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.
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.
How we deliver
In this post I’m going to outline the way in which we, as a team, have delivered this project to date as well as highlight some of the processes and tools we’ve utilised and hopefully give a bit more perspective on the scale of some of the tasks this project is trying to overcome.
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?