Website usability testing: Buses

September’s usability testing was all about the Buses. We tested the users ability to find timetables, plan journeys, find departing and arrival times, fares and locations.

The majority of the users found the information without much of a problem. The results of the session and subsequent review led to the following improvements to the website.

Outcomes and improvements

Bus timetables page

1. Added a journey planner form using Traveline West Midlands.

Visitors can now plan a journey directly from our website by entering To and From fields into a form on the page. Results are provided by the Traveline website and show all the times and locations for the desired journey, inlcuding timetables and alternate journeys.

2. Bus Timetables link more prominent

The introduction of the journey planner took the emphasis away from the timetables. So this has been bumped up the page and given a big green button. Visitors now have an option to “Find a timetable” or “Plan a journey”

3. Tidied up buses links and information

Links to bus information and sub pages was split between the public transport page and the bus timetable page and has now been re-organised so users can now find all the bus information in one place. As a result, the Bus timetables page has been renamed to just Buses

4. Change the navigation image on /buses as map could be confusing

The image at the top of the page was a map, and could be confused with an embedded map. This has now been changed to an non-confusing image.

5. Remove link to bus route lists.

This linked to a large and confusing document, which is now removed.

6. Remove searches by places/by service number/hospital and rail

These searches were no longer relevant as we have the journey planner and timetable search at the top of the page. Removed to clean up the page.

Public Transport page

1. Make the public transport page simpler

The public transport page had a mix of links relating to different public transport types. This was tidied to the main headings Buses, Rail, Coaches, Cycling and Transport help to make an obvious and streamlined page.

2. Move all buses info to /buses etc.

All the buses and rail links and pages were moved to the new sub pages /buses and /rail

3. Journey planner

The journey planner has been added to this page also so visitors can plan their journey directly from our website.

Rail page

1. Change to navigation style page

The old rail page was a simple list of links. It has been changed to a navigation style page to fit in with the rest of the website.

2. Add rail links from public transport

All relevant links from the public transport page have been moved to the rail page so visitors can find all the rail information in one place.

Stratford Park and Ride page

1. Use Google map for Stratford park and ride location

The location map was very old and was not very clear. This was picked up on in the usability sessions. It has been updated to a Google embedded map which has more functionality.

2. Use Google directions search box instead of text directions on the page.

The text based directions have been replaced with an input box so you can get directions from your location. Results are returned via Google maps.

3. Make clear that page relates to Bishopton park and ride (as opposed to the South Stratford park and ride)

It was pointed out that the prices and times of the Bishopton park are different to those of the South Stratford park and ride ran by Johnson Coaches. Text was put into the page to make it clear that the information was for the Bishopton Park and Ride only.

Recommended search results

When visitors use the search box on the site, it returns a set of recommended results at the top of the page depending on the search terms entered. These were differentiated from the rest of the results by putting them in a yellow box and having red links. We found that visitors ignored these, as they looked similar to Google Adverts or a warning box.

The yellow box is now removed and the recommended results have a very light green background, the link colour is the same as the rest of the results. Further testing will take place to see if these changes help.

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