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What’s that plinky plonky banjo sound? Yep it’s a new website explainer video!

TfL’s new website, which we looked at in beta back in July 2013, is now live and it’ll surely have been seen already by many of the London readers amongst you.

The TfL site has been used by two million visitors whilst in beta. That’s no mean achievement and indicative of just what a challenge the TFL website undergoes on a daily basis.

In April 2013, the TFL website had 20m visitors every month. That’s every Londoner visiting more than twice. 

The new site includes some really good features that vastly improve TfL’s ability to present information to the traveller. 

Let’s have a look at the new site.

First of all, here’s that plinky plonky video.

The challenge:

Phil Young, head of online at TfL writes the following on the TfL blog:

What people really wanted was a great Journey Planner, maps, live travel information, localised and personalised content – all on their device of choice.

We needed to be great at catering for mobiles, tablets, laptops and desktops.

The big changes:

User journey

As dictated by user behaviour, journey planner is front and centre and now uses Google Maps.

tfl home journey planner 

The Google Maps integration is great because it allows for street view, too, so not only can you find information about your nearest bus stop, but you can take a trial run to it.

tfl google maps 

Realtime 

Live travel information is shown from across the network. This includes arrivals shown for buses, too. 

Personalisation

You can save your most used stops as favourites and they will be pinned to the homepage. This level of personalisation is perfect for travel, something that for lots of us involves taking a number of familiar routes on a regular basis. Checking for arrivals and engineering works should be a lot easier.

tfl past journeys 

Location-based 

Location based departure information includes Boris Bike docking stations, too, and all shown on the map. 

Across devices 

The main change is the look and feel, optimised across devices. The site feels very spacious because of this mobile optimised design. Even on desktop, lots of features like menus are pop out, to save space on the page. 

Search 

There’s a new search functionality, should the nicely designed UX still flummox you.

My favourite bit?

I can select my walking speed.

Seeing as the Econsultancy London office is on Oxford Street, better set that to slow.

tfl walking speed

Take a look at the site and let us know what you think. 

Ben Davis

Published 26 March, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (17)

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Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

Hi Ben,
It's a nice looking site, I was curious to see how it performed speed-wise, so I ran it through web page test, using a 3G connection and constraining the screen to mobile proportions. I'm assuming that this site will often be used by those on the go, so mobile performance should be a major consideration for usability.

Here's the results:

Load Time - 11.371s
First Byte - 0.924s
Render Start - 4.152s
Speed Index - 6169

Clearly, there is some room for improvement.

Getting performance right on a responsive site is difficult, it really has to be approached mobile-first, it's certainly something that is a major consideration for me as look to the launch of our responsive site later in the year.

Stuart

about 2 years ago

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Philip

Doesn't work on my Windows 7 desktop computer when looking for buses: when clicking on Buses on home page nothing happens. Same with live bus arrivals. In the list under Tubes (which does work), only the Emirates crossing works.

Teething troubles? (The old site worked perfectly.)

If I hover over "Buses", I don't see a URL, but only "javascript:void".)

about 2 years ago

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Philip

Re my earlier comment, it DOES work with Internet Explorer 11, but not with my default browser, Firefox 28.0.

about 2 years ago

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Philip

With Firefox set to allow cookies, it does now seem to be working. The old site worked with cookies blocked.

about 2 years ago

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tsengil

it no longer can find my location.
even if i give it a bus-stop name it can no longer give live bus arrival times.
i.e. basically it doesn't work any more. before these so-called 'improvements' it worked great.

about 2 years ago

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Alan Charlesworth

A website on a .gov.uk domain that is full of adverts? This includes one ad which takes up around 25% of the opening screen on the home page.

Just plain wrong for me as it devalues the credibility of the content.

about 2 years ago

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steve judge

Why speend tax payers money on a new website when the old one worked perfectly fine iam a tax payer u should sort londons roadworks out the strand underpass what is happening with that

about 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

Great comments, all.

Alan, I was surprised by the adverts but not disappointed. Should please you, Steve? ;-)

about 2 years ago

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tsengil

You say above "The new site includes some really good features that vastly improve TfL’s ability to present information to the traveller. " As far as I'm concerned this is complete piffle. The site is still not giving me live departures from my local bus-stop. Who pays you people to do promo for this crap?

about 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@tsengil

We don't accept payment to feature content on the blog. I think it's a good site, though obviously you're experiencing problems.

Stuart has pointed out load times when 'field testing', and it seems there may be some browser optimising to do.

I'm sure there's tons of data from the period in beta, so I reckon there'll be plenty of tweaking.

about 2 years ago

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Bridie Pritchard, Senior Editor at Sticky Content

It may look sumtuous - but that is no good if it doesn't work.

I tried to do something simple like a journey from Victoria to Waterloo - it couldn't come up with a suggestion.

I tried to find the customer charter claim - as I was delayed by more than 15 minutes on Tuesday - not linked to, no real search result. When I did track it down having got on to the Oyster site linking back it wasn't stylesheeted correctly so was unusable.

Given this has been in beta for a very long time these kind of issues seem inexcusable.

about 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Bridie

Thanks for commenting. I'm not trying to draw a veil over anything, the journey planner worked well for me.

Interesting you got no results. Were you on mobile?

Re charter refunds, I went to 'fares and payments' and then 'replacements and refunds' and it was easy enough on desktop.

However I have since found that there is some tweaking to be done if customers go to 'more' in the top menu then 'help and contact' as in this section my search for charter refund returned an error.

about 2 years ago

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Bridie Pritchard, Senior Editor at Sticky Content

It was all desktop. I have used the beta and found that it worked OK - for journey planning other than the print function was useless compared with the original - and I gave this as feedback at the time. But I was in a hurry, and part of the reason I was trying to work out the journey planner was to work out how long it was going to take me with the various options available and no results appeared. Wish I had taken a screengrab.

As for the refunds - I tried to get there via search as this seemed to be the most straightforward way as the nav labelling not entirely intuitive - with very poor results - got thrown out to the old Oyster site, got thrown back into new site to a page without a stylesheet. This now seems to be fixed. (again provided feedback about what had happened yesterday so they may have addressed the problem)...

about 2 years ago

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Bridie Pritchard, Senior Editor at Sticky Content

Also, I have now just completed my claim, the following frustrations have not been fixed.

I have an annual ticket, I have an Oyster account, why can't I apply for a refund while I am logged in - so I don't have to supply information already held about me like my Oyster card number, name address etc.

Why, when most delays are minutes rather than hours do you actively have to select hours to 0 rather than just filling in the minutes section?

Why, when they asking for an approximate time do you get a drop down of 60 for the minutes? Surely the nearest 5 minutes would be good enough and not so frustrating to complete? - particularly on a mobile device....

Pretty pictures doesn't fix that kind of functionality and more care should have been taken - as customers using a charter claim are already fed up with TFL having been delayed.....

about 2 years ago

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Paul

I challenge you to find "River Timetables" or "First and Last Tube" - the site is plainly unfinished, it's a shambles. The live status map is a car crash in Firefox, a browser likely used by at least a quarter to a third of visitors. Even the press release trumpeting the new site had to be published on the old one! (follow Media-> Latest Press Releases and you'll see what I mean).

about 2 years ago

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Steven Bonner

I've been using the site since beta and found it easy to use across the 6 mobile & desktop devices I use regularly. It's clearly a huge beast of a site and for some people not to experience problems in early launch phase would be a miracle...if anyone can find a better one stop travel site for London I'll happily use it!!
But until then I think they've done a great job on this essential utility site. And no I've no connection with TFL etc I just give credit where it's due as there are more than enough public sites that seem make it near impossible for ordinary people to use them!!
Well done TFL...now just reduce my fares!

about 2 years ago

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Ronan

You could set your walking speed on the old site!

about 2 years ago

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