Sound Transit Web Site Review: They get an F-

Ian Lurie

Sound Transit is soliciting comments and ideas to improve their web site.
I’ve long seen this site as a blight upon all public transit, so I did a special edition video review. Note that I am having a crappy week, and it’s only Monday, so any harshness is totally 100% authentic:

Sound Transit Web Site Review from ian lurie on Vimeo.

For God’s sake, guys, at least put a map on your home page.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Good appraisal. Unfortunately site navigation is usually heavily influenced by office politics rather than SEO and user-friendliness.
    “But I want my project to have a link on the home page, it’s a 12 month project that’s important to the company”
    Sound familiar?

  2. @David I know. I’ll just do my best to point out the stupidity of the design-by-mob approach. Funny, but Seattle’s mass transit policy looks a lot like the Sound Transit navigation…

  3. Nice review, Ian. A bit harsh, but sometimes you have to be that way and I appreciate criticism like that.
    I had a few things to add that might be helpful:
    1) More optimized URLs/re-writes
    2) Pick a canonical form – www or non-www.
    4) Better optimized page titles throughout. I agree with what you said. They should have the keywords in the front followed by the branding.
    I could probably list a lot more, but I’m in a hurry! Anyway, great review Ian. Just shows how much you know your stuff :).

  4. Nice review Ian
    The page looks very cluttery and confusing for a visitor. I think you are spoton when you indicate web designer and marketer have to think from the point of view of the visitor and their needs when designing the website

  5. Good design instincts and insights as always. I’m learning a lot from watching these critiques and I am already thinking up new designs for my site. Thanks Ian.

  6. Nice to see the inset box with you talking. It really adds a personal touch to what you’re saying, and helps us follow your critique.
    I would have loved to see someone from ST in another box, even without audio, just taking in your comments in real time.
    It would be neat if “the other side” could somehow be present in a future critique.
    Thanks again for reviewing us at Wordcamp Seattle.

  7. So…what kind of response did you get from Sound Transit? Were they grateful? Did they say they were going to sic Guido on you?

  8. Looks like they did not incorporate any of your suggestions. But they did manage to move up on Google for “bus” keyword. Well, you tried. I guess everyone but you gave them kuddos for the site…. 😉

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