The BBC Homepage in Gaelic, for a user in Glasgow

Back in November when the new BBC Homepage launched, my technical counterpart James Thornett and his boss Phil Fearnley described how the team intended to evolve the product over time and improve the homepage for all users.

As homepage editorial lead, I'm happy to announce a significant new development as the BBC nations' homepages become an integral part of the main homepage product.

So what's changing?

From today, if you change your location to a place in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, you will see navigation and content from the country you've selected, alongside other content of interest UK wide.

This change enables us to more fully and appropriately respond to cultural, political and topical interests across the UK.

From next week, users who set their location in the Nations will be able to navigate between different editions of the homepage - so if you're in Scotland, for example, you will be able to see:

  • A choice of one homepage version for the UK, one more specifically focused on Scotland, or one in the Gaelic language featuring content from BBC Alba (pictured)
  • Promotional areas in the main 'carousel' of the different country editions which will contain more events, programmes and information from local editorial teams
  • Local TV and radio listings, weather and, at a later date, news, travel information and sports news.

This week, we're giving users a sneak preview of the five new homepages before making the final switchover next week:

Today's launch marks an important step in the journey towards offering users the opportunity to personalise their homepage.

And in uniting our homepages within a single set of technologies, we have eliminated the need to build, service and maintain separate sites.

This saves money, and means that nations and indigenous language homepages will develop iteratively alongside the UK-wide editions. The site continues to develop so your comments and feedback are very welcome.

Clare Hudson is Executive Editor, BBC Homepage, Search, and Navigation

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Comments

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  • Comment number 36. Posted by Jon

    on 26 Jul 2012 01:56

    Thanks for your comments Robin, nice to be heard!

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  • Comment number 35. Posted by Robin Moore

    on 25 Jul 2012 10:50

    Hi,
    I'm leading a project to roll out services for the Nations and indigenous languages across the BBC products, including working with the Homepage team on the recent changes.

    To answer Lucas42's question in comment 33. Different approaches have indeed been used by different parts of the BBC. While we are in the process of aligning these, there is often a good reason why different approaches have been taken.

    In the case of the Cymru and Alba homepages, we know Welsh and Gaelic speakers use both their language and English language homepages and therefore wanted these pages to be addressable separately i.e. different URLs. Using the browsers' Accept-Language header in this particular case might have made navigating between English and other language content rather confusing.

    We are currently working on creating a single BBC language setting which will move between products. You can see the first implementation of this (including Irish!) in the bottom left of bbc.co.uk/radio

    On Jon's comment 34, I quite understand your problem. We decided to go with Welsh Rugby Union on the Homepage in Wales because football more regularly appears in the top 4 UK headlines and audience figures for Welsh rugby stories are consistently higher in Wales; but as you say rugby isn't everyone's favourite.

    The Homepage is being improved iteratively and I know the Homepage team are looking at increased personalisation options in the future. In the interim, we will be reviewing what sport we offer on the Wales version of the Homepage in a couple of months, and we'll be taking your and other users' comments on board.

  • Comment number 34. Posted by Jon

    on 25 Jul 2012 06:34

    Hello there,
    One of the good things about living in Wales is the opportunity to access services of all sorts with some sort of local flavour. Unfortunately, this is a double edged sword. Due to the recent changes, Welsh Rugby Union is now a section in my sporting column of the home page. I enjoy a bit of Rugby, but other sports (football, cycling and others) come a long way ahead for me. There are lots of people in Wales (particularly South Wales) who are mad about Rugby, but where I live in the North, football is far more important and not just for me.
    As it happens I am English but have lived in Wales almost all my life. The Welsh Rugby Union section grates every time I log in and I know this sounds like I am being ridiculous, but I am considering changing my homepage so I don't have to see it!
    I like the News bit where it has National and International News stories and Local News below it. It doesn't work in the same way with sport. If I select that I live over the border in Cheshire (just a couple of miles away) will everything change? I imagine I will lose the local news then too, if that worked.
    If I could have a Football section like I used to have, it would be just fine. Now it's like the difference on BBC1 between Final Score (heavily football based as I like it) and on BBC1 Wales with Final Score Wales (heavily Rugby based). I do feel it's a bit condescending to be honest - I live in Wales, so I must want Rugby!
    Any ideas how I can be less annoyed?

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  • Comment number 33. Posted by lucas42

    on 23 Jul 2012 20:50

    Just a quick question about the languages (and no, I'm not going to ask why Irish is missing, I know that one never gets answered ;) ).
    How did you decide what approach to take with languages? I mean that here you've gone with a different page per language (like on iPlayer), but other BBC sites (like the new radio ones) use the browsers' Accept-Language header to serve different languages at the same URL.
    Is there some sort of official BBC policy on when to use each option, or does each site just make it up as they go along?

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  • Comment number 32. Posted by GrumpoMcChief

    on 23 Jul 2012 16:35

    Hi Jamie, THanks for the reply. I did find the links to Scottish content on the full schedule but having set my preference to BBC Scotland it still reverts to London each time I return on both TV and Radio. GrumpoMcChief

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  • Comment number 31. Posted by Jamie Nicholson

    on 23 Jul 2012 12:12

    Hi GrumpoMcChief - you are right that the schedules on the TV page (http://www.bbc.co.uk/tv/) cannot be set by location and don't have a link to your location setting on the Homepage.

    However, the daily schedule in the 'What's on' section of the Homepage does provide you with this. You can set your preferred TV & Radio schedule here and it will remember this by cookie. So if you select BBC Alba for instance as your TV schedule, then this would be remembered next time you visit the page. You also have a quick link to view that 'Full Schedule' from there too.

  • Comment number 30. Posted by GrumpoMcChief

    on 21 Jul 2012 09:59

    Hi Jamie, Thanks for responding to my comment. I can confirm that my cookies are enabled. I am an Apple Mac user using the most recent version of Safari. My problem is not with the Home Page per se but if I click on the TV section of the home page to check on the programme schedule it will not allow me to set my post code to ensure I get the Scottish schedule. Cheers. GrumpoMcChief

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  • Comment number 29. Posted by Jamie Nicholson

    on 10 Jul 2012 16:29

    Hi. I work in the Homepage product development team and wanted to reply to a couple of the comments made:

    In comment 25 by 'GrumpoMcChief', firstly thanks for reporting this and I'd like to re-assure you this behaviour is not specific to Scottish audience members. The likely cause of this is that you have cookies disabled (either completely or just for the BBC). You can read more here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/privacy/cookies/about/?source_url=/privacy/bbc-cookies-policy.shtml

    If you can verify that cookies are enabled and you're still getting this behaviour then you might have found an issue. If this is the case then we'd be grateful if you could provide your browser version and exact steps to reproduce. This will help us diagnose the problem.

    In comment 20 by 'd shirlaw', thanks for spotting this. You're right - it wasn't correct but we have since made a change to ensure the correct Scottish football stories are appearing.

  • Comment number 28. Posted by Tony

    on 6 Jul 2012 20:47

    Totally miffed, now got to find a new homepage, I started using BBC Scotland's page as my homepage when the new carousel came out. It was a good way to avoid it albeit with less functionality than the older BBC homepage. I really miss the old BBC website with modules etc, oh well worse things happen. It only costs my license fee.

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  • Comment number 27. Posted by donaldgrantuk

    on 29 Jun 2012 19:01

    I've been away for a couple of weeks Claire and it's pretty obvious now with my first internet access in nearly two weeks that the BBC aren't going to listen to their users, or if they do it will be because of diminishing hit figures. The site is a mess and frankly has absolutely nothing to offer me now. The only thing that will have me using the BBC website on any sort of regular basis would be re-instating the old style homepages. I'm sure an awful lot of people feel the same way as I do.

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