A question we’ve been asked many times when gathering feedback on our new website is when we’ll develop smartphone apps for travel tools such as Journey Planner, maps, bus and Tube arrivals and service status.
What many people don’t realise is that, while we don’t provide a smartphone app ourselves, we provide all the data that powers the 200 or so apps which are already available.
Our ‘open data’ approach means that our data is already used to power around 200 apps
TfL’s social channels have played a key role in providing feedback on the Beta website
Our social media presence has been growing at an incredible pace in recent years as more and more users access the internet on mobile devices and real time information on the move becomes ever more important to our customers. To put that growth into context, just two years ago we had 2 Twitter feeds and 1 Facebook page with around 13,000 followers, and today we have 25 Twitter feeds and 2 Facebook pages with around 1.34 million followers.
As our audience has grown, interaction with our social content has risen dramatically
TfL’s Web Analysts look at how weather events and changing technology are impacting site traffic
An analyst likes unusual numbers – especially big ones, and a couple of what we call ‘weather events’ provided us with plenty of excitement in 2013. In October, the stormy weather saw record visits to TfL’s mobile website as commuters braved the adverse conditions to make their way to work. As those on the move sought out the latest travel information, nearly 730,000 visits were made to the mobile site on Monday October 28th, compared to 156,000 the previous Monday.
Looking back a little further, we had a record-breaking month in January 2013 as snow caused disruption to much of the country’s travel network . As the snow started to fall on January 18th, the desktop site was visited over a million times between 10am and 6pm – nearly 4 times the usual Friday traffic and TfL’s websites overall received nearly 5 million more visits during the month compared to the previous January (22m vs 17.3 m).
October 28th 2013 saw nearly 730,000 visits to the TFL website
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
Today we’ve launched the third major release into our ever-improving beta site. This one has two cool new tools to help you get around London using all the services that we have to offer.
Nearby is a completely new tool which places you on a map and shows you all the Tube, bus, river, Overground, DLR, National Rail and Cycle Hire locations around you.
You can interact with these on the map and get live information for all of them (apart from National Rail, which we’ll add in due course).
I’m Gerard, and I work on the data side of the new Journey Planner, contributing to its technical specification.
Complementing the award-winning user experience work being done on the new website, we are hard at work ensuring that the dataset which powers Journey Planner is constantly being improved to meet the ever-growing demands of website users and open data subscribers.
The TfL beta website has won – twice – at The User Experience UK Awards
The User Experience UK Awards, created to recognise top class user-focused digital or service design, has awarded our new beta site its highest honour. Nominations came from a chosen batch of innovative UX offerings from organisations that aim to offer the best possible online experience to their customers.
The inaugural User Experience UK Awards is the first of its kind in the UK.
A fresh batch of features has been now been dropped into beta.tfl.gov.uk.
This is a significant development which includes service status updates on all modes of transport, new service boards for roads, river, trams and Emirates Airline along with additional content.
We now have a great interactive mapping tool for roads which works nicely on mobile, tablet and desktop and shows exactly which areas are affected, rather than just points.
Some might say it’s been a little quiet since the beta site launched back at the end of June, however we’ve been hard at work going through your feedback and building the remaining features of the site.
In the next few weeks you will see the next major release which features status and disruptions across all modes of transport.
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.