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.
User Centred Design
We’ve used an approach called User Centred Design, which means that at each stage of the design process we test our designs with real people to see if they work.
Early in the project we showed people sketches to quickly explore lots of different ideas, then we created wireframes (mock-ups of the site without images or colour), and more recently we’ve been testing polished visual designs and the real working website.
Some of the testing has taken place in dedicated usability rooms where we can observe a participant using a range of devices, but our most valuable insight has come from testing the designs in the environments they are most likely to be used, i.e: out in the wild while people are trying to get somewhere. We call this guerrilla testing and will be exploring this more fully in a future blog post.
As I mentioned, the new site is referred to as ‘beta’, which means that we’ve released it to a much wider audience than we can with one-on-one user testing. While the site is in beta we’ll be listening to the feedback people leave via the feedback link at the top of the page and using analytics to see how well the current design is doing.
And, of course, now that we are in beta we’ll be continually improving what is already there, such as adding full journey maps and live departures to the Journey Planner. We’ll also be adding new features such as ‘Nearby’ and ‘Stop’ pages. These will allow you to take advantage of your device’s geolocation features to orientate you and help find your nearest routes and stations, or to bookmark stops that you frequently use for journeys around the capital.
So head over to the TfL beta site and have a play; maybe use it the next time you are making an unfamiliar journey and let us know what you think!