Radio and Music update: personalisation & mobile
The new Radio homepage, compared to the previous version (behind)
This week we have released several new elements of the Radio and Music product, which I will explain in this post.
Since my last post in December we have been busy releasing features and fixes every three weeks, listening to audience feedback sent in via our feedback form and also through formal user testing.
It’s worth re-stating - before I go into detail on the new features - that what we are doing here is leading to a new cross platform product for BBC radio and music, to be launched fully later this year. So the work we have been doing is either laying the technical foundations for that product, or experimenting with new design and feature ideas which may or may not be included in the future.
In January for the first time we offered the ability to customize the main BBC Radio homepage to the stations of your choice. This means that you can remove stations you are not interested in but keep the ones you like, and add your local station.
Personalise your stations
You have to log-in to the BBC to do this, so that you can access your personalised Radio homepage from all of your computers - at work, at home, and, with this new release, from your smartphone. This is one of the first times that the BBC has enabled sign-in on a mobile browser site, so we look forward to your feedback.
bbc.co.uk/radio on mobile
We have built on this basic personalisation with the addition of what we are calling “Favourites”. From within the station views (e.g. Radio 2) you can click the "+" button and add any audio or video item to your own Favourites list. You can then access your list by clicking “Favourites” in the top right of the navigation banner.
Again, you have to be logged in to do this, so that you can add items to your list from one location, and access them quickly from another. Currently you can add a programme episode or a clip, but not a whole programme series - but we’re working on adding that functionality.
We tested this new feature with a range of different age groups and it was universally welcomed as a great way to capture radio programmes or clips that you want to listen to at a later time.
It’s worth noting here that these Favourites are not the same as the ones you can see in the main iPlayer site, or in the Radioplayer console, but that will change so there is only one set of radio Favourites. Tell us what you think by commenting below, or filling in our feedback form.
There are two more innovations with our mobile sites that I want to highlight. Firstly, we now have mobile browser sites for all of the BBC’s stations, not just the national networks. So that means you can access all of the 40 English Local Radio stations and the six Nations stations on your smartphone.
Simply navigate to http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/ on your smartphone, and select your local station. You can then click on “Edit Stations”, log-in, and save your preferred choice of stations so that next time you visit you get straight to the stations you want.
editing your stations on your mobile
One point to note is that whilst we now have live radio streams for all stations, there’s a few more weeks wait until Local Radio and Nations stations are available for iOS devices such as iPhones. If you have a Windows or Android phone it will work fine, but Apple lovers will have to be a little more patient!
Lastly, we have introduced an easy way to find your local radio station. Simply visit the site on your smartphone, then select Local Radio, then click on “Use your location”. This will then map your current location to the nearest three local stations.
using your location on your smartphone
If you have already given us feedback or left a blog comment, then thank you. If not please do let us know what you like or dislike. We read all of the feedback we receive.
Chris Kimber is the Executive Product Manager, Radio and Music, BBC Future Media