Collaboration is a huge part of what we do at TfL. So it was great to spend last week working with 6 young designers, talking them through our approach to experience design and working on prototype ideas for the Cycle Hire scheme. Members of our Experience Design Team led the 5-day sprint at the London Transport Museum, where the event was part of the Designology studio programme.
Enjoy an evening of circuit training for the brain at London Transport Museum’s first ever Late Debate, which takes place on the evening of Thursday 28 July. Guests will be able to join a choice of interactive debates and workshops, as well as enjoy a bar, music and the Museum’s new Designology exhibition.
It was an absolute pleasure to be hosting in the Digital Zone of the Transported by Design festival yesterday (Sunday 3 July), which saw Regent Street transformed into a vehicle-free street for the day, as cars, buses and taxis were replaced by stalls, marquees and even a Tube train carriage!
TfL’s Experience Design team is inviting 6 enthusiastic design students to take part in a 5-day design sprint in collaboration with the TfL Cycle Hire team. The goal is to offer hands-on experience of the mindset and tools of the human-centred design that the TfL Experience Design team use in their everyday work.
We’re delighted to share this post from guest blogger Paula White, who is a Software Architect with IBM. Paula lives in London and has a special interest in cities. Here, Paula shares her experience of ‘Innovation in the City,’ the first in a series of future-planning events which took place last week – you can find details of the next event towards the end of this post.
Last week I attended an Innovation in the City event with Urban Design London. I had been really looking forward to the event and my team and I arrived with the supplies for the workshop to define challenges for housing, transport, planning and streets. The event was attended mostly by local authorities, housing associations, charities and TfL employees.
We heard initially from Steve Haskey, IBM’s Design Studio lead about IBM Design Thinking. The key idea with Design Thinking is to think about people rather than things, and to consider peoples’ needs. It requires empathy. Design thinking can be used in the design of anything, and part of the approach is to put aside constraints and assumptions.
This helps in creating something that is not only functional, but also makes a significant difference to the person using it. Even more vitally it can create real step changes in innovation. Tim Brown, an authority on design thinking, gives the example of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who with his vision of the train gliding through the landscape, being part of an integrated transport system and of real service to society, was a design thinker. Watch Tim Brown’s Ted talk on design thinking here.
In London, as most people will be aware, we are growing at unprecedented rates, with a population of 10 million estimated for 2030. The workshop was to be centred around questions of how our infrastructure will cope, and are there different ways to think about how we will adapt?
Following on from last year’s double win at the User Experience UK Awards, our new website has enjoyed more success after picking up the award for best Mobile Solution or Application at the inaugural International Design for Experience Awards.
UX Magazine, sponsors of the awards, had this to say about our new mobile-friendly site scooping the prize:
“Working in collaboration with TfL’s online marketing team and build partner Detica, we are experience set out to create a responsive site that would work on any device and provide a consistent experience—bringing together big data, live updates, and location-based services for the world’s most complex public transport network.
A clearly outlined design process that would be very easy to use as aresource for teaching, a solid roll-out strategy, a good system for collecting and synthesizing customer feedback, and analytics to support their story all made an impression on the judges.”
See all the DfE award winners here.
With our brand new website just about to launch, we took a trip down memory lane and looked over the evolution of our website from 2002 through to today.
Amazingly, back in 2002 our website did not include information for the Tube! This was on a separate site and London Underground came into the main TfL website a little while later – you can see it in the 2004 image.
As you will see from these images, the site changed dramatically in 2007 and this was the last time the site received major redevelopment. Finally, our 2014 images show the new site and it’s mobile-friendly design which will be launching in the next few days.
Have a look through these images and see how many you remember!
Thinking forward – digital experience principles
As we began to move towards the beta and then a main site launch we had to start to think about a ‘toolkit.’ The principle behind this idea is allowing anyone to develop services to run on the TfL site. And we want to give people the tools to do this for themselves.
So, on the one hand this means some quite detailed content, guides and examples in the different specialist areas: user experience, design, and technical information.
Answering the brief we set ourselves
As mentioned in my last post, we were working both in a collaborative and ‘agile’ project. This basically means the designers, user experience experts, developers and the client all work together in parallel: continually iterating designs, wireframes and actual prototypes together, regularly testing with users and trying to gradually get the designs right by a process of trial and error. Weekly ‘show and tells’ with the whole team and wider presentations to key stakeholders might have seemed time consuming, but it kept the whole design process on track.
Building solid foundations
First came the brief: Design a new look and feel for tfl.gov.uk: a site used by 75% of Londoners that already has a satisfaction score of 90% and working in an ‘agile’ project with the TfL team and two other agencies.
No problem, we’ll just go and fetch our thinking caps and get started.
However, what we hadn’t quite appreciated was the fact that when you’re in the pub in London and you mention you are working on the new TfL site – absolutely EVERYBODY has an opinion.
So no pressure then…
Where on earth to begin?