The new high frequency, metro railway for London and the South East.
From 2018 Crossrail trains will travel from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east via new twin tunnels under central London.
In 2009 we were appointed by Crossrail as their sole supplier of website services having won a competitive OJEU tender that year.
The initial phase of work required us to support the existing corporate website, powered by a third party content management system. This phase of the project involved fixing a range of system bugs, enhancing site functionality and developing a strategy for the future of the website as Crossrail moved further into construction.
We undertook a detailed information architecture and UX planning phase to determine the best way to restructure the content. The website was built on and powered by our CMS, based on Zend Framework, which provides the client with the ability to update all parts of the site internally.
We used our CMS to allow us to develop bespoke functionality as required by Crossrail. It also supports multiple websites (utilised when we built a second site www.youngcrossrail.co.uk), asset management and a sophisticated search system. This first redevelopment project was launched in October 2010 and since then, new features have been developed to cater for the growing interest in the project and to utilise new technologies.
We also produced and integrated over twenty 360 degree panoramas. These show the tunnels, construction areas and ticket halls upclose; giving interested parties a glimpse in to how the construction of the tunnels works and just how big an operation Crossrail is.
A multimedia map was also developed to allow users to explore the new Crossrail stations by area in London, via images, videos, the 360 degree panoramas and webcams.
Since we have worked with Studio 24 we have been impressed by their level of technical and design competency and overall professionalism.William Moore, Crossrail
In response to the growing number of mobile devices visiting the site and the need to keep the information on Crossrail as accessible as possible, towards the end of 2012 we began a new project to re-design the site using responsive design. This would allow Crossrail to dictate what important content is shown and in what relevant format for any mobile device.
We worked with Crossrail to determine content priority and using a mixture of Agile and Waterfall project management techniques, the new look site was launched in February 2013.
Using responsive design has been a huge success; in the first 6 months after it re-launched, the new mobile friendly website saw a 67% increase in mobile traffic and 72% increase in tablet traffic. More importantly, mobile session duration increased by 20% and overall traffic to the site was up by 26%.
With the Crossrail project growing daily and also experiencing high spikes of traffic from media exposure, Crossrail demanded high reliability and security from their hosting infrastructure.
We implemented a scalable hybrid hosting environment consisting of dedicated and cloud servers, all hosted behind cloud load balancers to ensure high availability. We also implemented Nginx and Varnish to give the website very high performance.
In 2013 we subsequently won a new OJEU contract to provide Crossrail with web design and web development, hosting and maintenance services for another period of 3-5 years.
As part of this ongoing work one of our most recent projects was to create a brand new interactive map on their website. This allows users to find information about all 40 Crossrail stations and search for current works taking place across the route.
The map also has the functionality to select and display different layers of interest, including information about how the tunnels were built and the archaeological finds uncovered during the construction of the railway.