The newspapers has reported that there are more than 600 complaints about the SGX's new website. While many don't like the fonts, colors and the way the data is presented, the biggest problem is the slowness of access to the website - I'll tell you how to overcome this later. It is a real wonder why SGX spent all that money to redesign its website into something that few people appreciate. Personally, if I were managing the website upgrade for SGX, I would deal with the following issues:
1. Speedup access time to the site. If possible, offer streaming live quotes. This technology is already widely available as seen from Ameritrade, IG etc.
2. Better charts. The people ugrading don't seem to have any ideas what people want to see in a chart. One example of a good charting service is the charts provided by http://www.bigcharts.com/.
3. More company information. I think SGX now only gives announcements of the company going back a few (2?) quarters when most investors would like 5 years if not all the data available. It is little wonder why it is so hard to provide this data when harddisk space is actually cheap. SGX should also be repositories for annual reports which increasingly are available in softcopies.
Now for the big tip on how to make the SGX website faster and more usable. After its upgrade, I gave up on the SGX website and switched to POEMS for checking stock prices because it was simply too slow. Even for a person who checks these prices leisurely after work when the market is closed, the slowness is unacceptable. I did some simple analysis and found the new website makes extensive use of Java and its Java code executes very slowly under the Sun Java VM. You can get the SGX website access speeded up tremendously by switching to Google's Chrome because it uses a much faster Java VM called V8 developed by its team in Denmark[Link]. While Chrome may be lacking in other areas, its Java script execution speed is No. 1. The SGX stock price access speed up to almost 'instantaneous' under Chrome making it usable. I'm not advertising for Google but if you want to overcome the pain of using the new SGX website you can download Chrome here[Link] and give it a try.
SGX fixing under-fire website [Link]
By JOYCE HOOI
LOCAL investors may understand many things, such as how to place butterfly spreads or hedge futures - but what they simply do not understand is why the Singapore Exchange (SGX) would fix something that is not broken.
Since the launch of the new SGX website on May 8, users have been up in arms over its new interface.
According to SGX, the feedback and suggestion count about the new website had mounted to about 600 over the work-week. The website is among the three most-visited in Singapore and logged one million individual users last month.
Some were nostalgic about the old website. Others raised navigational issues about the new one and complained about its appearance and glitches in the system.
The complaints have not fallen on deaf ears.
'About 60 per cent of the problems to date relate to Internet settings and locating information and these have been addressed immediately through our hotlines and by email,' said Amy Balan, head of corporate communications at SGX.
'About 10 per cent particularly from our older users gave feedback on font size and readability. The colour and font will be improved starting Monday, May 18.'
The website's slow speed made up another 10 per cent of the complaints received.
'We are currently determining the different variables affecting slowness, some of which pertain to user environment. We are working with our technology and network vendors to resolve this,' said Ms Balan.
The inflexibility of the navigation system for company announcements that limits filtering options has also drawn fire.
'The worst thing is you have to navigate by selecting the stocks you want to see using the dropdown menu which makes it troublesome and a waste of time,' said online user 'chiapeipei' on a forum last Monday.
Other users have taken issue with how returning to a previous page on certain parts of the website could only be accomplished with a specific button tucked away at the bottom of the page, instead of with the 'Back' browser button as was previously possible.
Analysts on the go have also been irked by the new website's lack of optimisation for mobile phones and PDAs, resulting in longer loading times and difficulty in site navigation.
'The SGX seems to have forgotten that people look at the website on their mobile phones, too,' an analyst with a local firm said.
Glitches have also surfaced. An online user noted that 'Raffles Education Corp' and 'Raffles Education Corp Ltd' both existed on the company announcements menu as separate options, with their own set of announcements, even though only one such firm exists.
BT also found that the announcements for certain counters only go back as far as January this year, even though announcements made by listed firms over the last 24 months should be available on the SGX website.
While acknowledging 'teething issues', Ms Balan thanked users for their feedback and said the website would be refined.
This article was first published in The Business Times.