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Some changes to the new site - and a favour!

Thursday 16 April 2009, 17:50

Leigh Aspin Leigh Aspin

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Thanks once again for your feedback. We've had a busy couple of weeks bedding down the new site and we're making some small changes to our homepage today, informed by your comments.

One of the main pieces of feedback has been the request for a page listing all currently available programmes, especially those which are available to "listen again". To address this, we've made the following changes:

  1. We've added a link in the Find a Programme panel at the top of the homepage to a list of all programmes that are currently available on iPlayer and those scheduled in the next week. (We'll need to review the layout of this panel in due course).
  2. The genre links in this panel now take you to similar lists (all programmes from the past week and the week to come), rather than just offering the last five and next five programmes.
  3. We've added a link to all programmes currently available in iPlayer at the bottom of the Popular Programmes list.

We're planning further revisions in the weeks to come and I'll update you with changes as they're confirmed. I'll be grateful for your ongoing feedback as we develop the website.

On another note, I'm delighted that our World on the Move website has recently been nominated for two awards.

The Sony Radio Academy Awards are known as the Oscars of the UK radio industry and we've been shortlisted for the Multiplatform Radio Award.

And the Webbys claim to be the leading international awards honouring excellence on the Internet. The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences selects the award winners but nominees are also eligible to win a Webby People's Voice Award.

If you enjoyed the World on the Move website, we'd be very pleased if you'd cast your vote. To do so, you'll need to register at the Webby Awards People's Voice web site. Voting closes on 30 April.

The full list of all nominees is available here.

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Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    "There have been no comments made here yet."
    Can't resist that!

    Good changes! Now for putting the BIG PICTURE on a diet?

    Regards
    ed

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    Comment number 2.

    Steve,

    Your new link goes to only the a section of available progs.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/a-z/by/a
    Nick's suggestion would be better:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/a-z/player

    The new link to "all genres" is a bit redundant, and a waste of space.

    Still having text-overlap problems due to zooming to make the smallest fonts readable. Thee result is similar in Firefox, Opera, and Seamonkey. It isn't fatal, but irritating. A solution might be using fewer font sizes/styles (or less different ones).

    Otherwise, good progress

    Slainté
    ed

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    Comment number 3.

    I endorse the first part of Hesiodos' comment #2.

    As for 'good progress', I am as yet far from sharing that sentiment. I believe you have underlying structural problems concerning the taxonomies of 'genre' and 'format'. I do not know if you have inherited these problems from the larger world of iPlayer or have created them.

    Changing subject:

    1 How many fields does iPlayer have for the description of an individual programme?

    2 What do you call those fields?

    3 Does iPlayer have access to the equivalent fields used in the Radio Times?

    Russ

    P.S. It would be nice to have advance news, at least in outline mission, of the planned further revisions.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    Leigh,

    One of the most important aspects of change management from the listeners point of view is acknowledging when things are for the better:

    so a HUGE THANKYOU to you and the team for the link on the Home page to the totality of the BBC Radio 4 output -
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/a-z

    best regards
    nick

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    @Russ I will try to answer your questions but I'm going to have to identify a compliant techie to help me - and I can't promise they'll have straightforward answers to any of them either! Wish me luck!

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

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    Comment number 6.

    Steve,

    First of all, thanks for your responses and clarifications, and for passing on our complaints/observations to those of suitable pay-grade...

    "Listen live" is NOT working, at least for me. All other iplayer functions work fine.

    Thanks to whoever corrected the "All current Radio 4 programmes" link. I still feel the link to the "all Genres" is a waste of space (as is the page it leads to).

    Page looks OK if you can read microscopic fonts, and the problem persists when I switch tabs to this blog, as firefox (at least) seems to 'remember' my zoom preference and apply it to all sites from bbc.co.uk.... So if I want readable blog font, I have to zoom up two stops, and the homepage goes into serious text overlap.

    The techies who design the web pages need to coordinate with those who are (re-)designing the blogs, and get the font sizes more similar.

    Here's hoping for eventual proof that the BBC is indeed the greatest communications organisation on the planet.

    ;-)
    ed

  • rate this
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    Comment number 7.

    Dear Steve
    Can I ask perhaps a silly but simple question - what exactly does "listen again" now mean on the new website? It used to mean that the programme could be listened to again in any form but it now seems to apply only to programmes available on the BBC Iplayer.

    E.g. at the link below:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00b45s0

    we are told that a programme on Bookclub is no longer available:
    "Availability: Sorry, this programme is not available to listen again. Why?" If you click on that link you are told this is due to "rights restrictions"

    But, the EXACT same programme is still available to listen again in the archive:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/bookclub_archive.shtml

    So the first link is misleading, it should not tell listeners that the programme is "not available to listen again" because, thankfully, it still is. This needs to be clarified. At the very least tell people that in order to listen again they need to check the programme's archive. As it stand this page leads listeners to believe that the archive of this programme has been removed.

    A help page devoted to Radio 4 ONLY (instead of the generic one for the entire BBC network) and explaining how the new website works and providing some navigation tips for long time listeners would be most helpful.

    The new system means having to check for programmes in a number of different places and not believing what you are told as it is no longer inaccurate information.

    This is the second time I've asked this question about the conflicting information provided by two links to the exact same broadcast of a programme - please check these links and please help.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 8.

    @mzantsi I haven't checked (and I don't think I'd be able to ask anyone until Monday now) but I expect that you've encountered an inconsistency between the iPlayer's blanket 7-day restrictions and the restrictions applied to a specific programme by its producers. You should find further information about these rules on the BBC Trust's web site.

    The BBC has applied a general limit of seven days on the availability of radio programmes after transmission but there are plenty of exceptions and individual programme makers may vary that limit in certain circumstances. Many do - specifically to operate archives like Book Club's.

    It is also possible to vary the seven day limit on programmes in iPlayer itself (you'll often come across programmes that are available for longer) but this is not always done. And especially not for historic content.

    I'm going to pass your message on to someone who understands these issues better than I do. I can't promise any action but I'm sure it's a good idea to point out these inconsistencies. One thing I agree with you about: the 'generic' iPlayer help and error messages are often of no help at all when trying to listen to a radio programme.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • rate this
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    Comment number 9.

    Dear Radio 4 bloggers

    When will the Radio 4 blog site provide a thing that is called Feeds? Please point it out to me if I've missed it on the pages which are unmissable. :-|

    Apologies for this off-topic comment and thank you.

    Sophie

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    Comment number 10.

    Soffie Wiffie,

    Look at the right hand end of your address bar (the place where this page's URL address is), and you should see a "feed" icon. click on it.

    Good luck
    ed

  • rate this
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    Comment number 11.

    @soffie_wiffie Good question. @Hesiodos is right. You can use your browser's built-in feed reader. Here's the feed itself: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radio4/rss.xml - any day now we'll be getting a new design for the blog which will include a big RSS button as it should have done all along!

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • rate this
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    Comment number 12.

    Hi Steve,

    "any day now we'll be getting a new design for the blog which will include a big RSS button as it should have done all along! "
    Will that be the "new look for blogs" which received almost as much negative response as the "new look" Radio 4 website...?

    The "new look" does not recognise blockquote, but there is another way to offset quoted material.

    At least it's (slightly) more compatible with the new look homepage in the matter of font sizes...

    Plus ça change!

    ;-)

  • rate this
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    Comment number 13.

    Plus ça change!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 14.

    Several times on Radio 7's site I have been asked to complete survey's about the site - perhaps it's time now to take a structured approach to listener feedback On Radio 4 and stop hiding behind the "it's the few not the many" excuse. It's taken me a while to participate in this feedback thread, partly as there are a number of threads running and I wasn't sure where to jump in and also because it seems as if technical issues such as links not working are dealt with (which is great) but bigger issues (such as the "in your face" pictures on the home page which really are not the point for radio and do take up valuable space) being batted out of the way with comments such as "it's lovely to see what Alan Ayckbourn looks like" (bowbrick) - the picture abuse on the site seems to be quite a widespread concern, people want the text back, and should be taken seriously.

    Like other listeners I do want to be able to see the full list of the Afternoon Play with a single click to the site - and from there I want to look at The Friday Play, the Saturday play, Woman's Hour Drama etc which I used to be able to do and that way plan my listening or "listen again" plans for the week - not able to do that any more however I can look at 17 different types of drama genre which frankly I have tried and given up on but without clicking back onto the Friday Play or Saturday site I can't easily see what drama is on this week. You have obviously been indexing and tagging all the output and have decided this is what we want - it isn't! I tried the Crime Genre and pulled up an episode of The Archers which was "Helen solves the mystery...." so those keywords are not really very helpul. Please restore the links to the other programme drama sites rather than the genres.

    There's so much more one could say - but frankly I have just given up - and now just do podcasting and very little listen again.

    lOverall, this feels like a site that was put together with little research or user input, and is a triumph of style - it looks pretty good - over substance - it's just user friendly and doesn't meet user needs. It's hard to believe this was any serious user testing was done before it was dumped on us. So I suggest you get togther a mechanism for capturing input about the site in a structured way - not difficult in a Web 2.0 world - and then the endless blogging can stop and you can begin to work on addressing the more general issues.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 15.

    Glad you're listening to about 1% of feedback. Now how about tackling the rest?

    For example I have just noticed that the schedule for the full week doesn't observe any horizontal logic: a programme at 11.30 a.m. on Saturday appears at a lower visual level than a programme at 2 p.m. on Friday. This makes it horribly difficult to find things at a glance. Whilst the site generally has far too much white space, a little more on the full week's schedule page would make it much easier to read and also give a feeling on the length of the programmes.
    And the print could get smaller too.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 16.

    @Carolyn_B Thanks for some useful points. I'm particularly interested in applying what we're learning here about feedback. We need more formal ways of gathering and organising reactions to new features and designs and we need to make it easier to get an overview of issues. I'm obviously a huge advocate of blogs but I think we're learning that the structure's not optimal for site feedback and snag tracking.

    On drama navigation - and speaking personally - I've found that my browsing habits have adjusted to the new structures and that the tagging of content is turning up programmes I would have missed in the past. As listeners, I think we're trading a bit of predictability in the rigid organisation of categories for the extra serendipity produced by tagging and genres. I find this page particularly productive, for instance, and I've actually been listening to more drama since the redesign. I know these things are very subjective, though!

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • rate this
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    Comment number 17.

    @ooergosh I agree with you about the week-at-a-glance schedule. I'd like to be able to read across. I'm going to pass your comment to the interactive team to see if they've considered aligning times.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

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    Comment number 18.

    Steve, thanks for the link, I'd not used it before - and it is interesting but still a bit random for me - and I do think that in general it's the structure that needs to be thought through more thoroughly. Lack of content is not an issue - it's how people clearly navigate through it that's key. Of course you can't please everyone and anything different takes longer but there are a lot of smart people out there who are struggling with this and if people still have issues at this stage then I think it's less about resistance to change and more about a poor user experience; seems like too much focus on content (and the dreaded pictures) not enough about structure. I look forward to hearing of plans for more structured feedback and reporting.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 19.

    I should perhaps add, Leigh, that I am perfectly happy with the new Radio 4 website. Ignore these latter-day Luddites, Steve. They have not got a clue. Cheers (morning coffee)!

    ;)

  • rate this
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    Comment number 20.

    @ooergosh I took your comment to the Radio 4 design team and they came straight back with this work in progress. It's obviously already occurred to them to improve the presentation of the Radio 4 7-days-on-a-page schedule and you'll see from the mock-up that times line up horizontally! How's that for service!

    Of course, I was given this mock-up on the exclusive condition that I make it clear that a) it's a very early sketch (you can see a couple of glitches in the layout), b) there's no delivery date for the new design and c) it might never happen!

    (Click the 'all sizes' link above the picture to see larger versions of the pic)

    What do you think?

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4

 

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