How We Built thetram.net For A Massive Audience

 

The Problem: NET needed to upgrade their previous website to meet the demands of a network that was about to more than double in size. Tram users wanted a website built to be mobile-first, a website that they could easily plan their journeys on, buy tickets for and receive timely updates on the status of the line.







Our Thinking


Going into the project, the previous version of thetram.net was built providing mobile users a separate domain and website to access; as well as having no operational journey planning facility and very limited content management offers. These issues gave us a clear set of priorities, from which we built out a defined list of goals to hit with NET’s new website.

  1. The site had to surface the most frequently used pages on the site better; namely the timetable, tickets disruption information
  2. The site had to have a vastly improved content management system, with NET’s administrative staff able to control all aspects of the site
  3. The site would be built to be fully responsive, without any need for a separate mobile version of the site to be developed
  4. The site needed to incorporate a journey planner from which users would be able to understand the new route options available to them via NET’s expanded network.

Our Actions


As with many of our projects on the four points above, we decided to adopt a “Linear Approach” to redesigning thetram.net; providing milestones for the design, development and deployment of their website. So, what did that mean in practice?

Well, we;

  1. Designed a set of flat mockups of all of our templates at various design sizes, before discussing them with NET
  2. We coded a working version of our wireframes to demonstrate how the flat design elements of the website would re-size and present at different device sizes
  3. Coded the full templates up, before offering NET a look at a working version of their staging site
  4. Performed user acceptance testing (UAT) with all of NET’s stakeholders; including Nottingham City Council, Keolis and Tramlink Nottingham. This process ensured that they were receiving the functionality they expected
  5. Bug-tested and fixed any issues resulting from UAT.
  6. Deployed the website

Their Reaction


Prior to launch there were a few nerves in the office, as NET’s Phase Two project was a piece of work that was truly enormous in scale and scope. The previous site had over 100,000 regular monthly users, and that was for a network with nearly half the capacity of what was about to open.

To our great satisfaction, the new site launched without a hitch just prior to the new network first opening to customers. Reviews from both tram travellers and NET’s stakeholders were equally as rewarding to receive.