Sunday, April 28, 2013

I'll just check the tram time

Kath, an Aussie a broad (note to self, fix the erroneous gap later) may or may not know that now in Victoria, she hailed from Kensington in Melbourne, Metlink had been replaced by Public Transport Victoria. If just talking about the website, it was a painless procedure, a change in name only. But now they have changed the website too.

I read a post from Marcus where he banged on about broken links on the new website. That is a bad, but it won't affect me really.

Well, I didn't think so, until I went to the PTV website today. What a mess.

It was Anzac Day here, a public holiday with a parade along the major tram route we use to get to town. City shops were closed until 1pm and trams were diverted in other directions until 1pm. I had to go to work late afternoon so I wanted to get into town for an urgent, ok self indulgent, errand to a shop that opened at 1pm and get home quickly as I had to go to work. All I wanted to know was what time the first non diverted tram went into the city. On the old website, I would have found the information in a minute and a half.

Between 10am and 12 noon, I reckon I spent a total of forty minutes trying to work out the time from the PTV website. I gave up and went to the still named Metlink app on my phone, and found the answer in thirty seconds.

Never mind Marcus' broken links. The damn site would barely work. I even thought, perhaps not made for Firefox and tried it using IE. Nope.

I could find specific tram times with three clicks before. Many more now. Many links were timing out. No, I don't want route 16. I want route 6. When finally I got something to work about route 6, all I could see was the suburban terminus departure times. Lordy, now I am looking at route 86. Right, you default to city to suburban terminus. Easy, I just click change direction. That was really not happening at all. I spent a lot of time trying to change direction, and it never worked. I opened a  stop specific timetable using pdf. Oh no, that won't work either. Just hanging. What a bloody abortion of a website.

Media monitors for Yarra Trams and PTV, I am sure you are picking this up and passing it on. It is good to create new and fancy things, with boxes that say 'go from here to there' and overloading you with options. But I want a quick link to basic timetables, just like the paper ones I grew up with. No, not even that. All I want is to be able to find out relevant information quickly. Is that so hard?

Truly, I am absolutely astonished that web developers, who get paid a lot of money, have allowed themselves to be pressured to put something like that out for the public. If it was done inhouse, then it raises one of the best arguments I have ever heard for outsourcing. Y'know, some website developers use tester people to check their changed websites before going live. The PTV ever so clearly did not.

Is it fixed now? I don't care. I am no going near it for some time.


12 comments:

  1. Oooh, this doesn't sound good at all! No sir! Get back onto the website, find the "contact us" link and send them a strongly worded message about the uselessness of the new site. How hard it is to navigate and how you couldn't find a simple timetable.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good idea from River. Doesn't it make you mad when you see or hear "New and Improved website" It always means hours of time trying to figure it out. Programmers seem to have forgotten the term "user friendly"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While it is fine now Diane, I don't know if you ever looked at the ABC website when it was a bilious green. I still have nightmares about it.

      Delete
  3. I didn't know of the name change as the local Flemington Association (sometimes lovingly abbreviated to 'Flem Ass') were more worried about the super tram stop on Mt Alexander Road.

    Websites these days have no excuse for being crap, having dead links or out of date info. Send 'em a sizzling complaint letter. Better to whinge and make a fuss than give up and not tell anyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree Kath. These things should work, and work well.

      Delete
  4. A certain bank - no need to tell you which - kept changing its online banking page. Nothing like 20 minutes exploring menus to tick you off. Just work it out and they change it again.

    Another bank - the one I prefer - changed its online banking portal and the announcement that told me it had changed kept sending me round in circles [a mistaken ironically known as a logic loop].

    The Hun gave me a free 6 month trial of online paper, I logged in once, sent two enquiries about how to use the wretched thing and got no response. When the paper paper stops coming I'll miss Andrew Bolt because a good laugh now and then is a wonderful thing.

    So many examples of Myki Mouse design. No one seems to prepare any clear flow charts of the larger system before designing component parts. Worse still, as you say, when no one bothers to test the big picture. Common sense is the most uncommon of all common things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FC, at times it does seem that no-one is in overall charge of things. They spend millions on planning big physical projects, but with smaller ones, it seems like the work from a sketch and each person gets allocated a task, never mind that they don't all come together well.

      Delete
  5. Thank goodness for apps that work eh. I get the rage at websites that don't work properly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was certainly feeling rage Fen.

      Delete
  6. It certainly seems to be a nightmare Andrew, you'd think that after all money spent on designing these websites, the end result would be fast and efficient..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really makes you wonder Grace.

      Delete