Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

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fingoals
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Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by fingoals »

I respect Vanguard as a company and I wish I could use nicer words to describe my frustration. I've just logged in to see that my $5K order to purchase VMMXX (emerg. fund) that I placed last week has been completed. To my astonishment, I discovered the following.

Dasboard > Recent Transactions section: Buy VMMXX ($5K)
Dasboard > Balances > Brokerage account: $1K
Balances and holdings > Brokerage account: $5K (it said $0 ~10 min. ago), VMMXX: 0 shares
Dashboard > Personal performance tab: – $3,838.35 (yes, negative)

Some people might get a heart attack from such user experience (UX). After thinking for a moment that it would be impossible for me to lose more than 50% of my assets in a couple of days, I realized what is going on here. I believe that my order to transfer $4K from my bank and, as some people here suggested, issuing an order to purchase VMMXX without waiting for that money to land at VG have resulted in VG conveniently "lending" me $4K for the period of the transfer (I had $1K from earlier EFT). It would be all fine and dandy unless they would not mark that transaction as a market loss and personal investment returns. I realize that their platform does a lot of calculations, but why in the world it needs to expose users to its transitional state of affairs while presumably batch-processing those transactions in real time? Couldn't they update relevant user views after all relevant transactions are processed? I'm wondering about whether VG need to fire all its UX people, if any, and hire relevant people who really understand what good UX is about.

Update after 10 more minutes: the brokerage balance now shows $5K, but negative performance info is still there. :shock:
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by zuma »

You're right. It's bad.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by fingoals »

Woo-hoo! Just refreshed the dashboard page and - finally! - that "stupid red triangle" (TM) is gone. Market gain: $174.41. :-)

I guess, the moral of the story is to try to log into VG platform not often, at least, giving it day(s) after most recent transaction.

Having said that, I still stand by my critique. They should hide transitional state of things for the sake of everyone's sanity and overall health.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by peetsperk »

Or possibly have the money in your account when you make a purchase.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by fingoals »

dccboone wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:24 am Or possibly have the money in your account when you make a purchase.
Originally I was planning to do that, but was persuaded by several people here that it is perfectly fine to issue an order prior to EFT completion. Apparently, it is fine, but only from one perspective - relevant funds are not lost in the process. However, as we can see, there is a UX side of this coin and it ain't pretty.

Ironically (or maybe they spy on us? ;-)), upon logging out after the above-mentioned experience, Vanguard asked me to complete a service quality survey, which I happily did, briefly sharing my experience tonight and recommendations.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by livesoft »

it is well-known that Vanguard does not know where your money is at all times. So it makes up numbers and puts them on the web page. It is one of the worst things about Vanguard and why I don't ever send them any money anymore. There are lots of posts about this lack of real-time tracking of money at Vanguard.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by Pjax513 »

livesoft wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:37 am it is well-known that Vanguard does not know where your money is at all times. So it makes up numbers and puts them on the web page. It is one of the worst things about Vanguard and why I don't ever send them any money anymore. There are lots of posts about this lack of real-time tracking of money at Vanguard.
New here and thinking of starting to use Vangaurd and or Fidelity. How do you get money to Vangaurd to buy funds then? or do you not use Vangaurd anymore? Thanks!
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by Epsilon Delta »

livesoft wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:37 am it is well-known that Vanguard does not know where your money is at all times. So it makes up numbers and puts them on the web page.
That is how accounting works everywhere. It is not, and never has been, real time. But some people are better at making up numbers than others.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by aspiringboglehead »

I don't have a problem with the fundamental nature of the information that Vanguard shows; their site exposes an underlying complexity and delay (in settlement) that actually exists.

But I wish the website would show a consistent image of my accounts across various pages, at any time I decide to check. The redesigned front page often shows a different snapshot from the main "balances and holdings" page, and late in the day (or early in the morning) the site will show transactions completed in "transaction history" but will not reflect those transactions in balances or holdings until a few hours later. Whatever else Vanguard might do -- whatever other IT challenges it faces -- it could (1) simply avoid showing a transaction as completed in "transaction history" if its systems haven't yet updated my balances and holdings to reflect the transaction and (2) make sure the front page mirrors the "balances and holdings" page.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by fingoals »

livesoft wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:37 am it is well-known that Vanguard does not know where your money is at all times. So it makes up numbers and puts them on the web page. It is one of the worst things about Vanguard and why I don't ever send them any money anymore. There are lots of posts about this lack of real-time tracking of money at Vanguard.
Well, it wasn't known to me, since I actually started using VG platform this January. That and the fact that I actively work on various IT platforms' development and operations aspects (including UX/UI) triggered my reaction. Out of curiosity: what better platform(s) do you use? Fidelity?
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by fingoals »

Epsilon Delta wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:08 am
livesoft wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:37 am it is well-known that Vanguard does not know where your money is at all times. So it makes up numbers and puts them on the web page.
That is how accounting works everywhere. It is not, and never has been, real time. But some people are better at making up numbers than others.
Accounting might not be real-time, but user-level representation of it should be. Many platforms have the problem of exposing their internal or, as in this case, transient transactional information to end users. I believe that internal mechanics of any platform should hidden from its users - at least, by default. After all, "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" (Leonardo da Vinci). That is what great UX is about.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by fingoals »

aspiringboglehead wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:35 am I don't have a problem with the fundamental nature of the information that Vanguard shows; their site exposes an underlying complexity and delay (in settlement) that actually exists.

But I wish the website would show a consistent image of my accounts across various pages, at any time I decide to check. The redesigned front page often shows a different snapshot from the main "balances and holdings" page, and late in the day (or early in the morning) the site will show transactions completed in "transaction history" but will not reflect those transactions in balances or holdings until a few hours later. Whatever else Vanguard might do -- whatever other IT challenges it faces -- it could (1) simply avoid showing a transaction as completed in "transaction history" if its systems haven't yet updated my balances and holdings to reflect the transaction and (2) make sure the front page mirrors the "balances and holdings" page.
My thoughts exactly ... :sharebeer
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by fingoals »

If some people from Vanguard (especially UX ones) are reading this post, please do not take its title and my comments (including about firing and hiring :-)) literally and personally. I very much like many UX/UI aspects of your website and the underlying platform. It is the data/information inconsistency as well as various other related user workflow issues that damage the otherwise nice user experience. I sincerely hope that the platform could and eventually would be improved to fairly compete in the best-in-class level.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by jebmke »

I try to keep my UX down to once a month... 8-)
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by StandingRock »

I don't think it's that bad. Remember this is a low cost leader in their industry. You get what you pay for, so long as it works it shouldn't matter.
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Post by megabad »

I'm not sure I understand what the ask is here. Is it that you just want the website to update faster? It appears that you were refreshing the website over a period of less than 10 minutes in the middle of the night and that the issue correctly itself in that time. I will criticize Vanguard's mistakes freely, but I don't have an expectation that every transaction will be shown perfectly complete every minute of every day. Other brokers, have large time delays in showing completed transactions as well. Admittedly though, I have not refreshed their websites repeatedly at 3am in the morning to see if they show transitional steps or not so Vanguard may or may not be worse there. Gosh, what would you folks have done in the 56k modem days?
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by fingoals »

jebmke wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:38 pm I try to keep my UX down to once a month... 8-)
That sounds about right. 8-) However, as a new user and, in fact, a new investor, I was curious about things much more frequently. I guess, the frequency of investment platform's UX is inversely proportional to relevant accounts' balance or, generally, relevant person's net worth ... :-)
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by fingoals »

b0B wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:43 pm This phenomenon, displaying varying information in various places, is almost universally true at all financial institutions. There is nothing here that is specific to Vanguard.

In fact Vanguard is superior in letting you purchase directly from you bank to get same day transaction even though they don't get the funds until later.
livesoft wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:37 am it is well-known that Vanguard does not know where your money is at all times. So it makes up numbers and puts them on the web page. It is one of the worst things about Vanguard and why I don't ever send them any money anymore. There are lots of posts about this lack of real-time tracking of money at Vanguard.
The only "problem" is in the display, which as I said is almost universal on financial institution websites.

Furthermore, I don't believe there are problems with the actual transactions. It works absolutely fine, which cannot be said for others, like Fidelity.
The fact that it is the current state of things on Vanguard platform and other financial institutions' platforms does not IMO mean that it is the optimal/right/best way of doing business. Please see my comment above about inconsistency and user workflow.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by fingoals »

StandingRock wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:48 pm I don't think it's that bad. Remember this is a low cost leader in their industry. You get what you pay for, so long as it works it shouldn't matter.
There are certain thresholds for dimensions of UX quality that even a low cost leader cannot afford. And information inconsistency is one of them. Confusing / not clear enough user workflows is another.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by rkhusky »

It's not just Vanguard. Many sites favor flashy graphics and viewing on a phone, at the expense of usability. My bank's site has gone down in usability in order to make it look better on a phone - probably based on preferences of the web development team and higher management, who don't even use the site.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by fingoals »

megabad wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:49 pm I'm not sure I understand what the ask is here. Is it that you just want the website to update faster? It appears that you were refreshing the website over a period of less than 10 minutes in the middle of the night and that the issue correctly itself in that time. I will criticize Vanguard's mistakes freely, but I don't have an expectation that every transaction will be shown perfectly complete every minute of every day. Other brokers, have large time delays in showing completed transactions as well. Admittedly though, I have not refreshed their websites repeatedly at 3am in the morning to see if they show transitional steps or not so Vanguard may or may not be worse there. Gosh, what would you folks have done in the 56k modem days?
It is not about the speed at all. It is about information consistency. My critique is that Vanguard platform (as it seems many/most/all others do the same, based on what people said above) exposes users to transitional state of things, which IMO is should hide. In other words, until the whole set of relevant user transactions are completed and user-level information is in the next consistent state, the platform should display previous consistent summary state of things, noting that some transactions are pending. It should happen at any time, day or night.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by fingoals »

rkhusky wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:06 pm It's not just Vanguard. Many sites favor flashy graphics and viewing on a phone, at the expense of usability. My bank's site has gone down in usability in order to make it look better on a phone - probably based on preferences of the web development team and higher management, who don't even use the site.
I understand. However IMO information consistency is too important (especially on a finance-focused platform) to prioritize anything else higher.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by StandingRock »

fingoals wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:00 pm
StandingRock wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:48 pm I don't think it's that bad. Remember this is a low cost leader in their industry. You get what you pay for, so long as it works it shouldn't matter.
There are certain thresholds for dimensions of UX quality that even a low cost leader cannot afford. And information inconsistency is one of them. Confusing / not clear enough user workflows is another.
Unfortunately "UX" is going to vary from person to person. I started using Vanguard's website less than a year ago and while I noticed right away that it is not as good as other platforms, I felt like it was sufficient FOR WHAT IT IS, and I never had any problems navigating to do what I need to do.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by megabad »

fingoals wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:10 pm It is not about the speed at all. It is about information consistency. My critique is that Vanguard platform (as it seems many/most/all others do the same, based on what people said above) exposes users to transitional state of things, which IMO is should hide. In other words, until the whole set of relevant user transactions are completed and user-level information is in the next consistent state, the platform should display previous consistent summary state of things, noting that some transactions are pending. It should happen at any time, day or night.
Well, there are mixed views on "information consistency". I suspect there may be a reason why information is displayed in the manner that it is. Covering this up may cause more issues than it solves. At the end of the day, I follow a trust but verify policy with Vanguard and everyone else. As long as I have final paper documentation that shows the result I want, I don't much care the steps it takes to get there.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by fingoals »

StandingRock wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:13 pm
fingoals wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:00 pm
StandingRock wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:48 pm I don't think it's that bad. Remember this is a low cost leader in their industry. You get what you pay for, so long as it works it shouldn't matter.
There are certain thresholds for dimensions of UX quality that even a low cost leader cannot afford. And information inconsistency is one of them. Confusing / not clear enough user workflows is another.
Unfortunately "UX" is going to vary from person to person. I started using Vanguard's website less than a year ago and while I noticed right away that it is not as good as other platforms, I felt like it was sufficient FOR WHAT IT IS, and I never had any problems navigating to do what I need to do.
Generally, I agree with you - UX is certainly subjective. However, only to some degree. When UX crosses the border of "good enough" and moves to the territory of confusing (to many/enough users!) workflows and, especially, information inconsistency, it is IMO a flashing red warning sign.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by fingoals »

megabad wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:22 pm
fingoals wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:10 pm It is not about the speed at all. It is about information consistency. My critique is that Vanguard platform (as it seems many/most/all others do the same, based on what people said above) exposes users to transitional state of things, which IMO is should hide. In other words, until the whole set of relevant user transactions are completed and user-level information is in the next consistent state, the platform should display previous consistent summary state of things, noting that some transactions are pending. It should happen at any time, day or night.
Well, there are mixed views on "information consistency". I suspect there may be a reason why information is displayed in the manner that it is. Covering this up may cause more issues than it solves. At the end of the day, I follow a trust but verify policy with Vanguard and everyone else. As long as I have final paper documentation that shows the result I want, I don't much care the steps it takes to get there.
Perhaps, you are right to some extent (or fully). However, I would be concerned about the accuracy of information, considering a significant delay between actual transactions and their detailed or summary representation (or lack thereof!, or, at least, discrepancies) in final paper documents. In other words, I think that trust but verify is a great policy only if one can verify information at any time and find it consistent.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by fingoals »

b0B wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:08 pm
fingoals wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:56 pm
b0B wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:43 pm This phenomenon, displaying varying information in various places, is almost universally true at all financial institutions. There is nothing here that is specific to Vanguard.

In fact Vanguard is superior in letting you purchase directly from you bank to get same day transaction even though they don't get the funds until later.
livesoft wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:37 am it is well-known that Vanguard does not know where your money is at all times. So it makes up numbers and puts them on the web page. It is one of the worst things about Vanguard and why I don't ever send them any money anymore. There are lots of posts about this lack of real-time tracking of money at Vanguard.
The only "problem" is in the display, which as I said is almost universal on financial institution websites.

Furthermore, I don't believe there are problems with the actual transactions. It works absolutely fine, which cannot be said for others, like Fidelity.
The fact that it is the current state of things on Vanguard platform and other financial institutions' platforms does not IMO mean that it is the optimal/right/best way of doing business. Please see my comment above about inconsistency and user workflow.
I agree that financial websites are generally pretty bad, and they display inconsistent information etc (e.g. if a=b and c+d=e at all times, these numbers could be displayed on the screen could be from different times so that the equations that should always be true, are not displayed as true) (e.g. "current balance" is different on different pages, or displayed "totals" don't equal the sum of the displayed numbers they're supposed to be the sum of).

So I totally agree that it's ridiculous that financial websites display these half-baked calculations. But Vanguard is merely typical here. This is almost universal.

Also you may have got a fright about a negative balance that was technically correct, e.g. they let you buy something with funds from your bank, but they hadn't got the money yet.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We are on certainly the same page. :sharebeer
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Post by slow n steady »

fingoals wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:11 am Woo-hoo! Just refreshed the dashboard page and - finally! - that "stupid red triangle" (TM) is gone. Market gain: $174.41. :-)

I guess, the moral of the story is to try to log into VG platform not often, at least, giving it day(s) after most recent transaction.

Having said that, I still stand by my critique. They should hide transitional state of things for the sake of everyone's sanity and overall health.

You at least have to admit they are pretty quick on resolving your issue when posted to bogleheads. You posted and the issue was resolved in less then 10 minutes! :oops:
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by fingoals »

slow n steady wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:14 pm
fingoals wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:11 am Woo-hoo! Just refreshed the dashboard page and - finally! - that "stupid red triangle" (TM) is gone. Market gain: $174.41. :-)

I guess, the moral of the story is to try to log into VG platform not often, at least, giving it day(s) after most recent transaction.

Having said that, I still stand by my critique. They should hide transitional state of things for the sake of everyone's sanity and overall health.

You at least have to admit they are pretty quick on resolving your issue when posted to bogleheads. You posted and the issue was resolved in less then 10 minutes! :oops:
Ha-ha! Not exactly. You want to give Vanguard credit where it is not due. The issue was not "automagically" resolved in 10 min., but disappeared (big difference!) due to coincidence in that my post time was pretty close to completion of relevant batch transaction processing. Nice try! ;-)
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by ruralavalon »

dccboone wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:24 am Or possibly have the money in your account when you make a purchase.
Good idea.
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Post by DB2 »

Vanguard has been looking into an issue for me. On any given day (even with no recent activity) the amount in my account will incorrectly fluctuate in large amounts. One day it showed my account with an additional $130K (wish it were true! lol). Another day it showed me with almost no money. They admit there is a problem, but no answer yet.
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Post by Admiral »

Hmm. Dunno here, when I was a MS client it was the same, they would buy what you wanted so you got the price on the day the order was executed, and then as long as you had the money there by settlement it was not an issue. That seems to be what Vanguard is doing.

I mean, if you don't have the money and you make a trade, how should it be reported? It does show "pending" does it not?
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by Admiral »

b0B wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:42 pm
ruralavalon wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:47 am
dccboone wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:24 am Or possibly have the money in your account when you make a purchase.
Good idea.
I totally disagree. Vanguard let's you purchase now at today's price, and pull the funds from your linked bank account, and you don't even have to worry about transit times. It just works, and lots of people here do it.
That may be true, but Vanguard's settlement account (MM) offers rates that are competitive with a bank's deposit rates (actually better, for the most part) so why not just keep the money there and not worry about it?
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by zuma »

Admiral wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:44 pm
b0B wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:42 pm
ruralavalon wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:47 am
dccboone wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:24 am Or possibly have the money in your account when you make a purchase.
Good idea.
I totally disagree. Vanguard let's you purchase now at today's price, and pull the funds from your linked bank account, and you don't even have to worry about transit times. It just works, and lots of people here do it.
That may be true, but Vanguard's settlement account (MM) offers rates that are competitive with a bank's deposit rates (actually better, for the most part) so why not just keep the money there and not worry about it?
This is beside the point, which is that Vanguard should display the pending transaction in a way that doesn't cause a new user to panic and think that something has gone terribly wrong.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by fingoals »

zuma wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:56 pm
Admiral wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:44 pm
b0B wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:42 pm
ruralavalon wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:47 am
dccboone wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:24 am Or possibly have the money in your account when you make a purchase.
Good idea.
I totally disagree. Vanguard let's you purchase now at today's price, and pull the funds from your linked bank account, and you don't even have to worry about transit times. It just works, and lots of people here do it.
That may be true, but Vanguard's settlement account (MM) offers rates that are competitive with a bank's deposit rates (actually better, for the most part) so why not just keep the money there and not worry about it?
This is beside the point, which is that Vanguard should display the pending transaction in a way that doesn't cause a new user to panic and think that something has gone terribly wrong.
Exactly! One of my main points. :beer
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by fingoals »

b0B wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:05 pm
Admiral wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:44 pm
b0B wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:42 pm
ruralavalon wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:47 am
dccboone wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:24 am Or possibly have the money in your account when you make a purchase.
Good idea.
I totally disagree. Vanguard let's you purchase now at today's price, and pull the funds from your linked bank account, and you don't even have to worry about transit times. It just works, and lots of people here do it.
That may be true, but Vanguard's settlement account (MM) offers rates that are competitive with a bank's deposit rates (actually better, for the most part) so why not just keep the money there and not worry about it?
That's obviously an option if you happen to have long term cash sitting around already. But if, for example, your paycheck lands in your bank account, and you want to invest some, then you can place the order and have it execute that day, and they'll pull the funds from your bank, and you don't have to worry about transit times. I was disagreeing with those who would suggest not to do this, and instead to take the extra step of first transferring cash to Vanguard, and then once it has finally arrived, to execute the purchase. I disagree that one should necessarily take this extra step.
This all would be fine as long as Vanguard would display more information in a more user-friendly way, instead of technically accurate, but sometimes or for some people confusing, style. For example, when transactions are being processed and relevant performance information is not consistent with a user's expectation, based on the final/consistent state of things, why, instead of displaying transient negative performance info, not just display a message "Transactions in progress, performance information is delayed. Please check back soon." or something like that.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by sk2010 »

fingoals wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:06 pm This all would be fine as long as Vanguard would display more information in a more user-friendly way, instead of technically accurate, but sometimes or for some people confusing, style. For example, when transactions are being processed and relevant performance information is not consistent with a user's expectation, based on the final/consistent state of things, why, instead of displaying transient negative performance info, not just display a message "Transactions in progress, performance information is delayed. Please check back soon." or something like that.
Totally agree.
Is there someone within the Bogleheads Forum who interacts with Vanguard directly to provide feedback, and can raise this as a concern? I bet this is something that they can fix, and can benefit us all.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by fingoals »

sk2010 wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:25 pm
fingoals wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:06 pm This all would be fine as long as Vanguard would display more information in a more user-friendly way, instead of technically accurate, but sometimes or for some people confusing, style. For example, when transactions are being processed and relevant performance information is not consistent with a user's expectation, based on the final/consistent state of things, why, instead of displaying transient negative performance info, not just display a message "Transactions in progress, performance information is delayed. Please check back soon." or something like that.
Totally agree.
Is there someone within the Bogleheads Forum who interacts with Vanguard directly to provide feedback, and can raise this as a concern? I bet this is something that they can fix, and can benefit us all.
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livesoft
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by livesoft »

fingoals wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:58 pm Out of curiosity: what better platform(s) do you use? Fidelity?
Nowadays: WellsTrade. TDAmeritrade.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by livesoft »

Pjax513 wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:04 amNew here and thinking of starting to use Vangaurd and or Fidelity. How do you get money to Vangaurd to buy funds then? or do you not use Vangaurd anymore? Thanks!
I do not add any money to our Vanguard accounts anymore.
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Quercus Palustris
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by Quercus Palustris »

I think the state of the fund screeners is a good demonstration of the relative states of a brokerage site's UX. Vanguard's is crude and offers few choices. Schwab has a fantastic one. Fido and TD sort of between the two ends. As a web developer I sometimes wonder about how conservative the VG dev teams must be (or if "conservative" is too kind a word).

Of course I still like Vanguard enough to use them in spite of that. But they'd do well to see what the competition (and even industry as a whole) are capable of. Reminds me of one time I had an awful car rental (a compact or economy), and I wondered if the car designers had ever sat in or driven a Corolla.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by ruralavalon »

Quercus Palustris wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:17 am I think the state of the fund screeners is a good demonstration of the relative states of a brokerage site's UX. Vanguard's is crude and offers few choices. Schwab has a fantastic one. Fido and TD sort of between the two ends. As a web developer I sometimes wonder about how conservative the VG dev teams must be (or if "conservative" is too kind a word).

Of course I still like Vanguard enough to use them in spite of that. But they'd do well to see what the competition (and even industry as a whole) are capable of. Reminds me of one time I had an awful car rental (a compact or economy), and I wondered if the car designers had ever sat in or driven a Corolla.
I prefer the Vanguard website for ease in selecting funds to use.

In fact ease in selecting funds to use was one of the two primary reasons I chose to go with Vanguard rather than Fidelity or T. Rowe Price (Schwab was not really a player at that time). The other primary reason I chose Vanguard was their extremely broad range of low expense funds offered.

Vanguard displays its funds in a table by asset type, making it easy to see the fund candidates in each category.

Once you have a fund candidate you want to consider Vanguard has a nice "compare" feature, which can give you a very detailed comparison to other Vanguard funds as well as funds from other companies. You can compare up to 5 funds side-by-side on a single page.
Last edited by ruralavalon on Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by Miguelito »

Perhaps a bit unrelated, but I decided to open a taxable investment account with Vanguard a few years ago based on everyone's input here and also to diversify and not give Fidelity everything.

I must say that I am not seeing the benefit. It seems Fidelity's fund fees are as cheap or cheaper, customer service is better, the website is better, and Fidelity allows you to hold funds as cash before investing. I hate the idea of moving everything to Fidelity because of the LTCG tax, but frankly, maybe I just should.

At the very least I am considering funding taxable at Fidelity going forward. II'm thinking about waiting until everything at the Vanguard account is LTCG and then moving it.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by bondsr4me »

Miguelito wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:57 am Perhaps a bit unrelated, but I decided to open a taxable investment account with Vanguard a few years ago based on everyone's input here and also to diversify and not give Fidelity everything.

I must say that I am not seeing the benefit. It seems Fidelity's fund fees are as cheap or cheaper, customer service is better, the website is better, and Fidelity allows you to hold funds as cash before investing. I hate the idea of moving everything to Fidelity because of the LTCG tax, but frankly, maybe I just should.

At the very least I am considering funding taxable at Fidelity going forward. II'm thinking about waiting until everything at the Vanguard account is LTCG and then moving it.
If you do an in-kind transfer, there is no LTCG issue because you are not selling; just changing custodians.
You may want to check with Fidelity to be sure they will take all your VG holdings as is.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise

Post by fingoals »

livesoft wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:46 am
fingoals wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:58 pm Out of curiosity: what better platform(s) do you use? Fidelity?
Nowadays: WellsTrade. TDAmeritrade.
Thank you for the update. I'm not familiar with TDAmeritrade in detail (though I read good reviews about their platform, including stock screeners, in my "crazy-idea-of-swing-trading" days (which wasn't that long ago - I learn fast :-)). However, being a Wells Fargo banking customer for a while, I was curious enough to check out their brokerage platform. Based on my brief research, WF's brokerage offering seems to be somewhat worse that VG's one (assuming that one is following the Bogleheads style of investing, i.e., not much individual stock/ETF transactions): all kinds of fees ($35 Mutual Funds No-Load Transaction Fee, $30 Household Annual Fee, etc.), poorer selection of funds (most are high-ER ones). Perhaps, their website is more user-friendly (or logical, or consistent) than Vanguard's ...
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by fingoals »

ruralavalon wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:49 am
Quercus Palustris wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:17 am I think the state of the fund screeners is a good demonstration of the relative states of a brokerage site's UX. Vanguard's is crude and offers few choices. Schwab has a fantastic one. Fido and TD sort of between the two ends. As a web developer I sometimes wonder about how conservative the VG dev teams must be (or if "conservative" is too kind a word).

Of course I still like Vanguard enough to use them in spite of that. But they'd do well to see what the competition (and even industry as a whole) are capable of. Reminds me of one time I had an awful car rental (a compact or economy), and I wondered if the car designers had ever sat in or driven a Corolla.
I prefer the Vanguard website for ease in selecting funds to use.

In fact ease in selecting funds to use was one of the two primary reasons I chose to go with Vanguard rather than Fidelity or T. Rowe Price (Schwab was not really a player at that time). The other primary reason I chose Vanguard was their extremely broad range of low expense funds offered.

Vanguard displays its funds in a table by asset type, making it easy to see the fund candidates in each category.

Once you have a fund candidate you want to consider Vanguard has a nice "compare" feature, which can give you a very detailed comparison to other Vanguard funds as well as funds from other companies. You can compare up to 5 funds side-by-side on a single page.
Interesting perspective and experiences. Thank you for sharing, Quercus Palustris and ruralavalon. As for the "conservativeness" of the Vanguard platform's UX, I think that it is partially or significantly because they want people who have not been exposed to modern / fancy IT platforms (a large percentage of their users, I assume, and arguably with highest net worth, compared to the rest) feel comfortable and confident in using it.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by fru-gal »

rkhusky wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:06 pm It's not just Vanguard. Many sites favor flashy graphics and viewing on a phone, at the expense of usability. My bank's site has gone down in usability in order to make it look better on a phone - probably based on preferences of the web development team and higher management, who don't even use the site.
More and more the websites I use have become lousy to deal with from a laptop due to being designed for a phone. I used to complain and tell them that it was possible to support both types of devices, but I never got anywhere. It's pretty clear that this is due to ignorance and incompetence by the IT people and management that probably never uses its own website.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by jules »

My bank shows scheduled pending transactions in a particular color, and separates them from posted transactions.

It does not include pending transactions in reports.
It does show a “Projected Balance” underneath the pending transaction amount.

Not sure why Vanguard couldn’t do similar.
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by celia »

fingoals wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:58 pm ... As for the "conservativeness" of the Vanguard platform's UX, I think that it is partially or significantly because they want people who have not been exposed to modern / fancy IT platforms (a large percentage of their users, I assume, and arguably with highest net worth, compared to the rest) feel comfortable and confident in using it.
That sounds like me. I started with Vanguard before personal computers were invented. They have everything I need on their website and more. I don’t want extra things on the screen that makes it hard to find my own accounts.

OP, when you first posted in this thread, it was late at night, I see. I would think you’d realize they do tons of processing in the middle of the night. They have to do all the transactions that we submitted before market closing (and some manual transactions like the RMD I requested today that moves shares in-kind between different platforms). They need to update the value of shares in 100+ funds. They need to generate statements for us and data files for the IRS (during tax season). They have transactions coming in and going out involving other financial institutions. And they have more customers than any other fund company so I would expect their processing to take longer than that of other companies. Heck, I (and my relatives) have 20 or so accounts with them that I monitor.

So, at night they could lock the website for nightly updates or they could keep it open and users should assume that not all the processing is complete. Which would you prefer? If you want it locked until everything is completed, why not NOT log in at night. Meanwhile, those who want to see incomplete data will be able to see it. (Being a night owl, I’ve probably logged in after midnight 30-50 times and only saw flakey data once or twice.)
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Re: Vanguard platform is a mess ... UX-wise [User eXperience]

Post by zuma »

celia wrote: Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:30 am
fingoals wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:58 pm ... As for the "conservativeness" of the Vanguard platform's UX, I think that it is partially or significantly because they want people who have not been exposed to modern / fancy IT platforms (a large percentage of their users, I assume, and arguably with highest net worth, compared to the rest) feel comfortable and confident in using it.
That sounds like me. I started with Vanguard before personal computers were invented. They have everything I need on their website and more. I don’t want extra things on the screen that makes it hard to find my own accounts.

OP, when you first posted in this thread, it was late at night, I see. I would think you’d realize they do tons of processing in the middle of the night. They have to do all the transactions that we submitted before market closing (and some manual transactions like the RMD I requested today that moves shares in-kind between different platforms). They need to update the value of shares in 100+ funds. They need to generate statements for us and data files for the IRS (during tax season). They have transactions coming in and going out involving other financial institutions. And they have more customers than any other fund company so I would expect their processing to take longer than that of other companies. Heck, I (and my relatives) have 20 or so accounts with them that I monitor.

So, at night they could lock the website for nightly updates or they could keep it open and users should assume that not all the processing is complete. Which would you prefer? If you want it locked until everything is completed, why not NOT log in at night. Meanwhile, those who want to see incomplete data will be able to see it. (Being a night owl, I’ve probably logged in after midnight 30-50 times and only saw flakey data once or twice.)
Of course they have a lot of data to process. The issue is how they choose to display information on the website while things are being processed. This isn’t a unique design challenge.
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