BBC Things To Do
We've recently launched Things To Do, an online destination to help users find activities near them offered by the BBC and our partners off the back of TV, radio and learning campaigns.
Getting audiences involved in activities run by the BBC and our partners using our TV and radio programmes is at the heart of the BBC's learning strategy to inspire a life full of learning for all our audiences.
Things To Do is in line with the emerging product vision, seeking to unlock the learning potential across all BBC programming.
The BBC already runs a number of popular broadcast related activities like the Bang Goes The Theory Roadshow, the Free Family Proms or Stargazing Live activities. It has also had success in other initiatives like Breathing Places and Hands On History which let audiences know about partners' activities that engage audiences in learning about nature or history, for example.
Connecting it together
Until now though, this sort of content has lived in lots of different places within BBC Online.
Most often it was not connected and could not be searched together by location or date, had different user experiences and frequently was provided by different technical solutions.
Things To Do now brings this content altogether in a single solution making it easy for audiences to discover, and when they do, they'll find a consistent user experience that connects them with the wealth of BBC activity in this area.
All of the activities are about learning and/or participation, and are:
• Free or run on a cost-recovery basis,
• Run by the BBC or publicly funded or not-for-profit partners,
• Tied to our TV and radio programmes or learning campaigns.
So, a user might find out about one of the nature activities off the back of an on-air call to action by Kate Humble on Springwatch.
They might then participate in an activity. Here's a nice comment on Flickr from someone who found out about a Bat Walk via Springwatch and Things To Do.
We'll be working with some of the BBC's biggest programmes and events - Bang Goes The Theory, Countryfile, Springwatch, the Proms and the Olympics, to name a few - by putting all these events in one place we're hoping to inspire a greater number of people to interact time and time again.
We're not just trying to make things easier for audiences.
Things To Do is designed to help the BBC meet an important part of its strategy - to be a "catalyst and connector in the public space" and "help other institutions to reach and enrich the public".
To make this happen we've provided a single set of tools that makes it simpler for BBC TV and radio programmes to promote their activities online or work with partners.
And we've made it easier for the great partners we work with - organisations like the Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and the Museum of London. Our new admin interface will open shortly allowing, all our partners to enter their activities in just one place.
We've also announced an exciting data-sharing partnership with the online aggregator for the cultural sector, Culture24, to allow cultural institutions across the country to share easily their public-facing learning activities related to BBC programmes and brands.
We'll also be linking to their websites, where editorially appropriate, in line with our commitment to double external referrals for the benefit of the wider web.
There are also a lot of exciting things to come, including improved mapping as well as more social and personalisation features.
The next big milestone to watch out for though is the mobile browser version of Things To Do, allowing users to find activities around them while they are out and about, the development of which is sure to keep us all really busy over the summer!
Ziad Dajani is the
Editorial Lead Product Manager for BBC Things To Do, part of the BBC Online Knowledge & Learning product.
N.B. You can read Saul Nasse's thoughts on Things To Do on the About The BBC blog.
(Ziad's job title corrected 4th Jan 2012 by Ian McD)