Updating the Radio 1 and 1Xtra homepages

Wednesday 30 May 2012, 14:03

Andy Puleston Andy Puleston Head of Digital - BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra & Music

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My team updated the Radio 1 and 1Xtra homepages at the end of last week.

This was the first major iteration since the relaunch of Radio 1 and 1Xtra in September 2011 as described in detail here.

The September launch was a hugely significant step for us. Not only were they a technical first for the BBC in many areas but they were also a game changing moment for what radio could be on the internet - allowing the interactive team at Radio 1 to create a completely synchronous online experience which can mirror what is broadcast on the analogue airwaves.

In order to get the original product live on to bbc.co.uk there were ideas for site elements and functions that had to be put aside in order to deliver most of the ambition to our online audience. The September 2011 launch was complemented by a month of gathering user feedback, most of which arrives in the opening week as our regulars get used to the change.

Audience Feedback

In addition to the feedback received via the website we ran in depth analysis with several groups of 18-24 year olds who were fans of either Radio 1, 1Xtra or similar radio stations and knew their way around the main social and entertainment websites such as You Tube, iTunes, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter and so on.

Users loved the page updating in front of them without them having to refresh it, they liked being able to scroll back through the day to see what had been played and they liked the visual impact of the image grid.

That said, there were common questions and criticisms:

  • Users had trouble identifying artists and guests in the promos in the lower half of the page and didn’t want to spend effort running their mouse over them all to find out.
  • Each group we spoke with told us they’d like a view that showed all the videos in one place and a separate one for audio items too.
  • They thought that the grey placeholder graphics we displayed when a track was playing and had no artwork for was an error on the page.
  • Furthermore, they had some suggestions around the use of the Love button - the main one being 'it would be good if I could see all the things I’ve loved in one place'.

Last week’s update addressed these concerns. The list changes look like this:

• The addition of a new Love History tab on the timeline. Logged in users now have a place where they can see all the tracks, videos and photos they’ve loved going back in time.

• Filters on the lower half. We’ve got five:

  • Highlights – the radio station priorities have three large promo across the top
  • Video – the most recent 23 video clips
  • Audio – the most recent 23 video clips
  • Most Loved view shows you the favourite items from ALL our users in the last 72 hours and is refreshed continuously.
  • Recommendations view is populated when you love stuff

• The grey packshot boxes replaced with a range of more colourful graphics

• The text labels in our promos are always on so users can see at a glance what we’ve got

• The Message The Studio function will be back after some back end updates are complete

We’re excited about the new Love History tab. Users can now click the heart icon on a song/track they like and know that it will be saved somewhere they can access anytime.

Favouriting stuff on websites isn’t new. But the combination of the Love button and now playing information is incredibly powerful when used across the volume of new music Radio 1 and 1Xtra play every week.

It provides inspiration for new online searches and onwards journeys to a wealth of music content on bbc.co.uk.

Thanks for reading. Please use the comments box below if you have any feedback for the Interactive team at Radio 1/1Xtra.

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