciCast handbook cover

Handbook opening spread

isa basics spread

Handbook contents spread

handbook contents spread

Handbook appendix

handbook appendix spread

+ Interactive Investor. Product brochures

Redesign of financial product brochures

Interactive Investor has a range of product brochures and new client brochures that I redesigned whilst contracting there.

I formulated a clear and crisp grid layout to bring in as much white space as possible to be punctuated with colourful illustrations and clear screengrabs. Graphical details emphasising online content, telephone helplines and ther points of contact together with the consistent layouts across the range of brochures, helped the reader feel familiar and comfortable, putting the focus squarely on the content whilst also reinforcing the ii brand of being a source for providing the hard facts to make the right financial decisions.

CFD trading cover

cfd trading brochure

ISA brochure spread

isa basics spread

Trading brochure 'guide to starting spread'

trading brochure spread

Trading brochure 'guide to starting spread'

trading brochure spread

+ Company Watch. Finance reports and user guide

PDF guide and reports template design

Company Watch specialises in producing and marketing a powerful and flexible analytical tool for measuring the corporate financial health of corporations worldwide, using a unique proprietary methodology.

Through a recommendation they hired me to create new templates for their reports and guides which they publish on behalf of their clients. The reports allow an indepth analysis of a company that can be read at a glance. This called for the designs of the template to be very clear and extremely readable.

3 Step Guide Route Map

3 step guide

3 Step Guide glossary

SciCast handbook cover

Example front page of a company report

company report front page

+ Dance Program. 4 page program

Brochure design

An Arangethram is the first solo show a classical Indian dancer in Bharathanatyam performs. After learning Bharatanatyam under the guidance of a guru for at least 8-10 years, this is the occasion for the proud guru to present their deciple to the public.

Having designed a few pieces for Mavin Khoo Dance, a classical Indian dance group, I was called back to design a series of Arangethram performance programs.

The performance is very much about the dancer being able to express their emotions and their interpretations of set dance pieces. As such the design I produced showcases the dancer connecting them with their audience.

Front and back, flat size A4 folded once lengthway

Vanathi Bosch Dance program

brand identity
+ Pentangle Dental. High end cosmetic orthodotic surgery

Brand identity for a high end cosmetic orthodontist surgery

Pentangle Dental was in the process of being set up by 2 successful orthodontists as 'the boutique hotel' or the BMW of cosmetic and aesthetic dental surgery.

They approached me on recommendation of a previous client in the sector for an identity that reflected the quality of the treatment and high end custom they were seeking. This too was reflected in the design of the surgery designed by an award winning architectal practice, Richard Mitzman Architects.

The identity I devised communicates the practice's high end nature and it's simplicity implies modern and technologically advanced without alienating old potential clients or appearing too sterile.

The clients recieved the identity very well and feel it exemplifies their practices values

Pentangle corporate identity

Pentangle compliment slip

Pentangle Dental surgery porch

Pentangle Dental surgery porch

Pentangle Dental leaflet

Pentangle Dental leaflet

+ Kypera. Accountancy software firm rebrand

Rebrand of a corporate identity

Kypera creates and supports complete modular financial and accouting software. They approached me to redesign their corporate identity and supporting materials.

The new logo gives a dynamic, fresh and modern look to the company supported by the subgraphic.

Kypera corporate identity

kypera compliment slip

Kypera exhibition stand panel

kypera compliment slip

cv

A talented and motivated designer with excellent communication skills, strong conceptual and lateral thought, attention to detail and business focus.

Skills

10 years experience in design for print, screen, user-centred design, identity design, with project and team management experience.

Excellent working knowledge of HTML, CSS, Adobe CS3 (Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat), OmniGraffle, MS Office (Word, Excel and Powerpoint), and GoLive. Good working knowledge of Javascript and Actionscript. Experience working with iMovie, Quicktime, Audacity and Premier.

Experience

Web Designer, Nesta.

April 2005 - to date. www.planet-science.com

Team designer and technical lead for high profile site dedicated to inspire science education. Contracted for 2 days a week to:

  • Manage design and technical aspects of the site
  • Generate creative content from provided editorial and revamp existing content
  • Employ AB and user testing methods to help determine the most successful designs
  • Participate in concept development for new content and marketing ideas
  • Produce weekly and bi-weekly email newsletters in collaboration with the site editor
  • Through redesign and reformatting of the newsletter templates, I increased newsletter reader- ship and click through rates
  • Currently the site is being updated and I am managing the transition of removing the frames and converting pages to CSS layout, and eventually migrate the site to a CMS

Freelance Designer & Producer

October 2003 - to date.

As a freelance designer I manage the visual communications needs for small to medium-sized businesses, working on branding identity projects for start-ups to existing identities and visual collateral for established organisations, from concept to production.

As a contractor I work onsite closely with a team producing prototypes of online applications and user processes, calling on UCD skills to ensure the interface and experience increase efficiency, user satisfaction, adoption and loyalty.

Client: Interactive Investor. Consumer financial website. www.iii.co.uk
Project: Re-designed and developed key sections within the Interactive Investor site as the senior designer:

  • Employed pattern design methods for site architecture and wireframe pages to ensure, usabil- ity and business aims were consistent across the site
  • Assisted the project manager in extensive usability research, card sorting exercises, AB testing by constructing user paths, alternate designs and developing test scenarios
  • Developed a cohesive, strong and recognisable iconography for site sections that helped users understand complex financial methods visually
  • Managed a junior designer’s briefings, creative output and fostered their creative direction
  • Revamped the brochure design to create a clearer, more cohesive and readable layout
  • Redesigned the weekly newsletter in response to marketing requirements of an easier to assemble template that could hold a better mix of content, also ensured newsletter code was robust and capable of being viewed in all email clients

IFX Markets. Online spread betting provider. www.finspreads.co.uk
Designed and developed the GUI for Finspread's online spread betting application which required an acute understanding of the business processes involved in order to ensure the platform is clear and user-friendly considering the complexity of the transactions and data. The platform was white labelled requiring variations both in appearance and in process.

Designed the finspreads.co.uk site. Due to the competitive nature of the industry the site had to be clear as to who it was targeting and draw users in according to what they expected to see. Hence the strength of the design is in it’s simplicity to clearly address and direct the user down a path with clear calls to action.

Moneywise Magazine. Consumer financial magazine. Concept design and artwork for direct marketing campaigns.
Site architecture and wireframing concept design for a revamped Moneywise.co.uk site to introduce social networking features and UGC areas within the site and pages.

Company Watch. Financial health monitoring company.
Brochure and financial report template design and artwork.

Kypera. Financial software development company. www.kypera.com
Brand identity re-development, corporate collateral, stationary, and website design. Created a crucial marketing element: a diagram which illustrated in a simple way the modular nature of the companies advanced accounting, CRM and data- base applications.

Richard Mitzman Architects. www.richardmitzman.com
Site design and production for an RIBA award winning international architects practice.

Portland Design. Environment and graphic design agency. www.portland-design.co.uk
Redesign and build of company website.

OilSpace. Oil industry software monitoring company.
Brochure and exhibition material design.

Pentangle Dental. Luxury orthodontic surgery. www.pentangledental.co.uk
Brand identity development and implementation across stationary, signage and website.

Maple House Orthodontics. Orthodontic surgery www.maplehouse.co.uk
Brand identity development and implementation across stationary, signage and website.

Mavin Khoo Dance. Internationally renowned ballet and classical Indian dance company.
Designed the companies’ tour "image" for use as flyers, posters and magazine adverts.
Designed invite and programme for solo performances.

Middle to Senior Designer

Thompsons Systems Ltd. March 2001 - October 2003.

  • Lead role for print & web design projects with client facing project management exposure.
  • Tight integration with a development team.
  • Managed a team of 3 on design & production projects.
  • Developed & fostered a variety of SME brand identities for offline & online use.

New Media Graphics & Brand Manager

OK! Online, Northern & Shell. October 2000 - February 2001.

  • Managed a team of 4 ensuring brand graphic rulings & standards of quality were met.
  • Sourced & participated in the contracting of freelance designers.
  • Re-structure & re-design for both ongoing & future revisions of the site.

Graphic Designer & IT Manager

MTA Design Ltd. November 1998 – October 2000.

  • Concept development & artwork on large brand & company collateral briefs.
  • Developed brand guidelines & visual identity manuals for large international brands.
  • Highly skilled & detailed artworker.
  • Developed the MTA Design website & all digital presentation materials.
  • As ICT Manager I oversaw & managed all of MTA Design's ICT needs.

Education

BA. hons in Design Studies. Goldsmiths College, University of London. From '93. to '98.
Foundation Course. Amersham & Wycombe College (VI College). From '92. to '93.
4 A Levels. Elm Park College (VI College). From '89. to.'92.
10 GCSEs. Aldenham School (Boarding School). From '86. to '89.

References

References can be supplied on request. Endorsements can be viewed on my linkedin profile www.linkedin.com/in/neelesh