Happy weekend to everybody but the executives who signed off on the Transport For Ireland (TFI) app as it currently exists and/or the decision to discontinue Dublin Bus’s real-time information app and direct users to the hell of TFI Live.
The TFI app has variously been described on Twitter as “convoluted”, “atrocious” and “extremely unintuitive”, while among the issues raised by letter-writers to The Irish Times is the inability to download it to older iPhones.
The critics are right. The now senselessly defunct Dublin Bus app was not perfect, but it was at least legible. The integrated TFI Live app might have some additional “journey planner” bells and whistles across different modes of transport – including the Luas, labelled enigmatically as a “Metro & Tram” option – but they’re so user-unfriendly, any self-respecting traveller will simply consult Google instead.
Those responsible for this app seem to have entirely forgotten that users’ most common reason to consult the Dublin Bus app was simply to check when the next bus will come to the stop nearest their homes or workplaces, so they could time their own arrival to said stop.
While it is still possible to compile a list of “favourite” stops, the app design is such that the font through which the vital information is delivered is faint, small and therefore hard to read – even more so when consulting a mobile screen while in a rush or on the move. The app also has a habit of defaulting users to a map of where they live, just in case they weren’t sure.
This all serves to make the user experience needlessly frustrating, and a huge backwards step from that of the Dublin Bus app, and that’s before we even consider the accuracy of the thing.
Here, the TFI Live app has advanced an approach to language that requires some translation. Alas, when it says a bus is “(scheduled)” to arrive in just a few minutes’ time, this almost certainly means it won’t.