Hi, I'm Dan Taylor, Head of BBC iPlayer.

Nine weeks ago today we launched a new version of BBC iPlayer for computers, tablets, mobiles and connected TVs.

Today, we are taking the new iPlayer out of preview and making it the default iPlayer experience on computers. This blog post is to share some of the key feedback themes from the preview period and share how we've already begun making changes in response to this feedback.

The new BBC iPlayer homepage as viewed on a computer

Firstly, a big thank you to all of you who took the time to comment of my previous blog post or complete the online survey. BBC iPlayer only exists for you and your feedback is critical in enabling us to continue to develop and improve the experience it delivers.

To ensure the feedback we received on the new iPlayer wasn't limited to those who proactively got in touch with us directly, we also commissioned an independent research agency to gather in-depth feedback from a large sample of people who were selected to represent the broad UK population.

So, what have users told us they think of the new iPlayer?

Well, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive with the majority preferring the new iPlayer and only 5% of our nationally-representative sample disliking the new design.

The positive reaction to the new design has been across the age and gender spread. Here’s a small selection of comments from men and women of different ages:

“I prefer the new layout; it's clearer and more intuitive. Much improved!” (Female, 45-54 years)

"I think what you've done with the interface is fantastic, it's clear, looks smart and is very responsive." (Male, 25 to 34 years)

“I like the new look BBC iPlayer. Much more user friendly and is a lot easier to navigate - this should definitely replace the old iPlayer asap.” (Male, 45-54 years)

“It is much easier to find the shows that you’re looking for” (Female, 16-24 years)

“I find the site much easier to navigate and also to find programmes I want to watch. I have not found a downside yet.” (Female, 65 or over)

A word cloud of feedback on the new iPlayer from the independent user research

As outlined in my previous post, one of the key goals of the new iPlayer was to help users discover something new to watch. Happily, the feedback suggests the new iPlayer is succeeding in aiding programme discovery:

“Great layout. Everything is easy to find. The featured programme blocks on the front page have helped me discover some top programmes I would otherwise not have known about (e.g. The recent programme about the rise of coffee shops in Britain - that was excellent)”

“New layout is great, it's nice to see the featured programmes and other programmes by the channel they were broadcast on, rather than just the most popular. I'm now watching really interesting programmes I never would have thought to watch otherwise. The 'more like this' feature is also much better.”

“Clean Clear Crisp. Very easy to navigate and to find what I was looking for but also found some new interesting programs I hadn't seen before or heard of on the home page.”

That said, not all users are happy with all the changes, and we’ve received some helpful specific feedback, which we’ve been able to analyse and start addressing.

One such area is the ability to sort Categories by recency - a feature of the previous version of iPlayer on computers, which wasn't included in the new version. Feedback on this topic made it clear that some users found this feature invaluable in establishing what programmes had been added to a category since their last visit, so we quickly analysed how we might incorporate this functionality into the new design and put it live last Thursday.

New Recent sort on Category view

The next area of feedback we’re looking at in relation to Categories is filtering. The new categories have generally been very well received (“Really like the new iPlayer, well done and who ever thought to change/add the programme categories was genius”, “Great update - I am so pleased you have split out the 'Factual' category”), but we are now looking at how best to support users to filter some of the larger, more diverse categories (e.g. just show crime dramas within the Drama & Soaps category). Update to follow on this one.

Another area of feedback has been Favourites. You’ve told us that it wasn’t obvious how Favourites were sorted (“How is the favourite list sorted? I see now that its order 'Latest shown' at the top, but a 'Alphabetical list' would be useful”), or which episodes were new or expiring. We've already started responding to this feedback by introducing 'A-Z' and 'Recent' sort options so you can either see a full alphabetical list or sort so that the most recent episodes are at the top of the list. Programmes with less than a day left to watch are annotated with a 'Last Chance' label so you can see what's about to expire and we've got further improvements to Favourites planned in the coming months, including speed of loading.

New A-Z and Recent sorts on Favourites

Both of these areas illustrate the extent to which everyone has their own way of using iPlayer. For some, A-Z is the only way to go, for others it's all about Channels, for others Categories, for other Favourites. We aim to support all of these routes to content in iPlayer whilst still providing a simple interface that's not overwhelming for less tech-savvy users.

I'd invite you to continue to feedback and be as specific as possible to help us further improve the new iPlayer experience. While we can’t respond to every comment or implement every suggestion, we do read all feedback and will be regularly releasing updates. If you have feedback on our sister product, BBC iPlayer Radio, do read Daniel Bean’s blog post and feedback via the iPlayer radio feedback page.

The new iPlayer for TV will come out of preview and become the default interface on supported devices in the coming weeks, rolling out to a wider range of TV devices over the coming months.

The BBC iPlayer apps for Android and iOS devices will also be updated with the new look and feel in the coming weeks. Look out for further updates on this blog and, for the tweeters amongst you, on the BBC iPlayer Twitter feed.

Dan Taylor is Head of BBC iPlayer, BBC Future Media

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This entry is now closed for comments.

  • Comment number 117. Posted by Dan Taylor-Watt

    on 19 May 2014 16:34

    Thanks for the continuing feedback.

    A few of you (@29. sjw92, @108. Riadh and @109. U13949110) have asked for more detail re. the independent research and the 5% figure in particular. Here is some more information.

    The research was conducted by Optimisa research, an independent market research agency, with people drawn from a nationally representative sample. Nearly 1,000 people (986 to be exact) took part and the question asking users to compare the old and new iPlayer was asked of all 627 people within the sample who had previously used iPlayer, so were in a position to compare the two.

    The question was phrased thus:

    Would you say that the new BBC iPlayer on [insert devices respondent has used] is better or worse than the current BBC iPlayer site in terms of...?

    - Ease of finding what I was looking for
    - Overall look
    - Layout
    - The way it fits the screen

    Respondents were asked about each device in turn, on which they had tried both new and old iPlayer.

    The response options were: Better, Same, Worse, Don't Know.

    Averaged across all of these criteria, 5% of respondents said they felt the new BBC iPlayer was worse than the old BBC iPlayer, 58% felt it was better, 33% felt it was the same and 5% said they didn't know.

    Below is a detailed breakdown of how respondents rated each criteria.

    Ease of finding what I was looking for
    Better 52%
    Same 39%
    Worse 5%
    Don't know 4%

    Overall look
    Better 66%
    Same 25%
    Worse 5%
    Don't know 5%

    Better 62%
    Same 27%
    Worse 7%
    Don't know 4%

    The way it fits the screen
    Better 50%
    Same 41%
    Worse 4%
    Don't know 5%

    Better 58%
    Same 33%
    Worse 5%
    Don't know 5%

    And to anticipate a likely follow-up question, here is the computer-specific breakdown for respondents (546 people) comparing new iPlayer and old iPlayer on computer/laptop:

    Ease of finding what I was looking for
    Better 49%
    Same 42%
    Worse 6%
    Don't know 4%

    Overall look
    Better 65%
    Same 25%
    Worse 6%
    Don't know 4%

    Better 61%
    Same 28%
    Worse 8%
    Don't know 4%

    The way it fits the screen
    Better 48%
    Same 42%
    Worse 5%
    Don't know 4%

    Better 56%
    Same 34%
    Worse 6%
    Don't know 6%

    I appreciate there is little comfort in knowing other users are happy with the new iPlayer if you aren't, which is why I am reading every comment on this blog post and every comment submitted via the online survey, to understand how we can improve the new iPlayer for the minority of users who feel it is worse than the old iPlayer.

  • Comment number 78. Posted by Dan Taylor-Watt

    on 15 May 2014 19:48

    Thanks for the further feedback.

    Some more responses:

    @41. Stuart - Thanks for the example Stuart. The speed of loading of Favourites for users with a large number of Favourites is something we’re aware of and we’ll be addressing as soon as we can. The technology which powers Favourites is pretty much the only technology component that we weren’t able to update/replace for the launch of new iPlayer and it’s now a high priority to get a faster Favourites technology in place.

    @43. Chris O - Thanks for the specific suggestions Chris - really useful.

    @49. JH - I’m sorry to hear a large percentage of programmes aren’t playing for you. Could I encourage to provide the BBC iPlayer Support Team with some more detail to help us diagnose the issue? https://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/templates/bbciplayer/emailForms/emailPage

    We made the decision not to continue to maintain a broadband speed checker as there are lots of free alternatives available.

    Thanks for the feedback re. persisting ‘Recent’ sort across Categories - this feature is on our backlog to implement.

    @53. DACAtHome - Making it easier to switch between channel schedules is something we’re currently looking at. If you haven’t discovered it yet, the TV Guide is a good way of seeing what’s on across channels on a single screen.

    @55. breuddwyd - No, we’re not able to give people the option of reverting. The previous version of iPlayer made use of various technical components which are no longer supportable.

    @59. Albee - If you’re looking for a specific programme or type of programme that isn’t included in the new category list then I’d suggest trying search - e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/search?q=antiques, http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/search?q=gardening. Alternatively, as @DBOne suggests, you might like to access http://www.bbc.co.uk/tv/programmes/genres which has a full taxonomy of BBC programmes by genre and sub-genre.

    As mentioned previously, we’re currently looking at how best to enable the filtering of some of the larger, more diverse categories. The new category list was informed by detailed stats analysis of the previous categories and several rounds of user research.

    @60. sputnik - Thanks for your feedback. The ability to add Favourites from navigation pages is a feature some other users are missing and is something we’ll be exploring.

    @64.Karin - I’m sorry to hear you dislike the new iPlayer so much and that you’re struggling to find the programmes you used to watch. Thanks for your detailed feedback on Favourites and your suggestions of making the Lower Bandwidth option sticky and further lowering the bitrate.

    I’m also sorry to hear that you weren’t able to participate in an iPlayer survey. The majority of participants in the independent research were users of iPlayer on computer and the agency conducted dedicated forums for the new iPlayer experience on computers.

    @68. Albee - As @DBOne mentions, ‘Horizon: The Core’ is discoverable via the iPlayer Science & Nature category http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/categories/science-and-nature and will be until it is no longer available to watch.

    @70. Ellie - Thanks for your feedback. Sorry to hear you’re finding the grey background distracting when watching programmes. The background should dim down after a few seconds of playback. Alternatively, have you tried watching full screen? (click the ‘Enter full screen’ icon in the bottom right hand corner of the player). Thanks for your suggestion re. showing how much of the programme has been buffered ready for playback - I will feed this back to the team who develop the BBC’s Standard Media Player.

    @73. Keith - Thanks for flagging. This is a known bug as we don’t currently have live streams for all the national and regional variants of BBC One and BBC Two so can’t provide a ‘Watch Live’ option for those channels. The good news is that our Video Factory team http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/internet/posts/Video-Factory are busy working on creating these feeds and once they’re ready, we’ll be updating the channel pages accordingly.

    @74. makker - Thanks for your feedback on Favourites. This is an area we’re looking to improve.

  • Comment number 40. Posted by Dan Taylor-Watt

    on 14 May 2014 07:48

    Thanks for all your comments. I won't be able to respond to every comment individually but will be reading each and every one and doing my best to respond to new specific questions. Don't forget you can also feedback on the new iPlayer via the online survey: http://www.bbctvsurvey.co.uk/

    @1. Stuart Ian Burns - Thanks for your detailed feedback. Some responses:

    (1) The category recency sort is by the order in which programmes were added to iPlayer, so recent additions to iPlayer appear at the top of the list regardless of when they were first shown on broadcast television. This is to help people easily see which programmes are new to iPlayer in any given category.

    (2) The ‘first shown’ date is a new addition to iPlayer so programmes which aren’t available on iPlayer might not have had the correct first shown date added yet. Do let us know if you spot any programmes on iPlayer which have the wrong first shown date.

    (3) Yes, we are looking to migrate more of the content from the BBC Archive website now we have a version of iPlayer which is designed to enable the discovery of content older than 7 days.

    (4), (5), (6) & (7) Thanks for the suggestions

    Good to hear you feel it’s a vast improvement.

    @2. & 3. Russ - Thanks for the feedback Russ. Schedules is one of the areas we’ll be at finessing next in response to user feedback so this input in really useful.

    @4. sjg - I’m sorry to hear you’re hating the new layout. The schedules do include programme information on all but the lowest browser size which is designed for mobile devices. If you’re on a computer then increasing the size of the browser window should cause the programme information to appear.

    @5. Russ - As @DBOne mentions, the 3-bar menu icon is a convention that many mobile and tablet websites and applications use to deal with multiple navigation options which won’t fit in the space available. If you’re seeing this icon when accessing iPlayer on a computer, then increasing the size of the browser window should give the navigation enough space to unpack.

    @6. Russ - I’ve passed this on to the iPlayer Radio team.

    @9. Stuart - I’m sorry to hear you dislike the new iPlayer. Are you able to give examples of where you’re finding it slow?

    @12. Al - Yes, I can confirm that we will be updating the BBC iPlayer Windows Phone 8 app in the near future.

    @15. rachelb92 - I’m sorry to hear you’re finding the new homepage very messy. We’ll be looking at ways to make it more obvious which programmes are expiring in Favourites.

    @16. DACAtHome - Thanks for taking the time to feedback and I’m sorry to hear you don’t feel your feedback is being listened to. Easier navigation between the channel ‘page view’ schedules - e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/schedules/bbcone - is something we’re exploring now in response to user feedback.

    @19. willjennings - It sounds like you’re referring to the Favourites area. This is an area we’re looking to improve over the coming months, including making it more obvious which programmes are about to expire.

    @29. sjw92 - This is from the independent research. Apologies if that wasn’t clear in my original phrasing. I’ll get in touch with the research agency to confirm the exact phrasing of the question.

    @30. Nicky - Sorry to hear you’ve experienced just audio and a white screen during playback. Could I encourage to provide the BBC iPlayer Support Team with some more detail to help us diagnose the issue: https://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/templates/bbciplayer/emailForms/emailPage

    @33. sjw62 - Larger tablets (e.g. iPad, Galaxy Note 10.1), which are more commonly used held/used in landscape orientation, receive the horizontal layout. Smaller tablets (e.g. Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, iPad mini), which are more commonly held/used in portrait orientation, receive the vertical layout.

    @34. Josh - The largest size was designed for desktop browsers and optimised for a width of 1024 pixels in line with the BBC's Global Experience Language guidelines http://www.bbc.co.uk/gel/web/foundations/universal-grid/the-grid. I know the BBC User Experience and Design team are currently exploring how to best optimise BBC websites for higher resolution displays.

    @38. & 39. Albee - Here’s a quick explainer of the changes to categories: http://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/announcements/categories. These changes were based on extensive user research and data analysis but rest assured we’ll be continuing to analyse usage of and feedback on the new categories and may update them in the future. As mentioned in my post, we’re currently looking at how best to support users to filter some of the larger, more diverse categories (e.g. just show crime dramas within the Drama & Soaps category). Update to follow on this one.

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