Reader nails it on MTA's failed new web site
This was posted as a comment on this blog, but I thought it deserved promotion as a full-fledged item unto itself.
The writer, who goes by the handle of Bill, explains the issues much better then I could. Are you reading, Ralign Wells?
"While the MTA is to be commended for bring their website into the new millennium, clearly they were more concerned with style over substance. The one positive thing they've done is remove Flash from the home page, which will make mobile users extremely happy. And that's where the happiness ends. "
To Mr Owens, NO this is not about not liking something new, it's about good web design.
"They moved the most important information (service status) from the top of the page, to the lower left corner -- a clear no-no in web design (and I know, I'm in that business). You want the important information to display as quickly as possible, the top of the page is the best place for that, so users don't have to wait for the entire page to load.
"Regarding schedules, here's how you get a MARC schedule: Go to MTA home page, open the Getting Around menu, hover over 'Services', and click MARC. But wait, still no schedules. Now you have to select a MARC line from a drop list and click the search button. The page updates, but wait, there's still no schedule. You have to click 'downloadable schedule' and get a PDF, or the 'Morning'/'Evening' links to see HTML versions. The HTML versions pop-up in a lovely AJAX window, making it impossible to set a bookmark that takes you directly to the HTML version of schedule of your choice. Setting a bookmark for schedules is EXTREMELY handy for folks who want to check schedules on a mobile device. PDF is nice, but on a mobile device, it's much faster to keep everything in HTML. I was able to deciper the HTML and figure out the URL I needed for a bookmark, but the average user won't be able to do that.
"I shudder to think how much of our money was wasted on this web site design, which as near as I can tell, wasn't actually tested or evaluated by anybody that actually uses it on a regular basis. Somebody got swept up by the Web 2.0-ness of it all, and completely forgot about convenience and usability.
"FAIL. FAIL. FAIL."