Archived: Putting customers at the heart of our design process

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As you know, we’ve just released an early preview (or ‘beta’ version) of the new TfL website so that we can get some early feedback on it. This is all part of an ongoing process of designing and testing that we wanted to tell you about. And over the next few weeks we’ll be posting articles here about all of the stages we’ve been through to get to this point.

User Centred Design

We’ve used an approach called User Centred Design, which means that at each stage of the design process we test our designs with real people to see if they work.

Early in the project we showed people sketches to quickly explore lots of different ideas, then we created wireframes (mock-ups of the site without images or colour), and more recently we’ve been testing polished visual designs and the real working website.

Some of the testing has taken place in dedicated usability rooms where we can observe a participant using a range of devices, but our most valuable insight has come from testing the designs in the environments they are most likely to be used, i.e: out in the wild while people are trying to get somewhere. We call this guerrilla testing and will be exploring this more fully in a future blog post.

As I mentioned, the new site is referred to as ‘beta’, which means that we’ve released it to a much wider audience than we can with one-on-one user testing. While the site is in beta we’ll be listening to the feedback people leave via the feedback link at the top of the page and using analytics to see how well the current design is doing.


And, of course, now that we are in beta we’ll be continually improving what is already there, such as adding full journey maps and live departures to the Journey Planner. We’ll also be adding new features such as ‘Nearby’ and ‘Stop’ pages. These will allow you to take advantage of your device’s geolocation features to orientate you and help find your nearest routes and stations, or to bookmark stops that you frequently use for journeys around the capital.

So head over to the TfL beta site and have a play; maybe use it the next time you are making an unfamiliar journey and let us know what you think!


  1. It is a disappointment that the new Journey Planner does not have a filter to exclude itineraries that are not possible using an Oyster card. For example, I have just input a journey from Highfield Drive (BR2) to Heathrow Terminals 123. All of the options route me onto the Heathrow Express via Paddington. The Paddington – Heathrow segment shows a National Rail symbol giving the impression that it is a National Rail service, which it is not (Heathrow Express is a separate private company with premium fares). I cannot see any note warning me that my Oyster card would not be valid on that sector, although the current site does have that note. Even if the warning note was shown there is no obvious way for me to find an ‘Oyster-only’ journey unless I have a considerable knowledge of the TfL system to add, for example, that I additionally want to go via Barons Court to ensure that I get the routing I need for the ticket that I hold.

    1. Thanks for your comment James. This is really useful feedback and rest assured we’ll be taking all of these points on board as we work towards the final iteration of the Journey Planner.

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