Marketwatch: A little too real-time? Jason 19 Dec 2005

34 comments Latest by GS

Marketwatch, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Do you really need to embed stock quotes in your articles that update in real-time every three seconds? Real-time when I opened the article is nice, but having the prices flash and change every few seconds is pretty distracting when the changes are displayed in paragraph form like this:

A little sidebar or embedded floating box would be cleaner and easier to scan too.

34 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Dan Boland 19 Dec 05

I was expecting it to be worse than it was. Seems kind of obsessive, but I didn’t mind it.

Brett Rogers 19 Dec 05

Wow! Talk about overkill. I have to agree, that was extremely distracting.

Don Wilson 19 Dec 05

That was one of the coolest things I’ve seen.

Josh Santangelo 19 Dec 05

Particularly unnecessary since rolling over the ticker symbols displays the information on-demand.

Jim Jeffers 19 Dec 05

That’s ridiculous. In one sense it’s pretty cool but in another sense it’s somewhat pointless and is definitely distracting. Maybe having it silently update every 5 minutes or so would be a nice touch. That way if you walked away from the computer but left the page open you could see up to date stock info when you came back. Honestly it’s more of a gimmick than a highly useful feature.

Frank Wiles 19 Dec 05

Very annoying as it is currently, but I think with some tweaks it wouldn’t be bad. Right now it’s like watching a TV stock crawl overtop of the article you’re trying to read. Ugh.

Tomas Jogin 19 Dec 05

I guess they want to really show their visitors that they’re totally updated, man, but you’re right that it makes it a lot less readable. If they wanted to show off their updatedness they could just put referenced quotes in a list in the sidebar without losing legibility.

Vinu 19 Dec 05

Thats NOISE vs SINGALs :-)

the flickrs remind me of the physics experiment in my highschool and college! a very apt post.

But guess, for the people who go there i.e market watchers => it may be the NOISE that is the SIGNAL!

Alex King 19 Dec 05

I personally think the best thing would be if the information was AJAXed live from the server and displayed as a tooltip style box. That solves the refreshing problem. You could even use a plain tooltip updated every ten minutes, using JS to update the title attribute.

John Kopanas 19 Dec 05

Wow… looks like flashing lights on a Christmas tree!

sb 19 Dec 05

it feeds my needs. must have data. now. and now. and… now.

i admit that a sidebar would be more elegant, but this is a “high-tech” high tech article, after all.

i don’t know much about marketwatch’s target audience, maybe they enjoy that sort of thing. i know a bunch of non-tech people, your general doctor/golfer/accountant types, who would think that’s pretty neat. they’d probably forward a link to me from their AOL account because they thought it was so neat, in fact.

Tory 19 Dec 05

I think it’s kind of neat, but a little sidebar would be much better.

Joe Auricchio 19 Dec 05

Aren’t those quotes delayed something like 15 minutes anyway? Oh, joy, now I’ll never be more than 15:03 behind the market! This is a classic case of too much precision and not enough accuracy.

It’s also a classic case of doing something because it looks fancy, not because it’s useful. Some lower-level web programmer put this in there because he knew how, and his superior didn’t have the judgment to make him take it right back out again. (I say this as a lower-level web programmer who has made exactly that error in the past)

DaleV 19 Dec 05

Mark 19 Dec 05

Perhaps it just comes off annoying in this particular article because there are so many companies being mentioned in one paragraph.

If it were one company only being discussed, would it still come off as a negative gimmick?

Amine 19 Dec 05

I really don’t get the point of that… Really distracting..

eh 19 Dec 05

i was bothered more by all the god damn ad banners, including the stupid animated flash one. i’ve also come to like abstract URLs a lot.

Jeff L 19 Dec 05

Can’t say I noticed anything - maybe they stop updating after 5 pm.

Mark 19 Dec 05

Jeff L -

The market closes at 5, that’s why you didn’t see anything.

SU 19 Dec 05

Aren�t those quotes delayed something like 15 minutes anyway? Oh, joy, now I�ll never be more than 15:03 behind the market! This is a classic case of too much precision and not enough accuracy.

Unfortunately, actual “real-time” quotes don’t come free from the exchanges… Hence the 15-20 minute delay. They’re displaying delayed quotes in a very “real time” manner… A bit deceptive, but since you’re not executing a trade from this page, probably not a huge issue.

Alan 19 Dec 05

I thought the popup graphs etc were pretty cool. What happens when you view the page while the NASDAQ is closed ? A.

pwb 19 Dec 05

Auto-updating the stock quotes inline every 3 seconds is kind of silly beyond the wow factor which lasts all of 5 seconds.

That they are delayed (are they?) makes it even more ridiculous.

jordan 19 Dec 05

I find it suspicious that Jason posted this, and the price chart in the sidebar has `J A S O N’ for the months. It must be a conspiracy!

cmt 19 Dec 05


Travis Reeder 20 Dec 05

I dig it!

aw 20 Dec 05

Anyone have any idea *how* they do this? Clearly its AJAX, but what makes it stream? Or is it polled browser side *ouch*.

engelgrafik 20 Dec 05

Nah, I think it’s a great idea. You have to think about the target market. They’re used to this stuff.

Whenever fellow IAs, Usability people and web designers tell me something is too hard to read, I remember what Rudy Vanderlans (Emigre magazine) used to say about legibility. It all begins with what people are used to.

I’m reminded of this every time I look at all the Blackletter, Kurrent and Suetterlin script that Germans read for 500 years. ;)

FourSky 20 Dec 05

I think it’s a fine idea, I don’t see anyone else doing it so well. Try hovering over the stock symbol, it displays a chart… very nice.

If you don’t like, you CAN disable it- just click “Disable MW live quotes”.

andy 20 Dec 05

It was probably the bright idea from someone in marketing…

Jamie Thingelstad 20 Dec 05

Actually, it was the genius idea of our technology team, not marketing. The capability that Live Quotes provides is extremely powerful, however, I do see how you could argue the user interface in the story pages. Check out the use on the My Portfolio page or other data centric pages for a less controversial way of using it.

And having the data realtime would be nice, but currently the stock exchanges make that very challenging.

Justin Reese 20 Dec 05

I simply don’t understand why someone reading an article would need “live” inline stock quotes. I would assume that any serious market watcher or daytrader would have plenty of other monitoring programs active at the same time, which would probably give him a far better indication of what’s going on. Granted, the article could act as a secondary notification for something going haywire, but it’s highly unlikely that it would ever prove useful in practice. Especially since the trustworthiness of “my $1000 stock-watching software” versus “this tricksy inline quote on this article” is probably a bit slanted towards the former. I just can’t see how this proves more than gimmicky in practical application.

Sebhelyesfarku 21 Dec 05

It’s cool, stop whining.

GS 29 Sep 06

Does anyone know how to achieve the way Marketwatch does. I am looking to update numbers in my report using AJAX to be near real time and bumped into Market watch which does similar stuff (updating stock quotes on fly with changing colors), I could get help of some online examples which pops up a tooltip when I mouse over. But I dont want user event-driven updates, I want live udpates just like in market watch. Any ideas on how to do this? Thank you