Hi I’m John Barratt, Senior Product Manager for BBC search.

I'm pleased to tell you that yesterday a new search results page that is optimised for mobile devices was launched as a beta.

For the past year, if you performed a search on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ from a mobile device, you would have received the main desktop search results page, where ‘pinch and zoom’ was required to resize the page to an appropriate size. This wasn’t a great user experience and with the mobile search audience more than doubling in the past 12 months, we wanted to improve their experience urgently.

The resulting mobile-optimised, search results page allows you to search quickly and efficiently across News, Sport, TV & Radio, iPlayer and Editors Choice. The search query and results page will resolve to your handsets orientation and screen size. We’ve looked to test this across a range of screen sizes from the small to medium screens such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini, HTC Desire to the iPhone 5 onto the extra-large devices including the Galaxy S3, Note 2, HTC One, so we should have you individual screen covered.

If you are unable to reach the mobile-optimised results page, you may have previously accepted a cookie that will redirect you to the desktop version. To remove this, please navigate to the footer of any BBC page and select the Mobile Site link (if you can see the Desktop Site link, then this cookie has not been set) or alternatively, open your browser settings and clear the cookies (generally stored under privacy), and then navigate to Search.

If you would prefer to keep using the desktop results page, this can be reached by selecting the Desktop Site link in the footer.

2014 promises to be a big year for search in the BBC. We’ll be taking your feedback and tracking how you use the service to help guide the design of our fully-responsive search results page. We will also have completed our migration to a new search engine that will give us more freedom to tune the results, providing better quality results for searches.

The beta gives us a great opportunity to get some direct feedback on both the mobile-optimised search pages and Search in general. So please add your comments below or pass your feedback via the link at the bottom of the mobile search results page.

John Barratt is Senior Product Manager, Search, BBC Future Media

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  • Comment number 1. Posted by Uu

    on 6 Mar 2014 19:04

    Thanks for the information on how to swap between mobile and desktop screens - I recently tried Niko's News website Beta for mobiles on my PC and got stuck with mobile versions for all my PC links - I ended up deleting the days history - but now I know there is a switch….

    Searching the BBC

    1. Since the demise of the (good old) BBC homepage, I have been using a link to the 'BBC News Worldwide, most popular stories now' page - it loads very quickly, provides a 'one liner' for the top ten stories, updates every 40 seconds and gives me the BBC Headers to take me onto News, Sport etc. The one thing that doesn't work are most of the links, (the file-path or URL names have been updated but not for this site), just a '404 Page Not Found' error - however contained in the path is the unique BBC story number (today - UK Sub to get new core - Story number 26463923). But if you go to the BBC News page and try the number in the Search Box - nothing, no results. No doubt the story will appear on the News page soon. (It did - it's HMS Vanguard).

    2. Anyway talking of Niko, he had a blog last year about 'Building the Breaking News Tool' (BNT) which seemed to enable a journalist to create one story with which the 'BN Tool' would produce the necessary formats for various hand-held and desktop systems, saving time by not having to create the story on each platform. Looked very interesting so I thought that I would search the BBC for any updates.

    I tried BNT (as mentioned in the article) = Four results,
    Two for Bulgarian National Television in 2012 & 2013.
    One from an article on genetically-modified beef citing embryo splitting and blastomere nuclear transfer, BNT. (from 2002).
    And one from TV & Radio - Radio1X show Breaking New Talent grand final 2007.

    So I tried 'Breaking News Tool' - WOW 130 results (News 109, Sport 19). None (that I could find) were about Nico's BNT, many had one of the words, several selected any two words from three but not all three words in sequence. The remaining two results were Blogs, one from February 2010 and the other October 2009 both about Breaking News only.

    I've been using the White Search Box on the right side of the BBC Headers on a PC.

    3. My Mobile search beta - hey I've tried it - Seems to work fine, found the Sub Story (but not using the number but it was there in the path), the Bulgarian TV items and another simple test finding recent items about sugar. The Filter also worked well.

    It may be helpful for other testers, that may have had the same minor problem finding the beta search as I did, to know that the magnifying glass next to the word Menu is the Beta Search button and not the white box having the word Search in it, at the top of small screens.

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