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What makes a great *transit* website?

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Thomas Craig

on 4 October 2016

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Transcript of What makes a great *transit* website?

What makes a great *transit* website?
Who are you?
Who is your customer?
Transit websites answer questions your riders ask.
They kinda do some other stuff too, I guess.
Board meeting minutes
Pictures of board members
Planning documents
Pictures of the new bus mall
Groundbreaking initiatives
I'm sorry, what? I'm really just here because I need to be somewhere else.

This all needs to be on the website. And it's all important. But next to the need for basic customer information, it's all nearly irrelevant.
How do I get from ___ to ___?
These are the questions of "particular discovery"
This rider has a particular trip in mind, and wants to know the best your system can offer.
Various parameters might be requested
Certain time
In the future
Right now
Distance walking
Can be answered with a mix of timetables and route maps
But not very well--Timetables are tough!
Best accomplished through a trip planner like Google
All you need is GTFS data
Where is my bus?
Particular, transactional
This rider wants info customized for them
They also already know where the bus runs
Otherwise, they wouldn't be asking this question!
Arrival estimates
Vehicle positions
Service alerts
Where can you take me?
General discovery
The person asking this question wants to get a quick overview "at-a-glance"
Service maps
Important to show the differences between different types of routes
commuter vs. infrequent vs. frequent
Draggable, zoomable is better
How much does it cost?
Is your fare structure simple?
Good: present it as such
Don't put a lot of policies on your fares page
Just state the fares

Is your fare structure complex?
How can you make it simple?
Bad: words
Best: images
OK: matrix
What's new?
Frequent riders, especially those who use your agency for most of their transportation, might want to know quickly if anything has changed.
Service Alerts?
Upcoming schedule changes
New technology offerings
Community announcements (use social media if frequent)
You provide:
They need: Mobility
Everything must be described in text, somewhere
HTML timetables, not just PDFs
alt tags on images
screen-reader compatible navigation
Handling accessibility takes care of SEO!
Language: let Google handle it.
Adaptive design
Most transit website visits come from mobile devices
Unless the site is really bad on mobile devices
Enter your origin
Enter your destination
Enter any details
Presto: here's a customized timetable and route map just for you
Arrival estimates are simple
Easily integrated into a website assuming quality data
The most direct answer to the question.
They're also unreliable
Vehicle positions
easily integrated assuming quality data
They're an indirect, and often unreliable answer to the question
Also, they only make sense on a map!
Service alerts are complex
Everything must be manually created
They're an indirect, and sometimes unreliable answer to the question
But frankly, they are by far the most important and most practical answer to the above question
Can we please talk on the phone?
Not many, but still some, would rather not or don't feel comfortable online.
We want to make the web as easy for them as possible
We also want to give them an easy out
They may also just be on a smart phone with bad data coverage!
The Navbar
Pssssst: Everything else can go way down below.
Full transcript