12 July 2006

Train operators who don't know where they are going

I can't quite believe it's been a whole month (nearly) since I last blogged here.

To be fair, it has been rather busy and I have been distracted by a number of things, not least moving home/office.

Anyway...

I've just been updating the list of UK train operating companies, and getting very irritated by some of their websites. I should have thought that it would more than blindingly obvious that for a rail company - like an airline - something you MUST have, clearly available through a button or link on your home page, is a schematic map of your network. A map hidden two clicks away from the home page is simply not good enough. How can a user know it's there and why should he/she have to hunt?

For any new visitor one quick glance at the visual layout of the routes and stations showing their relationship to each other can save endless minutes of confusion in the website's booking engine and timetables. It instantly answers the primary questions from a potential customer, 'Do their trains go from my departure point to my destination and what happens in between?'

This is so fundamental I am astonished at the railway companies who get something so basic, so wrong!

I'm talking about the likes of you: NI Railways, Arriva Trains Wales, Chiltern Railways, SouthEastern, Virgin

By contrast, well done: Central Trains, C2C, First Great Western, First Scotrail, GNER, Hull Trains, Merseyrail, Midland Mainline, South West Trains, Southern, Silverlink, Northern Rail.

No comments: