Together with the Travel Team, I am happy to announce that a new version of the BBC Travel website is now available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/travel.
You can read about the beta version of the product in my previous blog post.
We have worked on this new version for over a year, making sure that whatever we do, we always focus on the high quality of the data and the user experience.
The difference between the old version and this new one is significant. We made the service simpler, more intuitive and easy to navigate.
Location at the heart
Travel is inseparable from defining a location, so we made sure that location is in the centre of the Travel proposition. The new location setting allows you to reuse previous searches (tracking locations you recently searched for) as well as sharing locations between other BBC products such as BBC Weather and Homepage)
We have also moved away from fixed regions, which means that the results are no longer tied to the regional areas. This allows us to make the service more local.
But what about maps?
The zoom levels we use for the map are adjusted to cover a large enough area to show the big picture but small enough to keep the focus on the location that is of interest. Travel users can now freely interact with the map (pan or zoom) and follow the incidents along their whole journey. For example for a journey from Glasgow to Penzance you can start in the north and pan the map to the south without having to search again, as you would have to in the old version, as the start and end location fall in different news regions.
The new BBC Travel has also been designed to automatically fit screen sizes in a fully responsive way, optimising the site’s layout for any device you access it from, whether that’s a desktop, mobile or tablet:
The BBC Travel website has been designed to fit most screen sizes in a responsive way
For efficiency reasons, when dealing with such large number of data the map is available on devices larger than 767 pixels (desktops and most tablets), on smaller devices we show the information in a list, making it more user-friendly for on-the-go access.
Switching modes of transport
We report on road, rail and light rail incidents, the latter being incidents that occur on underground, metro and tram systems. To alternate between the results for all available for a particular location modes of transport simply click one of the mode of transport icons that are displayed right next to the search box on devices larger than 767 pixels (in the top right hand side of the results page), or centrally at the top of the results page on smaller screen devices.
Modes of transport
Using ‘The Cloud’
A big piece of the project was to move the service onto the cloud infrastructure. We are proud to be one of the first audience facing BBC products to be built in that environment.
We have also spent a lot of time improving the traffic and travel data we use, working hard with our data providers to ensure the information we make available via the website is accurate and structured in a way to provide a good level of detail, this includes incidents as well as traffic camera data. For reporting incidents we use TPEG messages that we have extended in a way to enrich data will all necessary details. TPEG (Transport Protocol Experts Group) is a standardised format for travel news reports, allowing incidents relating to many different modes of transport to be captured in a structured way. The BBC has been a key partner in the development of TPEG, a project led by the EBU (European Broadcasting Union). Use of TPEG industry wide allows for the development of powerful systems to manage and display travel information; it means developers are able to work collaboratively and be confident they have consistent incoming data.
We hope that you like the new version of BBC Travel and find it more intuitive and easier to use. We’re keen to hear your feedback so please do share your comments with me and the team by commenting on this post, or alternatively contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karolina Iwaszko is Executive Product Manager, BBC Future Media