This website is an extremely popular and well organized site which has plenty to recommend it. It has been in existence for well over a decade and has evolved remarkably well during that time, changing from a fledgling currency site into the efficient looking and pro-active website that it is today.
Whatever your purpose for visiting this type of website is, you are sure to be impressed by the wide range of features on www.oanda.com, especially where the currency converter is concerned.
The mark of any good website is how many useful features it packs into its arsenal, and Oanda certainly doesn’t shirk away from this requirement. As soon as you see the home page you know there is plenty here that will be of use. It’s not daunting to look at either, which is definitely another plus point in its favor.
Starting with the home page
All the websites which feature currency converters tend to fall into one of two categories. The first type usually has the converter on the home page itself, and is very simplistic in its appearance. That’s not to say it doesn’t have lots of tools and features to make use of; it just hides them on other pages.
The second type is more like the Oanda website. There is plenty to greet you when you arrive on the home page, and while this kind of layout can be overwhelming Oanda manages to carry it off beautifully. It lays out all the services and tools that are available on the website, and makes them easy to pick out by using a design that is simple yet effective.
There is a very simple converter at the very top of the page (it’s built into the design so well that you could almost miss it if you start looking at all the other features first) but this only gives you the exchange rates between the top twelve most popular currencies. It is a good quick ‘at a glance’ type of tool, and if you select the currencies you want to see the exchange rate for you will be taken into a page which lets you enter the amount you wish to convert.
There are plenty of clickable links elsewhere on the home page to take you straight into the appropriate pages, and there is a neat side bar which stays consistent throughout all the pages on the site, allowing you to navigate easily between pages and find what you need in double quick time. A lot of thought has obviously gone into this website and it shows in every single section you visit.
The simple but effective welcome box near the top of the home page also provides clickable links to take you through to the section of the site which will appeal to you the most, depending on what type of person you are. Travelers will be taken straight to all the tools which they will find extremely useful, while people trading on the foreign exchange markets will see an alternative page which again is designed especially for them. The same applies to businesses, which will see a page listing all the services Oanda offers that can enhance their business and how they run it.
All in all www.oanda.com has set up a home page which appeals to everyone regardless of what they need or want – and does so without unnecessary confusion or complications. It was a tall order in this case to cover everything in a way that appealed to the right people without alienating or confusing anyone, but they have certainly managed it.
The currency converter
This comprehensive currency converter can be found easily by glancing at the left hand menu and selecting the FXConverter option under the Currency Tools section of the website. This takes you straight into the page you want.
Over 160 currencies are represented here, and the converter itself is very straightforward to use. You can select the appropriate currencies via the two scroll down boxes or alternatively you can enter the currency codes if you know them. You can also select which rate you want to see your results displayed according to; the Interbank rate is the default mode but there are several other options provided that will make life easier if you need to know specific figures for Forex trading, for example.
This currency converter is particularly useful in that it allows you to choose the date on which you need figures for. Instead of having to find a website (or even just a separate page on the same site) that gives you access to historical rates tables, all you need to do is visit the Oanda site and use the standard currency converter. As you enter in the rest of the information as you would normally, just remember to change the date and the rest will be done for you. This is a simple addition to the regular currency converter tool but it is one which is undoubtedly very useful and puts it head and shoulders above many of the others available online.
When you get your results you will see that the standard exchange rate is shown clearly for you between both currencies. The amount you wanted to convert is also shown in red, making simple work of picking out the figures you need from the mass of data provided.
However that mass of data will be equally of interest to those people who are involved in the foreign exchange markets, since it includes minimum, maximum and average prices for exchanges to take place. The fact that this is provided along with the converter tool without any extra searching required makes it even easier to find the figures you need in double quick time.
It also demonstrates once again how well this website brings together the information needed without overwhelming people in the process. When several different types of figures are involved it can be extremely confusing to see what items you should be paying attention to, but the Oanda team have taken the time to make sure the currency converter results are easy to understand at a glance.
Other useful tools on this site
This site is undoubtedly a great one to bookmark if you are at all interested in the Forex markets.
One click on the Currency Trading section of the menu takes you into the trading arm of the Oanda operations, leading you into all the information you could need about opening a trading account, and discovering more about how the whole thing works. The website also succeeds in appealing to both experienced traders and those who are merely curious about the whole thing and want to find out more about it.
If you click on the FXTrade Forex Trading link you will stay on the same Oanda website, and you will see more introductory information about this type of trading as offered and dealt with by the company. There are trading calculators and plenty of charts, updated figures and much more to make it easier to understand what the world of foreign exchange trading is all about.
Travelers will also find the website has plenty to offer them, quite apart from the currency converter that they can use prior to getting their holiday currency. You can also order currencies on the website so long as they are between the specified amounts, but this service is only for use by people living in the US at present.
However while the currency converter is definitely the most useful tool you will use, there are also a number of other conversion tools to give you an idea of what to expect while you are away. You can convert temperatures from Celcius to Fahrenheit and back again, not to mention several other types of measurement you may need to know.
While this particular tool has little to do with currency – which is after all what the site is known for – it is another example of how well the website caters for its visitors. Additional services such as this one may seem small and insignificant, but the website has gone to great lengths to make sure its visitors are well taken care of and that everything is at their fingertips.
Those people traveling on business will also find a number of useful tools on this site for their use. FXPense is probably the most popular free tool for business people, since it allows you to input your expenses and works out all the exchange rates for you. There is a quick and easy version which can be used but if you want to get the best service possible it’s well worth signing up for your own Oanda account. This will give you access to plenty of other features as well as the comprehensive FXPense service, and this is also free.
What other sections are there to explore?
There is a comprehensive section of the website which is designed to appeal purely to businesses. This is a good example of how the site’s owners have laid out the website in an easy to access manner, regardless of what type of information you are after.
The Business Services section is always readily available in the left hand menu and once you are in the first page of this part of the website you will be taken through a series of sections describing the services in more detail. While not every business will benefit from the services offered, if you have a regular need to know currency exchange rates or similar information then this section will be of great use.
There are tools here however that will be useful to people who travel abroad on business on occasion, such as the Traveler’s Cheat Sheet which is designed for printing off before you travel to give you instant access to conversion rates that you will encounter while you are away. Again, it is a free service but while it is a small one on a relatively large website, it is used by thousands upon thousands of people. It’s indicative of a website that really pays attention to what people need, and it caters for those needs in the best way possible.
The services section also gives extensive information about the options that are available for subscribers. The prices for each service per month are clearly displayed on the screen next to each option, making it easy to see exactly what you would be paying for each one, and what you’ll get in return for your payment.
These services are designed more for businesses to make use of than personal customers, and are essentially for use with a website. A typical example is the Oanda currency converter. This is available to use as a free version, but you can also get a more personalized version which can be designed to be fitted more seamlessly into your website. If you have a site which deals with currency in some form or another then this could prove to be a good investment.
User friendly features
In truth the whole website is user friendly, but there are several points worth noting above all others.
The first is the fact that there is a blue bar across the top of the screen, just below the green Oanda.com header, which has just four options on it. Three of these are to direct traders, travelers and businesses quickly and easily to the right part of the website for them, and the fourth one leads into a section which allows people with websites to link to Oanda.com in a variety of ways. This is obviously great publicity for the website itself, but it also makes it clear that the currency converter is available for other webmasters to make use of.
The ever present menu on the left hand side of the screen makes navigating this website extremely easy. Some websites with this amount of information on them make it almost a necessity to know where the site map is, but although www.oanda.com does have a site map you will probably find you don’t need it at any point. If you do it’s a simple matter of scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on the small link provided.
The green header itself also holds a simple way to get into the main areas of the website. Key words such as tools, info and trading lead you into pages where all the relevant goodies can be found. Quick links are then used to get to the appropriate areas you are looking for, some of which you may not have found elsewhere.
If you decide to open an account with the website then accessing it and reaching the information you need is also made easy with the simple section entitled ‘Your Account’. Once you have reached that page you can see the wide range of facilities that an account will get you, including various data services designed to make life easier for you.
As far as currency converter and currency based websites go, www.oanda.com is one of the best ones around. It has a comprehensive array of information, tools and advice that is designed to make life easier for several groups of people, and this is one of the reasons why it is at the top of its class.
In some cases it can be a mistake to try and appeal to several different types of people with just one single website, but this is a shining example of how it can be done. What’s more it has shown that it can be done efficiently and in an outstanding way.
Lots of different people are drawn to this website precisely because it contains so much information, but what could have been a confusing mess has been put together in such a way that each person – regardless of what they need to use the site for – is taken directly to the part they need. Not many websites can say that they are capable of drawing in such a big audience in such a successful way.
If you are still in any doubt about the consistency and success of this website, all you need to do is click on the part of the menu which says ‘About Oanda’. This tells you in a single web page who uses the site and why; and clearly establishes its strength and power in just two paragraphs. That is a sure sign of a company that knows where it is going and aims to do so in the best way possible.
Different people have their own preferences about what they want a site such as this one to include in their services, and www.oanda.com does a great job of providing plenty of free services to appeal to many people. For those looking for something a little more advanced or complex, the solutions are there at a price that is reasonable when compared to other websites.All in all Oanda certainly over delivers on its aims.