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?
Most people come to the TfL website to find out how to get from A-B. It’s that simple, and they don’t look at much else.
But as well as great tools, the website has to carry a lot of information. Some of it is stuff that we want to tell you, but a lot of it is stuff that you need to know – or at least need to be able to find when you need it.
Last week TfL Online hosted a workshop to update various Accessibility partners and charities on the beta website, and asked for their help to further test the site and give feedback as we run-up to the full official launch in the Autumn.
The beta version of our new site has now been live to the public since Tuesday 25th June, and since then we’ve been analysing the steady flow of feedback and statistics. Traffic to the site has steadied into regular patterns with the busiest time proving to be at the weekend, and mobile devices being the predominant way in which you are using the new site. And already a growing number of you are now clearly using the beta site as your primary source of TfL travel information.