The Importance of UCD Simplicity


Making A Shift: In this day and age, students are blessed with an infinite amount of information at their fingertips; the Internet, with its multiplicity, is able to connect us instantly to anything from entertainment to academia.   With so much content, it is easy to allow oneself to get sucked into a few regular selections. The deeper I have gotten into college and the busier I become, I find myself wandering to sites like Netflix, Hulu, or Youtube less and spending more time on sites that will answer my academic questions. Having just had a finance exam this week, I spent much of my time prior to taking it on Investopedia.

Investopedia is one of the world’s leading sources of financial content on the web. Most of the content published on the site is focused on investing education and financial news. Since its start in 1999, it has been bought, owned, and sold by companies like Goldman Sachs and Forbes.

Today, more and more people are taking their learning into their own hands, using the internet to acquire and enrich their lives with new knowledge. Now, more than ever, the importance for sites to look professional, sound professional, and provide wanted information as concisely as possible is stressed by the needs of the fast paced individual.

Simplicity with Purpose: In a quickening world where no one has the time for a lengthy textbook or longwinded publication, it is information supplied with the most simplicity and reliability that people are drawn to. It is why short cartoons and memes have become ever so popular; people desire a quick, simple blurb of entertainment to feel momentarily satisfied before moving on to something else.

Similarly, the fast paced, academically oriented individual is what sites like Investopedia capitalize on. Whenever one of my peers or I have a finance related query, one of the first sites that Google lists is Investopedia with a link to a page related to the desired information. Depending on the depth of the question, the content is either a brief definition or an extensive analysis of complex subject matter. Regardless of the length, it is always presented well organized, frequently with examples, and in terms that can be understood by most people, whether they have a financial background or not.

Navigability: However, an ever growing number of the general population is becoming increasingly dissatisfied with having to extend even the slightest bit more effort than they believe necessary in order to find what they want online. (Simply ask yourself when the last time you went past the first page of Google search results; many people won’t even look past the first four or five links.) It is this very need to be able to quickly locate desired information that many sites, including Investopedia, have added extra features to their sites like search bars and online databases for the convenience of their users.

Additionally there is an ever increasing trend of sites having a very “busy” home page, often with live and recent information, catering to people’s need for easy connection to the most relevant data and articles possible.   In this way, Investopedia has joined many of its peers in the financial world by putting live images of common stock exchange data and its most recently published news articles, which follow the trends and interests of its most commonly served and enthusiastic users. There is a certain duality and contradiction of desiring simplicity while also seeking an extensive source of multiplicity.

The world is as ever changing as our preferences; as our preferences for seeking out information change, so too do the methods for providing it.

13 thoughts on “The Importance of UCD Simplicity

  1. Hi Matt,
    I myself just came out of a corporate finance exam less than an hour ago so this blog post could not be more relevant to me at this time. I constantly find myself wondering back to this website whenever I type a question into Google concerning any aspect of finance. It is usually the first or second link that pops up and almost always give me a better understanding of the particular question that I asked!

  2. Matt,

    As a fellow finance student, the number of times I have looked up a definition or concept on Investopedia is rather high. The design of the search features are definitely a key to the usability of the site. The quality broken-down explanations that Investopedia provides show a clear user-centered design, as the audience they are catering to is looking for concise and quick information. Having a solid place to gain valuable knowledge on financial concepts is something that will help outside of school as well. Seems Investopedia has cracked that.

  3. Matt,

    I too fully agree with you on how lucky students are to be able to have a website like investopedia. Ever since freshman year I have always been going back to this site to memorize terms for various business classes. What I love about investopedia is that it has by far the most accurate definitions of business terms, which are sometimes hard to find consistency with. You did a great job of talking about its biggest benefits, thanks for sharing.

    – Andrew Doan

  4. Matt,

    I’m also a finance student and can definitely say that Investopedia has been a major resource and help to me while doing homework or studying for exams. My favorite aspect of the site is how easy it is to search terms and concepts. It’s also always one of the first sites to pop up on any Google Search regarding finance or accounting, which is how I was first introduced to the site. Overall, I’m glad I found Investopedia and plan to keep using it as a resource.

  5. Matt,

    Recently I have discovered investopedia because of my finance classes. Whenever I have a question about finance, that is the first place I will look. I’ve found that it is extremely easy to use and I can understand their language. I think investopedia has gotten pretty popular, especially in the finance world for college students. I like how they show you videos and have different calculators. I will definitely keep using this site!

  6. “people desire a quick, simple blurb of entertainment to feel momentarily satisfied before moving on to something else”.. this is so true. Wow. I never even thought about how much I even enjoy these short clips more than the lengthy pages and pages of facts and no intertwinement… it is really sad. I took a finance class last semester and this website was so easy to navigate. I was knew to finance and business and it was very easy to read, short and to the point and not too long. Do you like the short videos or photos with an explanation of things or would you rather read and search harder for the longer written up version of them?

  7. Hey Matt,

    I was really happy when I saw that you had posted about Investopedia. I am giving you a virtual high-five for posting what you did. For YEARS, I have used Investopedia as my “go to” source for learning important financial concepts relevant to my finance classes and beyond. If it involves finance, the markets, economics, or any other business related concept, it can always be found on Investopedia. Perhaps my favorite part about the website is the wacky background music they have in every one of their informative videos. Makes me laugh every time. Thanks for sharing this with our class!

    – Curran

  8. Hi Matt,

    I am glad you posted about Investopedia. It is a wonderful website which helps us all learn about financial concepts. I may not be in any classes, but it is very nice to learn about the concepts. It is nice to read on behalf of marketing, financing, and many different business concepts. It is nice that you laid out everything the website has as well. You were spot on when talking about the website, and I am not even in any business classes.


  9. Hey Matt,

    Finance being one of my majors I know all about investopedia. I never visit the actual website but as you said whenever I have a question pertaining to finance I search it on google and investopedia is always the first site that appears. It does a great job of presenting the information and backing it up with numerous examples, which makes the information easy to grasp and in a quick manner in contrast with having to go to your textbook, which sometimes its just a hassle and time consuming to find a single bit of information!

  10. Hey Matt,
    First of all, great title for this blog post. I couldn’t agree more that Investopedia is a perfect example of a site that needs to stay simplistic with its UCD elements. It’s a great website to grab information quickly, and efficiently. I think most business students can relate to how often we use this site. I also really like how the user doesn’t get bogged down with useless information while navigating the site. I can only hope that Investopedia’s website designers stick to this template as their website keeps growing in popularity.


  11. Matt,
    I find it funny that you brought up a finance class when talking about Investopedia. I am currently taking a couple finance classes, and if it were not for this site, it would take me so much longer to do homework and study for exams. They do a great job in answering basic questions, but then also have a collection of great authors who post relevant articles with a very wide array of topics.

  12. Hi Matt,
    I will be beginning the finance portion of my accounting and finance class in the next couple of weeks, so hearing about how much of an aid it has been to you during your finance course is great to hear. It sounds like a great resource and I appreciate that the length of the articles are dependent on the amount of information needed for each topic rather than trying to keep them all a similar length. The simplicity that you mentioned is also a great aspect considering how our generation is looking for the most instant result it can find.

  13. Hi Matt,
    I really enjoyed your article. I think Investopedia is a great site for many different reasons. I am currently a finance major and this site helps me learn tons of different information on different topics. It provides well-written explanations of topics that help students learns all around the world.

    Cole Buller

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