Is the TfL website really mobile friendly?

Once upon a time, back in 2012, the TfL website was visited by around 16 million users on a monthly basis and our customer satisfaction surveys would generally always show that our users were happy with the site.

It was also in 2012 that we decided to redesign our website. Many of my own friends would ask why we were doing that, since the website was really good the way it was. Yes, the website was doing its job, but it was time for us to change. But the question remains: Why?

As Phil Young, Head of TfL Online, stated in this post from June 2013, where he announced that TfL’s new website was coming soon,“you’ve told us our site needs to be great on all devices.”

With that in mind, we launched the beta version of our shiny new mobile-friendly website back in 2013.

Around two years later in February 2015, Google announced the following:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

So, is the TfL website mobile friendly? As shown in the screen shot below, Google say it is, and you can test the TfL website and more pages at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

mobile-friendly

We were determined to make the TfL website great across all devices, and it passes Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

HTTPS Everywhere

So our new website was mobile-friendly, shiny and new – this was all good, but we were not done just yet.

As you might know, parts of TfL’s website collects users’ personal data, and we always ensure that your data is stored safely. In the past, only your personal data was protected but your journeys, search terms and pages you visited were not protected (don’t worry, that’s still quite normal on the internet).

We decided to go a step further on security, and thought the best way to protect the privacy of our website users was to add a security layer on all of our pages. This was a measure we took some time ago now.

Last week a new Google report (yes Google again, they are quite big you know) showed that 79% of the web’s top 100 non-Google sites don’t use a basic security layer.

Many websites of major brands are on Google’s naughty list, and Google say:

“We’re committed to making the web a safer place, not only for Google users, but for all users. HTTPS makes it difficult for Internet Service Providers, governments and others to watch what you’re doing online. We are open to working with all of the sites listed below to help them move to HTTPS by the end of 2016.”

At TfL, we were doing our part to make the internet a safer place, long before it was ‘mainstream’ practice to do that. We plan ahead! We’re always working on something that people might be planning to do in two years or more.

 

Posted by Rodrigo Lopes

Lead Technical Architect at Transport for London

2 Comments

  1. Great stuff and good to see. Ironic though that blog you’re posting on isn’t using HTTPS.

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    1. Very good point :). We have hundreds of websites and services. Some very small, others really big and we are implementing HTTPS everywhere. The blog wasn’t priority but it will happen. (I personally did not realize it wasn’t yet). Thanks

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