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The Amtrak Website Has a "New Look."


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#101 C855B

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 06:52 PM

[sigh]
 

Most of the buttons don't work for me; the site is all but useless. This is like other recently (over-)designed sites these days that don't work on my browser config. I think in my case there must be javascript functions I have blocked because they are tools "the bad guys" use to tunnel viruses, etc.

 

Change is one thing, change that breaks stuff without adding function, features or utility is another. :angry2:


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#102 west point

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 08:02 PM

One thing is that if sleepers are sold out or close to sold out premium column will show Business class 1st if it is scheduled on a train.  You then have to select the arrow to get sleeper space whether some spots available or sold out ?  That may increase BC sales a lot ? 


Edited by west point, 12 October 2017 - 08:05 PM.


#103 lo2e

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:05 AM

One new "enhancement" to the site is that the page where the monthly performance reports are posted has completely disappeared.  I don't know if it is going to come back or if the reports on it are being moved to a different part of the site.  Previously, that page was a part of the "News and Media" portion of the website, but now clicking on News and Media takes you to the all-new (or at least new to me) media.amtrak.com site with absolutely no mention of performance reports.  I hope they don't disappear completely. :ohboy:



#104 jis

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:31 AM

One new "enhancement" to the site is that the page where the monthly performance reports are posted has completely disappeared.  I don't know if it is going to come back or if the reports on it are being moved to a different part of the site.  Previously, that page was a part of the "News and Media" portion of the website, but now clicking on News and Media takes you to the all-new (or at least new to me) media.amtrak.com site with absolutely no mention of performance reports.  I hope they don't disappear completely. :ohboy:

They are under "Reports and Documents" at https://www.amtrak.c...-documents.html



#105 lo2e

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 11:07 AM

They are under "Reports and Documents" at https://www.amtrak.c...-documents.html

Oh, thank you!  That'll teach me to use Google... next time I'll just ask here!   :D



#106 jis

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 11:11 AM

 

They are under "Reports and Documents" at https://www.amtrak.c...-documents.html

Oh, thank you!  That'll teach me to use Google... next time I'll just ask here!   :D

 

Dunno. I just went to the "About Amtrak" page and looked it up, without using any fancy search engine :P Sometimes engaging ones own brain instead of depending on mindless search engines yields better results I suppose ;)



#107 RSG

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 09:24 AM

Amtrak Lite is once again in effect this morning...

 

Also, the home page advises users to also use the app in addition to calling, but much of the app basic functionality is also impaired.



#108 Hytec

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 05:27 PM

Is the system wide schedule selection still available? I'm referring to the pages that listed NEC #1, #2. and #3, or the ones for each train. I use these most times when I trying to decide on connections, especially with the NEC.

 

I'm sorry if this has already been addressed, but I read the first three pages and didn't see it.



#109 Hytec

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 05:34 PM

Is the system wide schedule selection still available? I'm referring to the pages that listed NEC #1, #2. and #3, or the ones for each train. I use these most times when I trying to decide on connections, especially with the NEC.

 

I'm sorry if this has already been addressed, but I read the first three pages and didn't see it.

Forget it, just found the link  in a "lower left corner". I would have expected that a timetable link would have been made more obvious. However, I get the sense that the "new" Amtrak wants to do everything for the traveler, rather than expecting that they might be able to think for themselves.



#110 west point

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 05:57 PM

Well if you found timetables where ? ? ?

 

can you provide a link ?


Edited by west point, 15 October 2017 - 06:15 PM.


#111 Ryan

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 06:38 PM

They're cleverly hidden under "Schedules" with a link that says "Get downloadable schedules for all routes".

Sneaky bastards.
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#112 PaulM

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 04:29 PM

I like the new look.

Much more modern and clean.

 

I don't mean to pick on you specifically because others have said the same thing.

 

Could you point me to something like "Modern and Clean Web Design for Dummies" or a text book for a course entitled "Computer Science 101: Principles of millennial website design"?

 

From what y'all are saying it seems that principle #1 is to make the action area (where the customer is working at the moment) as small as possible.

 

Principle #2 is to surrounded the action area by as many distractions as possible.

 

Principle #3 is to require as many clicks as possible for the straight forward request.

 

Principle #4 is to have drop downs and pop ups cover at least part of the action area whenever your mouse hand twitches.

 

etc.



#113 PaulM

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 04:59 PM

I'm surprised to see that you can now select an upper or lower room.  Interesting also is the fact that on this two segment trip, BC on the first segment and a roomette on the second cost only $4 more than coach all the way.

 

I clicked on "Add to Cart" to see if this was for real; but the summary box on the upper left is no longer provided (that would fowl up the clean, new look).  When I got to the point where it wanted my credit card, I gave up.

 

bug.jpg

 

 



#114 jebr

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 05:07 PM

My guess is that it's another bug where it's not properly switching to 1 Reserved Coach Seat. Once I keep going through, doing the drop down of the summary in the upper right shows that it becomes a "Reserved Coach Fare."

SRcT475.png



#115 Hytec

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 05:44 PM

I am a bit disappointed that Amtrak management, or their webmaster felt it necessary to build a completely new architecture from the ground up. The previous site was well laid out, convenient, and easy to maneuver, even for a dinosaur like myself. For instance it would have been quite easy for the webmaster to expand the Superliner sleeper selection to include Upper/Lower.  I can easily imagine that some lower level newbie at 60 Mass. Ave. NE got the bright idea to attract the Millennial generation with something new and exciting that would be flashy like their smart phones, regardless if it was good idea.  When it was pitched upwards, the always disconnected management thought it sounded good and approved it because their grandchildren were always praising their smart phones. Of course management never uses the website for travel, they buzz their secretary.

 

There was a wonderful article in one of my trade journals 40-50 years ago whose title was, "Mr. CEO, When Was The Last Time You Called Your Company's Phone Number To See What Your Potential Customer Hears?". I would love to have that article updated and force current company executives, including Amtrak's, try to maneuver their automated call routing systems and websites. I imagine there would be a number of changes made quickly, especially if their wives/husbands made those calls.  :angry:

 

OK, so I'm opinionated, but they say I'm Lovable..... :giggle:


Edited by Hytec, 16 October 2017 - 05:48 PM.


#116 Bob Dylan

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 05:48 PM

Hytec wins this thread hands down!😉
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#117 VAtrainfan

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 10:11 PM

Like it or not, this is what most websites look like in 2017. As bugs get squashed and features tweaked, I believe this redesign is a major step in Amtrak courting those under the age of 35.

 

When I read this, I was worried that Amtrak had followed the general trend of light grey text on a white background or white text on a light grey background, like all things iOS tend to insist upon these days. Just checked it out, and I'm glad my fears were unfounded. The new site actually looks rather nice.



#118 willem

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:12 AM

Hytec wins this thread hands down!😉

 

Wins, yes. Hands down, maybe not so much. PaulM had a pretty good list of principles that might have guided development of the new site, which could be considered complementary to Hytec's scenario of approval for the site.



#119 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:02 AM

 

Hytec wins this thread hands down!


Wins, yes. Hands down, maybe not so much. PaulM had a pretty good list of principles that might have guided development of the new site, which could be considered complementary to Hytec's scenario of approval for the site.

 


I agree with both take downs but I'm also curious to hear a thoughtful explanation for why Millennials would think this new site is better than the last. Other than being fat and flat enough for fingertips to tap I don't see the benefit. Additional selections like radio buttons for upper and lower floors could have easily been added to the previous site, so to me that's not much of a draw on its own. Personally, I think the new website is a genuine improvement over the old mobile site and I believe it would have made a lot more sense to roll this out as a new mobile site instead of a new primary website.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 17 October 2017 - 10:03 AM.

I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#120 PerRock

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:49 AM

 

 

Hytec wins this thread hands down!


Wins, yes. Hands down, maybe not so much. PaulM had a pretty good list of principles that might have guided development of the new site, which could be considered complementary to Hytec's scenario of approval for the site.

 


I agree with both take downs but I'm also curious to hear a thoughtful explanation for why Millennials would think this new site is better than the last. Other than being fat and flat enough for fingertips to tap I don't see the benefit. Additional selections like radio buttons for upper and lower floors could have easily been added to the previous site, so to me that's not much of a draw on its own. Personally, I think the new website is a genuine improvement over the old mobile site and I believe it would have made a lot more sense to roll this out as a new mobile site instead of a new primary website.

 

 

I don't know why it's a Millennial issue that the website got redesigned. In fact based off from what I see around Amtrak, there aren't that many millennials working for Amtrak. But as a "millennial" (although I think of myself as Gen-Y) I'll try and explain for you old fogies.

 

The new "main" website is the same website as the mobile one. It is what we call "responsive;" meaning that no matter what size your screen is, you'll have (almost) full functionality. If you take your browser window on your computer and make it narrower and narrower you'll see the website "magically" redesign it's self to fit your screen.

 

The old main site did not work on smaller screens. Depending on your browser it either tried to resize it's self down, breaking links, causing drop-downs to get confused, etc. Or It just wouldn't resize at all, meaning that you have to zoom in and swipe around to find something. Not to mention, that hover-dropdowns just don't work on touch screens. Try this as an example: Grab a microscope, flip your dictionary open to a random page, then try and find a word elsewhere in the dictionary while only looking thru the microscope.

 

Yes, the old site had a mobile version, but it regularly did not work & had very limited information. It also was a completely different website. In the new "mobile" site, you have all the information the "main" site has, but displayed for a smaller touch screen. As maintenance goes, they only have to change something on the "main" website & because the "main" website is the "mobile" website that change is reflected there.

 

As to why they couldn't have just made some stuff bigger on the old site. At that point you're going to have to redesign things regardless, making something bigger for touch means that everything below it on the page has to be tweaked. At that point your redesigning the whole site already, so it makes sense to make it responsive.

 

The new site also incorporates a print-design which the old site did not. Now when you print a webpage, it prints a page designed for a printer. That means things are sized down for paper, less color, more contrast, no interactive elements that can be lost (forms are notorious for breaking when printed), etc.

 

There may also be accessibility features that the new site incorporates that the old one did not. Accessibility is often a big driving factor for government website redesigns.

 

HTH

 

Peter


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