90di travel search blog

Posts Tagged ‘train search’

90di has a new UI!

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

The blog area has been silent for a while. We had been working on a lot of behind the scenes stuff – on improving the quality of the 90di search engine.

And now, we have some good news to share on the front-end too. We just upgraded the UI to, what we think, is a much better layout. It tells upfront what all travel services we provide. For example, many people do not know yet, that we do have Buses, along with Trains and Flights.

Also it should be easier to navigate for people with different needs. For example people, who want to search using a form. But please do not worry, we have retained the default as “natural” (free-text) search, as that’s what you folks, mostly use, isn’t it?

Do let us know, if you like it. Particularly, requesting you to let us know, if we inadvertently, made any things more difficult, which were easier earlier.

Here is how, the old UI (home page) use to look (for comparisons sake):

old_ui_screenshot

Below is the new UI (in the red shade — which narrowly missed, cutting it in the final release):

new_ui_red

You can try it out here.

Vertical Search on Indian Railways data (and any and every kind of data)

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

The number of web sites in the world is already around 250 million and growing very fast. Also almost every body who sells something wants to have a web front end too. In this scenario of e-commerce website explosion, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a user to find the relevant information based on her needs. Below are some questions for which we will seek the answers:

  • How does an Internet user know which site to use to pull out the information?
  • Will the user get the best price and the best fit for her needs, just by searching the few sites she knows?
  • How does the user know which sellers (sites) have what she needs?
  • Also if she wants to compare the price (or other attributes of the product) from multiple vendors (web sites) how does she do?
  • Won’t she be overwhelmed with data after just accessing a handful of seller web sites?

Read the white paper on Vertical Search to know the answers to the above questions.

We wrote this white paper a while back and sent it to some people, with the intent of introducing them to vertical search concepts and hoping to cause a change in how people think about their websites and data on the Internet.

Now trying to reach out to a wider audience, with the same intent. So please do read it and feel free to circulate it to anybody.

Key messages are:

1) Vertical Search is the future way of how people access any information on any domain, including travel.

2) Railways organizations like CRIS/IRCTC can really help catalyze the growth of innovative travel applications by making all their data public. There is already a precedence in the form of dataSF.org  (this guardian article covers the benefits that the city of San Francisco is already reaping by putting their data out in the open)

The link to the white paper, again, is here. Also you are invited to discuss it freely by putting your thoughts/comments on this blog Or in the twitter sphere or anywhere you chose.

Route Ranking for Trains

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

What is route rank?

Well, we have coined this term, to denote the quality of a travel route. There could be lots of reasons a route could be good or be bad. To name a few: the departure time, the arrival time, the train quality, the transit stoppage times, etc. and so on.

What we have trained the 90di engine to do is:  To take all these factors into account and compute a rank for the route on a scale of 0 (meaning worst) to 10 (meaning the best).

We also realize that finally humans, like you and me, are a better judge of many things. Specially when it comes to all the tacit knowledge, including the true travel quality of a travel route.

So we hope to depend on your comments i.e. what you think about a particular route (train, station, flight, or any other travel aspect) also to tune it further.

PS: Due acknowledgment (only for the name) to the  pre-existing part-namesake, that gives sleepless nights to millions of Webmasters all over the world 😉 [hope you understood what I am talking about. If not please do not hesitate to ask]

Also please do let us know if you like it or also if you hate it.

Finding out if a direct train or flight runs between two places

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

We have seen from the way people try to search on 90di, that a lot of our users wanted to simply find out whether there is any direct connectivity between two places by train/flight etc. and to what are various options available to them.

So we just improved our search engine to churn out those search results.

This feature explained by  a few examples:
1) If you want to see all modes of travel between bengalooru to Goa, just type in:

bengalooru to goa

2) If you want to find out direct flights between bangalore Hyderabad:

Bangalore to Hyderabad flights

3) For trains between delhi to mumbai say

nizamuddin to mumbai trains

And as with the route search, you can use the station/airport codes and place names interchangeably.

Would love to hear what you think.

You can now search for 3-leg routes on 90di!

Monday, July 7th, 2008

We just made an enhancement to our travel search engine!

With this change, we start to show the results for places to which you can not reach within a single change (or using just 2 trains or flights). Here are a few examples of the kind of travel questions we are able to answer now, with this feature:

1) How do I travel from Birur to Bareilly?

For example if you search for trains from Birur (a small place in Karnataka) to Bareilly (a place in U.P). Then you need about 3 trains (2 changes) to do that, as its not possible to travel by any less (Except on Friday). And we try to get and show you the best routes possible for this particular journey.

2) Another example: Kandla – Dimapur

Kandla is a place in the western part of Gujrat and Dimapur is in the far eastern Assam. There is no direct train between them. Also if you look for options with 1 change there is just 1 (via Delhi). But if you are okay for 2 changes you get whole lot of options. The 2 change options are more practical too as typically you can take a flight (or a fast train) for the 2nd leg (or the major leg) of the journey.

So just try doing a few searches on  90di  and tell us how you find this feature.

(Hint: Select any two random stations in India and do a search, most likely you will get an answer! This is not most often possible with the search showing only upto 2 legs.)

We hope that this feature of showing 3-leg flight/train routes has really enhanced our  coverage in terms of being able to give an answer in terms of travel between the remotest of locations in India.

Also the search finds out the best route possible (if you use the TRAIN + FLIGHT search) via any flight or train. The same things also works very well, for just for trains or for flights.

As always we would love to get any feedback on this feature.

Usability Improvement

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Hi All,

We sincerely acknowledge your feedback and inputs on 90DI. We have made several small changes which will simplify the usage of our website and also increase the speed of the search results.

Some of our users told us that they are finding it difficult to get a particular railway station in FROM/TO text boxes. We are grouping (mapping) the railway station/airport in/near a city. Earlier we were listing only the cities (and unmapped stations/airports) by default, but there was an option to list the railway stations/airports also. Since you found it difficult to use, we changed our approach. Now we show all the cities, stations/airports by default with clearly demarcating them. You can change this to list only the stations/airports or only the cities.

For Flight search, we are done away with the FROM/TO text boxes. Now we have the pre-populated drop-down boxes which will have all the airports listed. This will again ease the Flight search.

What we observed is, most of the users use one-way search instead of round-trip. So we made one-way search as the default search.

We have tried to increase the speed of the search by first getting all the direct routes and then getting the multi-leg routes, if required. Also, now we show only the available flights.

Please give your thoughts on these.