BART website Case Study

Overview

The Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) website was redesigned by 415, Inc., back in 2001. It was a vast improvement over the district's original site but needed to be updated to reflect a more modern look and feel, as well as incorporate user interface changes and feedback from users. BART contracted with Hot Studio to create a new design that incorporated these changes and chose Web Master Designs to manage the project and implement it. BART also wanted to upgrade the back-end functionality from classic ASP to ASP.NET and C#.

Project

BART wanted to do a complete top-to-bottom graphical redesign, restructuring the site to make it more useable and incorporating new features of the Omniture Publish® content management software (CMS) that BART has been using since 2004.

BART has always worked diligently to ensure that its website is a leader in accessibility for users with disabilities. The old BART site accomplished this by providing a simplified text-only version in addition to the main graphical site. As part of the redesign, BART chose to merge the two versions into one accessible site.

Web Master Designs was the lead development partner for the technical side of the implementation of the CMS and all back-end ASP.NET functionality. This involved a complete rewrite of all of the back end, server-side scripting including: porting the functionality of the BART QuickPlanner, adding new real-time data services (alerts, ETA's, etc.), and implementing AJAX.

Solution

Working in conjunction with Quinn Interactive, Web Master Designs managed the project and built out all of the back end server-side functionality as well as assisted with the CMS implementation. Web Master Designs now maintains the complete site for BART, updating the CMS templates and adding functionality, enhancing the back-end programs, and maintaining the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for the site.

Accessibility was achieved by using web standards (HTML and CSS), good front-end programming, careful testing, and revision. By considering accessibility up front, BART was able to retire its text-only website and provide a single accessible website.

The old JScript ASP functionality was replaced with ASP.NET C# implemented through the Omniture Publish® CMS. Additionally, the new CMS scripting (PHP) capabilities were utilized to automate functionality that was not previously possible directly out of the CMS software. Yahoo! JavaScript libraries were utilized for JavaScript functions as well as AJAX implementation.

Results

The new BART site, released in mid-2008, is an award-winning website and a leader among all transportation sites within the United States. The usage of the site continues to grow, and new functionality is being developed and added regularly. BART recently undertook some advanced accessibility testing, and the results were extremely good. Web Master Designs continues to work with BART to improve the functionality, usability, and accessibility of the BART website.

Testimonials

"Web Master Designs was a perfect project partner on our website redesign. Robert is not only skilled in the technical aspects of building out a website, but is excellent at analyzing needs, thinking creatively about options and communicating in a clear and collaborative way."

- Melissa Jordan, BART Senior Web Producer

User comments about the new BART website:

"Thank you for creating such a clear, attractive, and usable website. I was able to navigate all around, and find and print exactly what I needed to know-including precisely how and where to find the BART stop at the airport--my 86-year-old Dad was also able to easily do this!!"

- Margaret L., BART website user

I don't think I have been this impressed by a website remake before, ever. Simple, uncluttered design, straightforward information and great writing. Great communication, Just wow.

- Mattias T., BART website user

Awards

Client

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) connects the San Francisco peninsula with Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, Walnut Creek, Dublin/Pleasanton, and other cities in the East Bay. For more than 35 years BART has provided fast, reliable transportation to downtown offices, shopping centers, tourist attractions, entertainment venues, universities, and other destinations for Bay Area residents and visitors alike. www.bart.gov