BBC Homepage announces new Beta site

Senior Product Manager

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Senior Product Manager Michael Skelton gives an update on how you can help in the development of new features for the BBC Homepage, with the launch of a new beta trial.

It has now been just over a year since we launched the current version of the Homepage to all users across all platforms. In that time, we’ve been working on new features like adding and removing collections from within the Homepage itself and a collection of Radio recommendations.

Today sees the launch of the next phase of Homepage development - the opening of a beta programme, which you can all choose to take part in. But what is it and why are we doing it?

We spend a lot of time analysing how the Homepage is used, which informs our plans for new features and how content should be promoted. As a result of this, we generate many ideas that we would like to try out to see whether there is a positive impact on audiences.

The difficulty that this presents is that when a specific change is being displayed to the entire audience, it is hard to be completely sure what impact that change has caused. This gets even trickier to decipher when you add in the traffic fluctuations generated by major news stories and sports events.

Therefore, using the regular Homepage as a control, we would like to use the beta as an area where we can try those ideas and see what impact those changes may have by comparing against the regular Homepage. In most circumstances, the beta page might not look radically different to the regular Homepage, but there will always be something that we will be trying to verify.

You can join the beta by clicking on the Try it now button on the message at the top of the Homepage. Doing so means that every time you visit bbc.co.uk, you’ll be redirected to our beta version. In order for this to work, you will need to ensure that cookies enabled (both on your browser/device and BBC cookies) and that you do not clear them, otherwise you will be returned to the regular Homepage on your next visit.

If at any point you wish to leave the beta and return to the regular Homepage, you can do so by clicking on the Opt Out button at the bottom of the beta Homepage.

In future, we may trial new and experimental features to beta users before they are ready to be displayed on the regular Homepage. This will give us crucial insights into how they are used in practice; influencing how we decide to develop them further.

As ever, your feedback is welcome, so please feel free to leave your comments on this blog.

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