National Rail Mocked After Turning Website Black And White As Users Can’t Book Tickets

by : Julia Banim on : 12 Apr 2021 12:15
National Rail Mocked After Turning Website Black And White As Users Can't Book TicketsNational Rail/Twitter/PA Images

National Rail has been widely mocked after a sombre online tribute to the late Prince Philip backfired, resulting in various irate complaints from travellers.

To mark the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh, National Rail changed the colour scheme of its website to greyscale as a sign of respect.


However, although the solemn tribute may have been well intended, customers weren’t too happy about the usability issues the faint black, white and grey layout presented. Some also pointed out that ‘Philip’ had been spelled with two ‘Ls’ on the website rather than one.


Many people took to social media to request that National Rail change the website back, expressing frustration at not being able to read it properly or make bookings. This change presented particular difficulties for those with visual impairments.

One person compared National Rail’s widely criticised efforts with the altered colour scheme of the UK Government website, which was still legible:

This whole National Rail goes black thing is a good example of quick hacks being awful.

Compare the National Rail to Gov, both gone black but one far more accessible than the other. One properly designed, the other a colour website with greyscale filter.

Another tweeted:


Um, national rail, whilst this is a sweet sentiment, did you consider disability accessibility laws? Pretty sure Philip’s dying wish will not have been ‘make it hard for people to book a train ticket’.


In response to the barrage of complaints, National Rail has tweeted the following message:

The National Rail website has been temporarily greyscaled as a mark of respect following the death of HRH Duke of Edinburgh.

We are listening to feedback about how people are using the website and are making further changes today to make it more accessible to all our customers.


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We will have to wait and see what these changes will entail, but hopefully National Rail will work to ensure all customers can use the site with ease, with a focus on digital accessibility.

At the time of writing, the National Rail website has been restored to full colour, and it’s unclear whether further changes will be made throughout the day.


National Rail has advised customers not to travel to Royal Residences during this period, instead inviting them to sign a digital book of condolences.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Duke of Edinburgh, Now, Prince Philip, Website


National Rail/Twitter
  1. National Rail/Twitter