BBC Podcast Directory relaunch
Today is a big day for the BBC audio podcast service, as we've relaunched the central Podcast Directory. The Directory makes it easier than ever to browse the BBC's full range of podcasts and there are a few new features to play with.
The main idea behind the site is to make it as easy as possible for listeners to find podcasts that'll be right for them - whether you're into a particular station or genre, want to search for a specific podcast, or just want content that's the perfect length for your journey into work, then the new site should work for you. I'll mention a couple of the highlights here, but I'd definitely encourage you to have a play with the site to see all the options and features that are now on offer.
If you're interested in finding out which podcasts are new, or in the limelight, then the new Recently Launched and Editor's Picks selections might be for you, and you can hover over the images to find out more about each series.
If you're pretty sure which podcast you want, but are not quite sure what it's called then you could try the clever new search box. As you type it auto-suggests podcast titles which feature those words, and will even suggest a whole category of podcasts that might be of interest.
If you fancy more of a browse then you can now drill down by radio station, genre, or a combination of both.
So you could request to see all Sports podcasts from 5 live that are about Football, or see what Radio 1 offer in the News category. Any podcasts that meet your criteria will appear below the filters, and you can then arrange them based on which is the most recently updated, or longest/shortest. Once you've found a podcast that you're interested in you can hover over it to find out more, or click through to the full page for that series.
The podcast pages themselves now offer more info and functionality than before.
The biggest new development is that you can now play any available episodes in the page, in addition to being able to download them, or follow the steps to subscribe to the series.
This page also now recommends other podcast series you might like, as well as links to relevant pages elsewhere on bbc.co.uk.
There are Help links throughout the site, and a fun new Short Introduction to Podcast video for people who want a simple overview.
On a more technical note (look away now if you're faint of heart), the directory is built on the new Forge platform. Forge supports dynamic, database-driven services rather than static page-based services and an infrastructure that includes new hardware, systems and updated technology. All this is good news for the developers; and those maintaining and updating the podcast directory. Hopefully, the end users get a better experience too!
This site has been built by a great project team in FM&T for Audio & Music, with significant input from Jim Downie in my team. They've really enjoyed building it, so I hope you'll now enjoy using it!
Let me know what you think, as we're hoping to continue to develop the site over the course of the year and would appreciate your feedback.
Sarah Prag is Executive Producer, BBC Audio & Music Interactive