The stock market in the last few weeks has been volatile to say the least. The week prior to writing this review saw 200 to 800 point swings in a matter of twenty-four hours. StockTouch is a stock market monitoring tool that is incredibly visual in nature so this temperamental behavior has created some interesting and quickly changing visuals.
StockTouch gives you a visual representation of individual stocks and the market divided in sectors and also as a whole. It makes stock and market research quite entertaining, but is it actually useful?
Design & Interface
The stock market and the research involved in working with the stock market can be a bit of a bore, for most of us it quickly becomes awkward and difficult. StockTouch, by taking a more visual and interactive approach, has created a truly stunning application.
The visual representation of the stock market is like no other that I have seen. It is almost shocking at first glance. StockTouch uses what I would refer to as “organized tiling” to give you a view of what is happening in the market.
The main screen is essentially full of small tiles of various shades of green or red. A bright green is one side of the scale representing a positive shift in a stock while a bright red would represent, as you would expect, a decline in the stock. In between those extremes you’ll see different shades representing various positive and negative levels, with a shade of black used to show that a stock has remained at its current position.
It’s a very quick way to get an overview of what is happening on the stock market. Some other features of StockTouch help this further by allowing you to filter your view. The tiles are broken up into industry sectors. You’ll see dividing lines on the full screen view and you’re also able to zoom in on individual sectors by tapping or pinch-zooming.
Once you are viewing a sector you’ll be able to zoom all the way down to the individual stock level. Here you’ll see a graph of the stock’s performance for the time frame you have set, along with links to pertinent news items.
Tapping on those news links will open Safari and take you to the article.
There are also some other controls that are always available from a narrow control bar on the right-hand side of the screen. We’ll talk more about that functionality shortly.
Overall, the design is extremely intuitive and quite fun to use. Like I mentioned, it is a very different way to explore the stock market than I have ever used before and I found the whole experience quite refreshing.
Now we come to the real question: is this actually a useful stock market analysis tool? I’ll preface this by saying that while I do dabble a bit in the stock market, most of my investments are in the mutual fund arena. I am by no means a hardcore stock market player, but I pay more attention and do more analysis than your typical 401K investor.
I find quite a bit of use from StockTouch in a few different aspects thanks to how the application function and also how it is organized. The first is the view of the overall market. While StockTouch won’t show you every single stock traded, you’ll see the 900 biggest players divided into nine industry sectors. The main screen of the application will give you a zoomed out view of all nine sectors. The name of the sector along with the percentage gain or loss for the time period you’ve selected (more on this in a bit) combined with the varying colors described above gives you a very quick picture of the market. You could for example see that the Technology sector struggled the last week, while the Utilities sector performed fairly well.
As I mentioned in the previous section it is possible to quickly adjust the timeframe that is being analyzed by StockTouch. There is a slider on the control bar that is always showing on the right side of the display that allows you to change the view to look at the day, week, last month, last three months, last six months, last year or the last five years.
This is a super useful tool as a lot of different things can come from viewing a sector or a stock by a day or week versus the last year. Each timeframe tells a little different story. This slider is available as you zoom down on all levels all the way down to an individual stock view.
Make sure you utilize the refresh button on the very bottom of the control bar. StockTouch does not update in real-time and does take a little intervention from you to pull the most current info.
As I’ve mentioned previously the interface works by zooming in and out. You can drill all the way down to an individual stock view. Zooming can be done by simply tapping on what you want to zoom in on or actually pinching in and out to zoom. The zooming animations are quick and super-smooth.
Once you’ve zoomed your way all the way down to an individual stock view you’ll see all the information about the stock along with a graph of its activity. The graphed increment shown will depend on what time frame you currently have selected. The background color will also change accordingly as well. You really do get the feeling that you have just zoomed in on one of the individual tiles you see from the full sectors view.
On the bottom of this page you’ll see the company bio along with links to recent articles pertaining to the company. Tapping on an article link will open up Safari. This isn’t exactly ideal as it does force you to flip back and forth between StockTouch and Safari, but there aren’t a ton of great options to pull this off. While a little cumbersome, it works just fine.
The control bar along the right had side of the display holds all of the different toggles and functionality that we can adjust while using the application. I’ve discussed several functions already, but there are a few more worth mentioning. There is a search function that works as you’d expect. Again, you won’t find all stocks here, only the 900 biggest players. You’ll also see a toggle to switch back and forth between showing price or volume. There is also an option to sort each sector in alphabetical order, linear order by market cap, or spiral by market cap.
I’m someone who does do some stock trading on my own. I’m by no means a day trader constantly watching the market, I’m more of a long-term investor who enjoys doing a little research and is hoping to find the next Apple.
For me, StockTouch is very useful and a lot of fun to use. There are other tools to do more hardcore research and analysis if needed, but I’ve found StockTouch to be a helpful tool in that initial searching step along with just doing some light research and analysis. I use it more often than I do my actual online trading platform.
At a cost of $4.99 it may make some of you stop to think before trying it out. Thankfully the developers have done some videos to show you exactly what it does, and that combined with this review should provide you with enough information. I’m confident that if you’re interested in the stock market at all you will find this application useful, or at the very least entertaining.