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BBC Travel News Site Relaunch

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Peter Schofield | 13:02 UK time, Friday, 15 October 2010

This week we have relaunched the BBC's Travel News website, which features the latest information about traffic and travel news across the UK.

Our previous site design, dating back to 2004, was one of the few active sites in the BBC still using the old, narrow page templating system.

Some of the technology used behind the scenes to power our feed processing engine has been in place in one shape or form since the late 1990s, and not significantly altered since 2003! Flexibility and adaptability has not really been our watchword!

BBC Travel News website 2004

What the BBC Travel News site looked like in 2004

Despite this our service has held up well and taken us through numerous big traffic and travel events - from public transport strikes to the worst of the severe winter weather, we've been there for you.

Over the years your comments and feedback have helped us to understand how you use traffic and travel information across all of our services and this information has played a big part in the redesign of our website.

The agency WhatPeopleWant conducted some audience research for us in 2009 which helped us focus on the objectives for the project.

You told us that you wanted;

Clearer time-stamping to show what's been updated and when

Better navigation between other BBC services such as local news and weather

Integrated traffic jam cameras alongside text information

Maps to help you understand where an incident is taking place

Masterminded by our small team of designers and developers based in the Mailbox in Birmingham, we have worked hard to preserve the elements of the service you have told us you like, whilst aiming to improve some of the functionality and optimising the way we present our information.

In the final version we have made three key changes to the operation of the travel news website.

Firstly, we have updated the design to take advantage of the BBC's wider page layout, introduced maps across the site for the first time, and made some basic improvements to the presentation of our information.

Secondly, working with Box UK we have improved the data-handling processes behind the scenes, to allow us to separate the data into more useful groups, and reduce the time it takes for the data to reach you.

Thirdly, we have integrated the traffic jam cameras (where available) into the main BBC Travel News website alongside our incident data.

But the previous site was certainly not a failure and we have attempted to keep everything that you told us you liked:

Our comprehensive traffic and travel information remains at the core of the service, updated around the clock.

The text list remains, and you can select to hide/minimise the map, to put the functionality of the site back to the way it used to be if that is what you want.

We've aimed to make the redesign as subtle as possible, in order to retain the things you've told us you like about the previous site;

Our door-to-door journey planner, powered by Transport Direct, remains but has been made more prominent.

Our mobile version, optimised for smaller screens and quick access to information while out and about, is still available .

We are still keen to hear about what you think about our new design, together with any suggestions for further improvements - please get in touch and let us know .

Peter Schofield is Content Producer, English regions, BBC Journalism

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