Some months back we were approached by 'social web' gurus MySociety who were looking for some help with the branding and user interface design of their latest major project.
MySociety are kind of a big deal and do some ace projects so we were pretty chuffed they got in touch and wanted to work with us – especially as this was the first time they'd ever worked with a design agency.
And what a project to work on.
Now, the fruit of everyone's labour – FixMyTransport – has officially launched; and to rather wonderful (worldwide) reaction.
At a basic level, FixMyTransport makes it easy for people to send problem reports to the companies or authorities responsible for those problems. (You can find out more about it on the FixMyTransport 'About' page – have a read.)
Sounds like a simple idea, right? Deceptively so …
With around half a million bus and tram stops, train stations and ferry ports across the country, each needing to be linked with (possibly several different) transport operators, it's been a work in progress for a good while and, with MySociety blogging about the project's progression, has been eagerly awaited.
Following a few weeks of beta testing, on the official launch day it had fantastic press coverage, including articles in Wired, The Guardian and the BBC over here and The Wall Street Journal across the pond.
We were especially pleased with this Guardian Professional article, which picks out the site's user-led interface and design as being a key factor in its success so far. Hey; we worked on that! So that was nice.
Primarily, however, the site's success is due to the ideas, clever coding, hard graft and sheer tenacity of MySociety senior developer and all-round good egg, Louise Crow. (Who is also thoroughly adept at using video conferencing and instant messaging to explain the ins-and-outs of Ruby on Rails, ERB, HAML and PostgreSQL. Quite a feat.)
According to MySociety's blog, on the day FixMyTransport was officially launched after its quiet beta, there was a 550% rise in visitor numbers and more than 70 new campaigns were created; with lots more smaller problems being sent directly to the relevant operator. Those are some impressive stats.
All told, it's been a pretty smooth and thoroughly pleasant journey; definitely no complaints. I think we can confidently hail this project a success.