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Last week TfL Online hosted a workshop to update various Accessibility partners and charities on the beta website, and asked for their help to further test the site and give feedback as we run-up to the full official launch in the Autumn.

We first met a number of the group last year at the start of the project, as we gathered requirements. So this was a chance to show them what we’d been busy doing, over those many months!

We ran the afternoon workshop over in North Greenwich, inviting a core group of stakeholders to test the site’s resilience against a whole raft of varying accessibility needs.

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While it’s always good to hear feedback on the new site first hand, according to the user experience experts who put together the afternoon’s session – Rob Crawford and Michael Campbell – the workshop had several purposes.

Its primary purpose was to update our stakeholders on what has been happening since the requirements gathering stage of the design process, explaining the background to the design of the new website: demonstrating that we have listened and acted on feedback from the first sessions and that we’re committed to ongoing engagement.

The session also helped us explain the key developments and new features which demonstrate the forward-thinking innovations that have gone into the new site. And by getting the stakeholders to complete a series of tasks designed to test the new site to its limits we hoped that they’d also be excited by how well it performed, and the new responsive design!

Following some background talks and presentations on the user and accessibility testing we completed, the stakeholders were let loose on the new site with a whole range of mobile devices; from smart phones to laptops and tablets: also using assistive devices such as screen readers, braille terminals and keyboard overlays.IMG_9582After 45 minutes exploring the site and testing Journey Planner the team were asked to submit any reactions, suggestions or criticisms back to the designers, allowing us to address any issues and make improvements before the next round of tests.

It’s all part of the process we have to go through: making sure that TfL honours its commitment to all customers and that when the new website fully launches it will include the features you need and want. To a large extent, that will be down to the people that took the time to take part in testing like this, to the many that have completed the feedback form on the beta site and those that comment on this blog of course!

Posted by Chris Jones

Writer and lost soul

7 Comments

  1. In terms of accessibility of your blog, could you possibly avoid jargon such as “stakeholders” !
    (5 occurrences).
    Exactly who (people?) or what (organisations?) did you have in mind ?

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    1. Yes, good point! For the context of the new website we see everyone with a vested interest in the way we approach our redesign and relaunch as our ‘stakeholders’ – our customers, organisations who represent customers, suppliers who work with us, Londoners who interact with us, our staff. In this particular case the ‘stakeholders’ were groups who represented customers with accessibility requirements that affect the way they use the new site – we’ve engaged a number of organisations so far such as IDAG, Transport for All, RSLB, Guide Dogs and Age UK among others.

      I hope this answers your question?

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      1. Thank you – it answers my question (the last line).
        But not my request (the first line),

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      2. Maybe Theo can provide another word to save writing “people and organisations with an interest” that he’s happy with.

        Yes stakeholders is a bit jargony, but it’s very engrained in agile.

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      3. Use jargon, if you like, internally; if you’re writing to inform the world, use everyday language as far as possible !

        The meaning of jargon terms can depend on the exact technical context; when they escape into the wild their meaning can change, become extremely vague, ambiguous, or even reverse.

        It’s clear from Chris’ reply that you use “stakeholders” in a wide – inclusive – sense. The details he gives of the wider group and the particular selection invited make the whole article more interesting and comprehensible. I’d think it wouldn’t be difficult to rewrite without using the s-word at all; though it might be that one mention is needed to inform those deep in agile

        I don’t think there’s a singe “another word” to substitute for stakeholder, because of the range of possible meanings, but something appropriate like people and organisations with an interest can be used at first; later some collective name could be used – for instance in the article, such as “the group”.

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  2. I tried out the journey planner. A complete waste of time. Looked like half the screen was ‘invisible’ with no free flow to ensure that everything fitted into the width of my screen. I could not see any way to select a date and time for the journey. Clicking forward in time just resulted in being told I was looking at the past once the time went passed midnight. No way to see the journey detail: bus stop, bus ID, map, etc. Also seemed odd that, for the journey I tested which should have been one bus journey over a couple of stops most of the journeys showed at least 2 buses plus a walk.

    At the very least, as the link from the main site to the beta site asks us to test it and let you know our experiences, I would expect to easily find a ‘let us know what you think’ link prominent on the page. It took quite a bit of searching to find this blog.

    Accessibility – complete fail.

    Usability – loads worse than the current site, and that is pretty bad from a usability point of view.

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    1. Thanks very much for your comments Anon. We are in the process of making improvements to the journey planner at the moment, and I have passed your comments on to the team.

      All feedback is welcome – both on this blog and on the beta site itself, where there is a feedback link located in the top right-hand corner of the homepage.

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