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Online media matters

Living Can Kill You

Fixing TTC.ca

Possible one of Canada’s worst sites with the most potential is Toronto’s public transit system’s site. Much derided by transit fans, Web geeks, and regular users it is a usability nightmare. But there’s a new chairman — Adam Giambrone — and it looks like he’s open to suggestions on how to improve the site. So four of Toronto’s city blogs — BlogTO, Reading Toronto, Torontoist, and SpacingWire — are collecting ideas.

Perhaps not surprisingly (given the topic), Joe Clark has weighed in with his own thoughts. Laying aside Joe’s “differences” with the Spacing community, he makes the many excellent points.

While it’s great to see the TTC is finally open to public consultations — and I do hope some of the suggestions are taken — fixing the site is a big project. A visual overhaul, with a few great tools thrown in, would be a huge improvement for now, but in another few years, even more fixes would be needed.

What needs to happen is complete rebuild of the site; one that follows the best practices of the medium (semantic structures, device independence, accessible, and of course standard-compliance) and allows its users to get at the data they want (maps, trip planners, and Web service API or two). And though I’ll be adding my two cents, my hopes for an evolved site aren’t high.

But, maybe, just maybe, it will let users do the one thing most visitors would expect it to: easily find out when and how to get from Point A to Point B on the Red Rocket.

The TorCamp community has decided to respond do something about transit in Toronto and have organized a TransitCamp event for February 4 at the Gladstone.