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.
For the 11 weeks prior to the new website’s launch, TfL talked to 90 commuters at St James’ Park Station; you could have been one of them. We recruited passers-by on one day a week, from March to May 2013. If you did happen to take part, please leave a comment below – we’d love to hear your feedback!
As you know, we’ve just released an early preview (or ‘beta’ version) of the new TfL website so that we can get some early feedback on it. This is all part of an ongoing process of designing and testing that we wanted to tell you about. And over the next few weeks we’ll be posting articles here about all of the stages we’ve been through to get to this point.
Today we’re really pleased to share our new beta website with you. Building a new TfL website is a huge challenge, it’s a big site used by 75% of Londoners. Making it better than before is not simply about giving it a shiny new design or adding pretty pictures, but getting under the skin of exactly what you as the customer need.