Stubblog


South Yorkshire Transport website to get an overhaul
January 20, 2009, 11:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve had a bit to say about the state of travel information online, and regular readers will know what I think the solution is. So when I heard that a company in the North West had been awarded a contract to overhaul SYPTE’s online information website I was quite excited, maybe now we’d get a decent service that worked on a wider range of devices, with better maps and, dare I say it, an API we can use.

That excitement started to fade as soon as I clicked on a link to Rippleffect’s website, it’s flash. If, like me, you work in an environment where you have no rights to install software on your windows machine you’re immediatly stuck. Flash has it’s place, but it’s not front and center, it’s not the first thing your customers should see (or not, in my case)

Because I have other reasons to be here, I made the effort to find the link to the non-flash version and looked to see if there was any more info on the project. There wasn’t any specific info on the SYPTE project, but they have done work for Merseyrail. I’ve had a look at the hourney planner and I immediatly saw the URL http://www.merseyrail.org/noflash.php?mode=not_installed, but it seems to work Ok on a non-flash enabled browser (Chrome in my case, see above). However when I look at the site with a Flash enabled browser … I can’t see what it uses Flash for, certainly not the journey planner, so the user experience is needlessly downgraded before I even start.

I had high hopes when I saw that a smaller, local agency rather than a large behemoth had won the work, but now I’m not so hopeful that what we’ll end up with will be any better than what’s there at the moment, but prove me wrong Rippleffect, please prove me wrong!!

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10 Comments so far
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Why the heck has a Liverpudlian firm been given the contract to build a SY website?

There are so many talented web development companies in Sheffield and S.Yorks – supposedly we’re the kings of digital media! – and yet its being shunted off to help another local economy..

That and your argument about concerns about flash lead me to think, who the heck is in charge there?

Comment by Robin

Have you tried contacting them? A well worded e-mail at this stage might either a) put you at ease that they are thinking along the right lines, or b) show them the enlightened path :)

Comment by Dave

Fair enough use flash in it’s place, but not for an information driven website, who wants to sit through some less than mildly amusing animation when you want a bus or train time.

Flash, like every other propriatory application is a tool, it does a job but only where it’s needed.

Comment by Dean

@Dave – No I haven’t, but that’s a damn fine idea and I’ll send one this afternoon!

Don’t suppose you know anyone there do you? :-)

Comment by Stuart Grimshaw

Hmmmm…..

I was involved in putting online data together for SYPTE several years ago, but haven’t been involved in this sort of thing for a few years.

The people at SYPTE are very professional and are no doubt sure that they’re doing the right thing; perhaps we should drop ’em a line and suggest they ask their developers to read this blog?

I have a couple of contacts there – I’ll send a linkie.

Comment by Joe

Hello. I work for Rippleffect and found your comments on our website interesting. There are a couple of things that might put your mind at ease. The work we are doing for SYPTE will conform to all accessibility standards as required in 2009 and SYTPE were explicit in their brief that everyone can access the system.

Our website is now over 5 years old and in a few months a new website will be launched that is not a Flash website. We are in an extremely fortunate position to be busy working on clients projects and as such have neglected our own website. Something we are happy we are about to rectify.

I am sure that we will prove you wrong when the SYPTE project is shortly launched and I would welcome your thoughts and opinions once you have seen it.

Andrew Binns

Comment by andrew binns

Hi Andrew – that’s good to know!

I remember when the new information formats were posted on the ‘monoliths’ I was a little nervous, even though I’d been involve din developing the software that extracted the data for inclusion – it’s always nerve-wracking!

Best of luck with the SYPTE stuff!

Comment by Joe

Haha, wow – the wheels of the blogosphere in motion! Thanks for taking the time to reply Andrew, your explanation has alleviated some of my fears anyway.

Comment by Robin

Thanks for taking the time to comment Andrew, I look forward to seeing what you’ve built for us commuters in South Yorkshire! Good luck with the rest of the project, hope the rollout goes smoothly.

Any chance of a sneak preview for my readers? Feel free to contact me at stuart.grimshaw@gmail.com (There are more than the Feedburner widget would suggest) ;-)

Comment by Stuart Grimshaw

Hi

The new version will be launched today. http://www.travelsouthyorkshiretimetableupdates.com/

Hope it meets all your expectations.

abinns@rippleffect.com if you have any comments

Comment by andrew binns




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