Today we’ve put the final features into our beta website.  This means it’s finished and ready to replace our existing site.  We’re going to run the two in parallel for a little while longer to give you the chance to comment on the new stuff and to check everything is working as expected. We’ll also use the time to make a few final tweaks and fix any major bugs.

Tube status update and interactive map

Tube status update



In this release we’ve added…

  • Bus route maps
  • Tube status interactive map
  • Fares and single fare finder
  • National Rail status board
  • Website search
  • Travel maps section

As always we really value your feedback so please let us know what you think and if you have any ideas for improving things further.

Usage and feedback

We’re getting around 5% of our normal website users on the beta site at the moment which is great and shows some of you have taken to the site as a main source of travel information and journey planning.

We’ve had 13m page views in 4m visits from 2m unique users since launch and received over 6,000 feedback forms.

The usage in page views, visits and uniques is shown below.

Graph showing beta usage since launch

Site traffic since beta launch

Many people love the new look, the fact it works well across mobile, tablet and desktop, and features like Journey Planner and embedded Google maps.  Some of your comments have highlighted things which have not been working so well, and enabled us to improve them.  Other comments reflect the fact that the site is a beta and there’s been elements which have not been available until now.

We still have some features which are relatively undiscovered like ‘Nearby’ and ‘Stations, stops and piers’ and we’d love your feedback on these in particular.

Launch

We’re now moving into the final stages of planning for the switch-over so watch this space for news about our plans.

Thanks to all of you who have given us so much feedback so far – please keep it coming, we really are listening to what you have to say.

Posted by Phil Young

Phil is Head of Online at Transport for London, leading the team responsible for tfl.gov.uk, Open Data, social media and intranets.

20 Comments

  1. I discovered something strange recently on the Journey Planner on the main site. I was checking some journeys for my wife and emailing them to her so she would have them on her mobile phone. When she opened the links the information they gave was not the same as I had sent. The origin and destination were the same but the timings and routings had changed, often to current time. I wanted to flag this up to someone, but the system for reporting did not give me an appropriate option. The Beta site gave me an option, but only on an anonymous basis so I could not get a reply. Will there be some way of reporting Journey Planner “wobbles”. Being such a complex animal the Journey Planner does get confused at times and I think it would be helpful if these situations could get reported.

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    1. Hi James, this is really useful feedback and we will take a look to see if it’s something we’ve seen before or a new problem to be fixed. We’re getting specific feedback like this through the feedback form on the beta site and through the blog comments. It all helps us fix problems and make the site better. In your example was it a journey planned with a future date and time which you wanted to share?

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      1. They were specific journeys between where we live and one of the schools my wife teaches in, moving on to another one later in the day and then returning home at the end of the day. I had spent time juggling with the travel and routing options to take account of known peak time congestion spots and, because she has lots of books and materials, with as few changes as possible. What she retrieved was for a different time of day and ignored the routing I had worked out.
        There was also an journey to somewhere she was going to tutor at that I sent as two bus journeys with a change at a single stop that had morphed into a bus then a train and a further bus taking longer at a different time of day.
        If you give me a direct email I can send you the details involved to see if the same error can be replicated.

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  2. There’s a lot of great work here, but I am very surprised that you consider it to be finished. Let me offer two examples of where work still seems very much needed. The first is about the presentation of data presumably pulled from back end systems, which are currently transmitting their messiness to your site. The second is a UI design flaw, which stems in part from the assumption baked deep into the design that the tube is primary and everything else is secondary.

    First example:
    Take (pretty much at random) the bus route status page for route 88 – http://beta.tfl.gov.uk/bus/status/?input=88&lineIds=88

    There are currently three disruptions to the normal route, at Clapham, Parliament Square and Great Portland Street.

    Clapham comes first, behind the completely uninformative label ‘Route related status alert’
    There are then five named entries: the first, third and fourth all relate to Great Portland Street, the second and fifth relate to Parliament Square. Then there is a third stack of boxes, all labelled ‘additional information, of which the first and second describe exactly the same Great Portland Street diversion in slightly different words – but the third announces a temporary bus stop which is on a road not on the diverted route described in the previous two boxes, and the fourth goes back to the Parliament Square diversion. That gives a total of ten boxes, each of which needs to be clicked on separately to find out what’s in them (and remember five of the ten give no indication whatsoever of what they might be about), but when you do, the sequence you get is:

    Clapham
    Great Portland Street
    Parliament Square
    Great Portland Street
    Great Portland Street
    Parliament Square
    Great Portland Street
    Great Portland Street
    Great Portland Street
    Parliament Square

    Then to finish this sorry story, the text is littered with unescaped characters – “St. Margaret’s Street”, for example.

    Second example:
    http://beta.tfl.gov.uk/tube-dlr-overground/status/ is the default page for status updates. That’s fair enough up to a point. But where to go from there? Suppose I am interested in bus statuses.

    First obvious thing to do: click on the link in the chevron marked ‘Status updates’, which visually looks like part of a breadcrumb trail, so my expectation is that by clicking I will go up one level, presumably to a page where I can choose which mode of transport I am interested in. But no, all that does is reload the tube/dlr page.

    Second, almost as obvious thing to do: click on ‘status updates’ in the main menu bar. That looks more promising, as hovering over it I can see that it is going to take me to a page called http://beta.tfl.gov.uk/status-updates/ But alas that hope is shattered too, because it simply redirects back to the page I am already on.

    Third, completely and utterly not at all obvious thing to do: click on text saying ‘Tube, DLR, Overground’, which reveals a drop down finally allowing me to choose something else. So the only way I can get away from a page about the tube. DLR and overground is to click link text saying ‘Tube, DLR, Overground’

    I am sorry to sound critical – I like this new design in lots of ways, and if this were still an early beta, none of it would be a problem. But in trying to use it to do some simple things, it doesn’t feel close to being ready to become your production site. I hope you will continue to improve it, but my sense is that it still needs a lot more work.

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    1. Hi Stefan, thanks for your feedback it’s really helpful. We know there’s more work to do to make bus disruption information more useful and we’re on the case with that.

      The selector for the different modes of transport in service updates is something we’ll look at. I can’t recall any other feedback on that point but we’ll give it some thought.

      In terms of being ready for launch, neither of those points would mean we should hold back the many benefits for most customers in the new site. The reality is the site is living and breathing and we are constantly improving it. We will continue to take this approach in the new site.

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    1. We’ll take a look at that. Thanks for spotting it and letting us know.

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  3. Just dropped some feedback (/feature request!) through the website feedback (request for the journey planner to remember a ‘home’ location – would enable a 1 click ‘get me home!’ feature that I think a lot of users would find helpful on a night out!)

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    1. Hi James. Yes, that’s what we thought too. We’re working on that now as part of the next phase of the website development so you should see something later in the year.

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  4. This is a thing of beauty. Finally TfL will have a website that matches their usual high standards of design.

    The navigability in particular is a huge improvement.

    Now can we get the same team working on the interaction design of ticket machines?

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  5. Daniel Donoghue February 7, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Like the new design for the website.

    I noticed a bug in the “improvements and projects” filter drop-down combos: the show javascript snippets as items in their lists.

    Also, on the journey planner, is it possible to show journeys that include coaches/buses? particularly useful if you know there’s a planned strike and want to find a way to avoid the tube

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    1. Hi Daniel, thanks for your comments. We’ll take a look at the issue you have highlighted with that filter.

      Journey Planner gives the quickest journey by default but you can specifically request bus and coach journeys by changing the options.

      If you have already planned a journey there is a ‘bus only’ button at the foot of the page to re-plan by bus.

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  6. Great work on the site so far guys. As a web designer, the old site used to make me sigh every time I used it. This new one is a breath of fresh air and a big improvement. Keep up the good work!

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  7. Do you plan to merge TfL accounts, as I have separate ones for my oyster card and congestion charge accounts?

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    1. Yes, we’ll have this done by the end of 2015 – work is underway.

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  8. Hi just starting to use the new website now that you are near completion. The new site is very impressive; you have built a lot of cool capabilites that will really be helpful to all of us travellers on London Transport. I have a few questions:

    When selecting the following link for bus maps http://beta.tfl.gov.uk/maps/bus the message “Bus Maps coming soon” still appears. Is this going to be available for the live launch?

    Also, a link to the Bus Spider Maps would be helpful; they sometimes are quite helpful to visualise the direction of the various bus routes in an area. Is this going to be added?

    One feature I’ve always thought would be helpful would be for the Journey Planner to automatically avoid services that have delays, so if there were severe delays on one Underground line, for example, the Journey Planner results would automatically eliminate that line from the result set; or at least provide the option to do so. This would be good in planning an alternate route.

    Looking forward to the live launch!

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  9. Hi, first of all I like the new design, it feels fresher, more up to date and less cluttered however I’m a little concerned when you say “it’s finished”?

    The reason I say this is I’ve just tried to access the standard tube map and been presented with something which really isn’t usable at all – http://www.tfl.gov.uk/maps/track/tube

    The tube map loads in a window with all of the lines and stations displayed however the space to display the map is so small the station names overlay one another, rendering them illegible. I tried zooming in to focus on one area of the map however even with this at maximum zoom the station names still overlay each other and are therefore unreadable.

    It’s possible this is unique to my experience, I’m using Win Xp and accessing the site via Google Chrome Version 33.0.1750.154 m on a 22″ monitor with a resolution of 1920px X 1080px.

    Hopefully this will be a quick and simple fix. I’m a little surprised the developer who originally put this in place didn’t spot this, although it could be down to the development environment being a perfect one, i.e. not an accurate representation of the actual user experience.

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  10. Cannot find details of planned closures on new web site. Is this still available ?

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    1. Hi Jeff, if it’s the Tube you are looking for, the planned works calendar is now at https://www.tfl.gov.uk/forms/12392.aspx and the weekend version of the service board is at https://www.tfl.gov.uk/tube-dlr-overground/status/?when=weekend.

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  11. I suspect my comment is not immediately topical,but please bear with me.
    I have problems with .
    Internet Explorer 8 and 9 are unable to render it, but it is possible to get information
    from it via the object model. Firefox 28.0 can render it, but a refresh each minute causes station information to be replaced by line information. F5 puts me back into the stations tab, but not where I was. I believe the Customer Service Centre is using 17.0, which does not share my problem. I like the existence of a spelling checker in the page I am typing, but it seems perverse to accept center, but reject centre. America is a foreign country.

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