Saturday, September 23, 2006

Rapidly detereorating website

Rapid KL's website is soooooooo bad, that I don't know where or how to start.

It is so bad, ugly and kerajaan-Malaysia like that I can't believe it is 2006.

It is so bad, it looks as if they cut-and-pasted everything from a MS Word document into Dreamweaver.

It is so ugly that it has reminded me of the existence of Geocities and Tripod.

In fact, the word is, excuse me, fugly.

It is so content-less, that in this two weeks of me writing this blog, I have written more than has ever been published on Rapid KL's website.

Oh, by the way, the website:



Ok Rapid KL, listen:

Language options
You have failed to recognize that the biggest group of loyal customers don't do English very well. It would be very helpful if you published everything in Bahasa AND English, AT LEAST.

Even then, most of your pages are written in English, but we see sprinklings of Bahasa, especially at your bus route information. It is so obvious that I know it's a cut and paste job.

Outdated
Even the information on your front page is outdated (at least there is no cheesy, noisy, takes-forever-to-load and annoying Flash, ala I want my website to look like Zouk's).

You have revamped your routes and so your feeder bus information is all outdated already. Your places of interest - ha ha ha.

Difficult to understand
The fare schedule is too tiny for most. Even then, the design isn't standardized.

Integration with other modes
I know that the monorail, Komuter, ERL and other buses are not your business. But given that Rapid KL is the biggest, and is quasi-authority like in nature, shouldn't Rapid KL be the one who tries to involve and co-opt others?

Why can't you publish fares for others? Station opening times for others? The bus routes of others?

If Rapid KL refuses to step up to this challenge, who will do that? Some might suggest DBKL. But knowing DBKL, they're "jurisdiction" is just Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur. Just take a look at this ITIS thing.

Inconsistent layout and content
Just try browsing through bus routes. To do that, click Network on the navigation bar.

And a whole list of thingamajigs appears. Kelana Jaya Line, Ampang & Sri Petaling Line, Train & Bus Service, Selayang, Kepong & Gombak Bus network, Wangsa Maju ada, roti planta ada, thosai ada, nasi goreng ayam, pattaya, cina, USA pun ada. Bos mau apa?

Wtf.

Can't they list it down as Train and Bus services? And then put draw a map showing the 5 zones for buses?

And then try reading the bus network info by clicking on one of the KL City Shuttle. Selayang, Wangsa, Cheras, Damansara points. A map appears. And then what? Click on the map, and a detailed PDF would appear. Or a detailed list of bus routes.

Wtf man.

And then for those without detailed map (which is most of them), the tiny map is pretty much useless as it is almost impossible to read the detail.

The only area map which is nice enough to look at is the Area 1 i.e. KL City Shuttle Map. That was the first Area revamped by Rapid KL. I guess like all things, they lost steam when it was time to do Area 2. Sigh.

(btw, where is the Area 4 bus route details?)

Overall design
It's ugly. And sometimes it is difficult to spot links. It is quite obvious that a lot of the content was done through copy and paste means, which may not be appropriate all the time.

Even Wikipedia
Has better, more organized information than Rapid KL. Check out the Rapid KL entry.

Solutions
  1. Totally redesign the website. It feels so 1997. It is quite a depressing sight.
  2. Produce system-wide information - including those from other bus and rail operators.
  3. Include a journey planner.
  4. Put up plenty of maps. People would like to know exactly where to catch buses. Put them in GIF for easy web viewing (like Area 1) and PDF for printing (like Area 5/6).
  5. Explanation on how to use buses. Especially so with this local-trunk-city business. This information is already on the site, except that it's all encrypted in the many press releases.
  6. Service information. State the quality of services at the moment. So for the LRT lines, identify which parts are busy at the moment and also if there are delays or breakdowns. Let people plan before they leave their homes and offices. Think ITIS.
  7. Putting up more station information would be great. List down which stations have how many car park spaces at what price.
  8. For bus route information, I hope they can organize the thing to further highten our viewing experience (tee hee hee). Detailing it in road names is good, but I hope they can also include landmark information.
  9. Guides on how to use the rail systems. Masjid Jamek and KL Sentral can be quite confusing. Put this up for the sake of tourists and first timers.
  10. Show how to get connections to outside the Klang Valley. Information on Puduraya, Plaza Rakyat, Jalan Duta, Putra and the likes.
  11. Show local maps for LRT stations. For example, where can I walk around PWTC? Or where to catch connecting buses at stations - where do I catch the MidValley free shuttle at Bangsar? Or, how far am I expected to walk from Bukit Nenas to Dang Wangi?
  12. Include information from the Komuter, Monorail and ERL, and also other city buses. Please don't be selfish and territorial about it. Rapid's charter states that it is to provide an integrated public transport system in the Klang Valley. If they can't provide the services themselves, they should co-opt others.
  13. Safety information. What happens if another 24/7/06 happens? How about what do we do when we see an unattended luggage item?
  14. What are your KPIs? Your short term and long term goals? Make it explicit, and we can help you reach it. Right now, a lot of riders don't understand the relationship and power held by this network of agencies. What is DBKL's role? Rapid KL's? Prasarana's? Transport Ministry? Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board? Let us know what Rapid KL can and cannot do and then maybe we won't taruk you so much.
  15. Have a proper customer support service. Haven't tested out the 1-800 yet, but I have sent an email to suggest@rapidkl.com.my - no reply. But then, isn't it TYPICAL for MALAYSIAN firms to not reply?
Compulsory reading. Again: Transport for London and introducing the New York City Metropolitan Transport Authority. Any web service providers would like to pitch to Rapid KL?

5 Comments:

Blogger __earth said...

you're on target!

When I first got back to Malaysia, I consulted Wikipedia for information, not their website!

3:18 PM  
Blogger toniXe said...

I admire your site, congratulations on putting thoughts to good proposals !

u r like the lone Ranger
Its time u get some Tontos !

but seriously, while the public transport is less than exemplary the Signboards are in even worse shambles. Maybe u might want to integrate this into your blog as well? TQ

7:37 PM  
Anonymous ivan said...

let's hope your blog gets the attention from those sitting comfortably in their limos parading as kings.it's high time the government do something about public transportation in this country.

10:46 PM  
Blogger suanie said...

hkg's public transportation website was also v. informative and easy to navigate.

btw i plugged you on monsterblog :) hope it helps

9:40 AM  
Blogger commuter said...

thank suanie. would have checked it out earlier, but I was afraid that it might be in chinese!

remember people, it's not just the "flash", but it's the content and all the value added stuff (like journey planners, live service information)

5:20 PM  

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