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current site

Most people come to the TfL website to find out how to get from A-B. It’s that simple, and they don’t look at much else.

But as well as great tools, the website has to carry a lot of information. Some of it is stuff that we want to tell you, but a lot of it is stuff that you need to know – or at least need to be able to find when you need it.

As well as public transport, we are responsible for running London’s main road network. We administer the Congestion Charge and the Low Emission Zone, we look after Cycle Superhighways and we license taxis and minicabs. We also have to make sure that information about our projects such as the Tube improvement plan is easy to find. It’s the job of the Content Team to explain, in plain English, how all these things work.

It’s a lot of information.

Not only that, but we have a lot of different audiences. The biggest group is the travelling public, but even that can be broken down into smaller sub-groups such as people with accessibility needs, visitors to London, cyclists, drivers etc.

Beyond that we deal with the boroughs, the press, businesses, schools, the construction industry, apps developers and many other groups such as taxi drivers.

So, not just a lot of information, but a lot of different audiences too.

audience map

The first step in helping to redesign the new TfL website was to find out what we had on the current website. This was a painstaking, manual process of looking at every single page. Since the last redesign in 2007, the number of pages has grown and grown. We found a lot of the information wasn’t in places where it was useful or easy to find and some of it was over-complicated and outdated.

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We then we took on the vast task of how to organise content on the new website. Working with our suppliers we came up with a structure that divided the information according to the audience most likely to need it.

This has sometimes meant grouping things together differently on the new site.

Information aimed at the travelling public is in the new task bar at the top of the pages and everything for more niche audiences has moved to the footer.

We also had to think about how to name the areas of the site to help people find what they need.

We went through rounds of user testing to check the ways in which we were ordering the information made sense, was easy to navigate, and also that the names made sense to people.

Of course, while we continue to test each stage of the redesign with users we always value any feedback. And as the new site unrolls we want to hear from you. Why not let us know what you think via our feedback form at the top of the new site, or leave a comment below?

Posted by Bridget Middleton

Bridget Middleton is content editor for the TfL website

6 Comments

  1. James Bunting July 26, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Taking another look at the new website I see that although National Rail will feature in Journey Planner, and is part of the Oyster system, there is nowhere that I can go from the TfL website to get any update about services. I appreciate that TfL are only responsible for Overground and not the rest of National Rail within London, but to have no link or mention of it would be frustrating, especially for those who live south of the Thames.

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  2. Excellent article and great beta site, love what you’re doing there. You might want to check that last link on the page where it says “Why not let us know what you think via our feedback form at the top of the new site, or leave a comment below?” as it’s not working (it prefixes beta.tfl.gov.uk with the post’s own URL.)

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  3. Ahhh, at last someone to talk to. I’m very distressed by the disappearance of the fantastically useful bus route pages. I used to be able to type in any location or road, and get a selection of routes – and then see alternative ways with ALL the stops, in relation to a REAL map! And then the really nice function of seeing the bus stops highlighted as you rolled over the route at the side. Despite the whole section being really hard to navigate to in the old site, I used this at least once a week, as I travel all over London by bus, often to new places. I’ve also recommended this to friends who were also delighted with it. Now all you have are awkward PDFs (WHY?!!) or the ability to see where a route you already know goes. If there IS a function on the new site that shows all the bus routes in a real map, I can’t find it! PLEASE (I’m begging) give us a link to those old ones while you’re working on the new. Surely they still exist on a server somewhere.

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    1. Just tried the beta site – in a nutshell, what I (and I’m sure many others) need is not a ‘to’ and ‘from’ journey planner, but an ‘area’ planner – like those ‘spider’ maps, but entirely on a real map with real streets, not just the central bus stop bit. A lot of the time, my decision about where I’m going (for shopping, supplies) will depend on whether there’s a bus going there!

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      1. Hi there, if you’re looking for how to get somewhere by bus you can do that with Journey Planner and ask for a bus only journey (use the options or the bus-only button).

        If you would rather browse you can use the Nearby tool to see where all the bus stops are, which buses go there and when they will arrive (it does this for Tube, Overground, River and Cycle Hire too).

        While it does not yet draw the bus routes on the map it will do so in a few weeks time and we will also be putting interactive maps on the route pages.

        Hopefully we can win you over with what’s coming – let us know what you think once you’ve tried it.

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