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Issues with BBC homepage customisation settings

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Jo Wickremasinghe Jo Wickremasinghe | 13:07 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010

For the past three weeks we've been experiencing technical issues which prevented us from showing any customisation or modifications that users had made to their BBC Homepage. This included settings for local weather, local news, added or removed modules, and page colour changes.

Late yesterday we rolled out major code changes that allowed us to return the BBC Homepage back to its fully customisable state. This work required us to clean out the data store that was holding previous customisation settings, so when users next visit the BBC Homepage they will see the default page once more.

However, users can now add back their favourite homepage settings. You can set your location to get your local weather and news, and we've provided links through to all the BBC local radio pages in the radio module. To add your favourite feeds to the various modules, click on the edit buttons on the top right corner of each module, select the feed you are interested in, and then hit save. To learn more about customising the BBC Homepage, see our FAQs: http://www.bbc.co.uk/home/faqs/.

We are aware however that some users are still reporting ongoing issues. We have since found a bug that is causing the homepage to flip back to the default settings for some users, when you click away and then return to the homepage. For example if you set your location, click to another part of the BBC website then return to the homepage, the location appears to reset to the default. Your settings are actually still available, and a hard refresh (CTRL+F5) should get them to return. But we have got a fix for this issue, and it should be in place by Monday.

Thank you for your patience over the past 3 weeks as we worked to return the BBC Homepage back to its fully customisable state.


  • Comment number 1.

    I don't suppose you could tell us know what the problem was?
    Its always interesting to hear about problems that can occur and how they were fixed.

  • Comment number 2.

    I have been suffering from the ongoing issue of the BBC homepage resetting itself when I return to it, however, and hopefully this will be of use to others, I have resolved this issue for myself. I entered my selected location in the local news section and then went to the bottom of the page and clicked on Customise this page. I then clicked save without making any other changes and now my local settings are there everytime I return.
    Hopefully this is the end of the frustrating saga of the BBC homepage for me.
    As a footnote I would like to voice my annoyance at the people who have labelled those people complaining about this as whingers. If you bought a new PC that almost worked would they be happy with it or would they take it back? If they bought a new TV that had to be retuned every time they switched it on would they be happy with it? I think not. As a UK, licence fee paying resident, I just wanted, like many others, a service I am funding to work correctly. I wonder how many of the comments about the whingers are from licence fee payers?

  • Comment number 3.

    homepage still not working on Safari 5 on a Mac with Snow Leopard. You can't move the content blocks round. It does work with firefox though.

  • Comment number 4.

    No reference to questions from users outside the UK. Must we assume that we have live with what we are given and be grateful? I don't want world service radio or BBC arabia. I've no problem with the adverts for the funding but surely a little tweak to allow UK listings is possible?
    Otherwise, thanks for the repair and a great site.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi ya. Just posting with regard to a bug I mentioned on the other comment page so you are aware of it:

    The local news section of the News module wont stay expanded, each time I visit the site the local news section's plus symbol (+) needs to be clicked in order to expand the headlines. All other news sections of the news module remain expanded.

    Thanks :)

  • Comment number 6.

    All the expandable sections except Local News seem to stay expanded, surely with all the work that has gone on in the last three weeks putting this right is just a small tweak, the code must only need replicating from elsewhere on the page. Why is it taking so long?

  • Comment number 7.

    "the BBC Home page is back to its fully customisable state"

    No it's not - I'm forced to have local news which I do not want. The previous version allowed me to remove Local News - can we have that option back, pleae?

  • Comment number 8.

    On my BBC Homepage I have no clock module and the radio and TV stations default to international listings. I presume this is because I live abroad?
    Is there any way that a clock module and UK listings can be made available for expats please?

  • Comment number 9.

    Why are the video clips not working? Yesterday and again today. Only a static picture and circular rotating icon.

  • Comment number 10.

    Glad to hear that your techies have fixed the problem that they created... ;)

    Any word on being able to "fully customise" our page by getting rid of the big advert banner at the top of the page please?

  • Comment number 11.

    I saw that the page had become customisable again and hoped that the location problems had been sorted.

    This is still not the case for local weather. My post code is not recognised by the weather module although it is by the news module.

    What gives?

  • Comment number 12.

    To me the home page seems to be loading much, much slower than it did with the old version, but there again it seems ages since we were able to use a fully working version. I would also like the banner removable. At one stage in the exercise it was for a short time (maybe a day) only half of one side of the page and news headlines in the left top corner on the other half. This layout was much more acceptable but why I ask do we need a large useless picture taking up page room and a banner anyway?

  • Comment number 13.

    Many thanks for re-instating the customization settings. Apologies for my cynical disbelief that this would ever get done, especially for visitors from outside the UK. Well done.

  • Comment number 14.

    Thanks alot

  • Comment number 15.

    Thanks again for restoring (and upgrading) the customisation settings - it looks better than ever. I have some difficulty in moving sections around on my apple iPad, are there any tips for this? Can you install some kind of fix on the settings page?

  • Comment number 16.

    I will mention this again as it has not been addressed - or warranted a response - so far.

    WHY are some valid postcodes not being recognised by the weather module but accepted elsewhere? WHY are some locations accepted by the NEWS module but not by the weather module?

  • Comment number 17.

    Still no answers to non UK users questions. A simple "sorry, that's it" would be better than no answer. Otherwise a good website.

  • Comment number 18.

    Thanks for fixing this. It would have been nice to have been updated in a similar way to the way the issue was being announced - via the home page. I only found out by chance when I tried things out.

  • Comment number 19.

    We've just deployed a fix for the back-button issue I mentioned in my post above. So you should now have your customisation settings back.

    But... there is still an edge case that we've found an issue with and we're working on fixing asap.

    The scenario is this:
    - you set your location only (make no other customisations to page)
    - you immediately click away on any link on the page
    - you then click the back or home button to return to the homepage
    - the page appears to reset to London

    If you refresh the page your location setting should return. This is caused by a small javascript bug we need to fix. Apologies again if this is causing you issues. As I mentioned in my original post the back-end changes we made were pretty significant, and we're only catching bugs on some of the edge cases now.

    Our next release won't be until next week so bear with us if this bug is still affecting you. And many thanks for your continued patience.

  • Comment number 20.

    I still can't set my location, using either a postcode or town name. It searches but never returns anything. Using Firefox 3.6.6

  • Comment number 21.

    Thanks for the update although still nothing re us expats. Tell us something, please.

  • Comment number 22.

    I have reported on feedback forms THREE TIMES that selections of TV and Radio stations on home page are no longer saved - they always return to the default choices of BBC1 and Radio 1. DON'T BELIEVE ANY OF JO's POSTINGS. Todays 'fix'did NOT fix this particular problem, and I'm sure many other problems are still being ignored.

  • Comment number 23.

    Please tell us if you intend to provide an option to remove the large banner. At the moment, its taking up more than a half of my screen height. What use is the ability to customise the layout if I have to scroll down to view what I wish to see.

  • Comment number 24.

    Home page resets, my cookies are enabled and it still resets. I give up. I will change my home page to another site. I have lost count of how many times I have edited the BBC home page, it is now so tedious.

  • Comment number 25.

    Regarding my post yesterday, I have just received an email from the BBC with a standard message saying that all problems will have been 'fixed' by their release of 28th June (yesterday). I'd already told them that this particular problem has NOT been fixed - and it still hasn't. THEY ARE JUST PRETENDING THAT EVERYTHING IS NOW OK AND IGNORING REPORT FAULTS. I give up!!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    Yet again reported my fault, and on a reply dated 30th June again got the reply that all outstanding problems will be fixed on 28th June! What is going on,Jo Wickremasinghe?

  • Comment number 27.

    Everything that I customise now appears to work, with ONE exception - I've selected 'Editor's Choice' as my default colour, as I find it a useful indication that the page has changed. However, for the past week it's remained the same blue colour. Is this a problem at my end, the BBC end, or is the editor to busy to change the colour?

  • Comment number 28.

    Oops it's gone bang again. Don't let it get to you when the flaming starts, keep up the good work to spite them.

  • Comment number 29.

    #28 - I would say that it has definitely gone thruppenny bits up again.
    I wish the Beeb well in getting it repaired quickly and permanently.
    Will expats like myself ever be able to get a clock module and edit the TV and Radio listings on the BBC Homepage please?
    Could the link on the page reporting the technical issues bring us to this Blog rather than the 1st June one please? Aren't we fussy?!! :-)

  • Comment number 30.

    Worked yesterday perfectly - back to non-customisation this morning -keep on trying.

  • Comment number 31.

    The customised setting on the homepage do not work again.
    Can we have an detailed update regarding this problem

  • Comment number 32.

    Just gone onto your (our) website and it's not working again. Well I'm off to www.sky.com from now on.

  • Comment number 33.

    It looks like your new homepage was not tested enough, but you also had problems on the old page, but now the customised setting seem only to work for a few days and then fail again, perhaps I should switch to the Radio Times site in the meantime....

  • Comment number 34.

    The performance of the BBC homepage is a shambles and a disgrace; to call the slow response in fixing the customisation problems, and the irritating dance of working one day gone the next amateurish is an insult to amateurs. It is sloppy and unprofessional. The clear message is that the BBC is happy to fritter away public money (the licence fee is a tax in all but name) in a way which would be intollerable to any commercial operation. Please redeploy whoever is working on this and install a competent team incentivised to fix this properly and quickly. My patience is exhausted.

  • Comment number 35.

    I have come on here for the first time, exasperated by the repeated failures of this supposed-to-be customisable home page. While I don't have anything to add to the comments above, I did want to add my support to the posters suggesting that the massive banner was also customisable. Working on a short, fat laptop screen, this takes up over half of my visible space, and I really don't want it at all.
    I note that, in the temporary 'oops, still doesn't work' home page, this banner is missing. Lovely!

  • Comment number 36.

    Back up and running! well done for resolving the problem so quickly.

  • Comment number 37.

    Still no answers for users outside the UK re access to UK listings and news. The clock module has not reappeared although I can customise the page. I can't see any video content at all, just see the loading thingy. One blessing though, we non UK users don't have the banner problems.
    Please tell if we can expect normal service soon. Thank you.

  • Comment number 38.

    Close but no cigar. The local news section still fails to keep the number of stories I set but invariably reverts to three on reload regardless of how I left it and, likewise, the TV and Radio modules revert to Radio 1 and BBC 1 default.

    It's also a pity that the thumbnails on the banner (which looks great and is no bigger than that on the Guardian despite the complaints) do not click through and that the clock is taking the time off the notoriously innacurate Windows.

    Otherwise, I love the new webpage - pity about the implementation.

  • Comment number 39.

    Can we assume this page is now closed. No answers to any of the questions/ comments at all.
    Thanks Jo, for taking the time to update us.
    Officially giving up on this blogging lark. No one ever reads it!

  • Comment number 40.

    I used to be able to delete all the parts of the home page which did not interest me - sport for example! I now cannot do this. I looked in the frequently asked questions which said to either click on X in the top right hand corner of the boxes I wanted to delete or "look for 'customise this page' and click on that I can't find either of these - am I being thick? Help someone!

  • Comment number 41.

    It seems to me that there's about as much chance of having your question answered on here as there is on "Points of View".

    As ever the BBC is very good at telling us what to do but rubbish at listening to us.

    Yes, there have been some updates, but they're very selective in the points that they address.

    It's not so much "Why haven't you fixed it yet" as "Why won't you talk to us?" Many people have asked to be able to get rid of the "Media Zone" banner at the top of the page - please tell us that you're working on it, or give us a good reason why it won't happen.

    Surely that's not too much to ask?

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm still forced to have local news when I customise the weather module.

    The previous version allowed me to remove local news as an option - please reinstate this useful feature.

  • Comment number 43.

    What was the reason for 'improving' the Home Page in the first place?
    Echoing the complaints of many above: Despite repeated attempts, the local news box won't stay expanded; weather temperatures are no longer available in Fahrenheit; Radio & TV constantly return to R1 and BBC1 (neither of which interest me), when you HAVE got the desired radio station the box no longer presents anything like a schedule for the forthcoming hours without time-wasting clicking on things ... and as for the big banner at the top, why is it not removeable? It shoves spurious and irrelevant information at you and is a waste of space.

    I really wish that the people responsible for all these unnecessary changes would realise that for most of us the games they love to play are of no interest. Admittedly, all things 'IT' suffer from the notion that computer geeks are more important than the things most people actually use the machines for. The medium is NOT the message.

  • Comment number 44.

    Jo, first off thanks for maintaining your composure during the firestorm of ill-informed and often illiterate criticism you and your department have endured on this and the previous post. The BBC website is in a class of its own and something of which the UK can be justifiably proud; I sincerely hope that no one inside the organisation would consider slowing the pace of change because of a few angry Colonel Blimp style comments.

    Would it be possible to tell us at least if this is a CouchDB issue - I think it is important that the BBC, if it encourages and supports the use of OSS like CouchDB, disclose any issues they find, so that this (extremely valuable) real-world experience can be fed back in to the product design process. The homepage FAQs states that the settings use cookies, but taking a look at them as I update the page I can see that it's actually storing a hash which is returned from the AJAX call that I presume is a document revision number within CouchDB.

    I've tried contacting various people on this subject, but to no avail, and the apparent conspiracy of silence is concerning. Please can someone post something somewhere on the actual underlying technical issue.

    Many thanks

  • Comment number 45.

    Where's the TV customisation?
    Can't seem to get rid of London.

    Can we not roll back to the old version which worked, until you get the issues fixed properly?

  • Comment number 46.

    BBC Homepage: It just doesn't work. As so many people are finding out. I thought that the BBC have technology "experts" Ha!

  • Comment number 47.

    I find I am not getting a weather map displayed. Is this a homepage customisation issue or a separate issue?


  • Comment number 48.

    I'm reluctant to criticise the BBC as I'm a big fan generally, but the continuing problem with home page settings is becoming frustrating enough to force comment. It seems to me that there are two basic, and sadly typical, BBC issues here. 1: the rollout of anything 'new' always occurs way ahead of thorough and proper prior testing. 2: the absence of regular update communications from the behind-the-scenes people to us humble bums (sorry, users) out here in the real world - last response 28th June, anyone ...? At this stage in the proceedings, the latter point is an increasingly important factor. It's clear you are losing online support and your lack of response is a major PR mistake, especially with the threatened online cuts looming. Please will some(BBC)body respond to this - and the many similar complaints - as a matter of priority? But I promise I won't hold my breath...

  • Comment number 49.

    What on earth is going on?
    No changes that I make are retained, even when I haven't left the page!
    I click on "Customise", make my changes then "Save" - and many of my changes have been ignored! The radio module constantly resets to Radio 1 and the weather to London.

    Please can we have the "old" version that worked back? It wasn't broken, so why fix it?

  • Comment number 50.

    Is this blog still active?

    Is any fixing of the BBC page still proceeding? The problem with postcodes still exists (some are not recognised)

    I would echo the comment about the Radio module: Why does it not stay on the station last viewed? Reverting to Radio 1 is far from helpful.

  • Comment number 51.

    Every now and again the homepage returns to default settings.
    All my changes are lost.
    When will it be fixed

  • Comment number 52.

    A few people have mentioned issues with the TV and Radio modules not saving your last selected tabs. As a result of the changes we made to address the customisation issues on the homepage from 1st to 24th June, we are no longer able to save the Radio and TV module preferences.

    If you are experiencing any other issues with the BBC Homepage please refer to the FAQs here: http://faq.external.bbc.co.uk/questions/bbc_online/homepage where you will find latest updates for homepage issues.

  • Comment number 53.

    re 52: shame about the radio/TV module - ah well.
    I have looked at the FAQs and they do not address my other recurrent issue with the location setting feature. Will comments here be passed on?

    I click on NEWS - go down the page to "My News & Weather Location", type in the name of my village (or my post code) and it is not recognised.

    OK - go back to homepage, in the WEATHER module click on EDIT and I can enter my village name into the "Set your location" box and the forecast displays the right name, the forecast itself looks right but may be the wrong location. (If I enter the postcode I get the London forecast.)

  • Comment number 54.

    Hi SD and others - we will be closing comments on this post now. please use the "contact us" email on the bottom right of the FAQ pages for the home page to report any further problems.


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