New BBC iPlayer for Children

Senior Product Manager

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Hello, I’m a Business Analyst on the BBC iPlayer team.

Today we launched a new version of CBBC iPlayer on computers, tablets and mobiles and in this blog post I’m going to give an overview of the work we have been doing to improve the iPlayer experience for children.

Following the recent launch of new iPlayer, we set about seeing how we could bring all of the great new features of iPlayer to our Children’s iPlayer products whilst maintaining the safe environment that parents and children were used to.

The new CBBC iPlayer home page

So, what’s new? The children’s homepages now feature an image-led curated experience and include the brand new collections to showcase key programmes, seasons, events and themes. We’ve added live restart to the simulcast streams which means that you are now able to rewind through the last two hours of the schedule. For the first time Children’s iPlayer is also accessible using mobiles and tablets, key devices for this audience, as the website has been developed using responsive design.

The Children’s iPlayer websites are built using the same components and technology as the main version of iPlayer. This approach means that new functionality can be easily shared between the two, improving and enriching the experience for all iPlayer users.

CBBC iPlayer on mobile


I mentioned earlier that Children’s iPlayer offers a safe environment for its users and I wanted to highlight some of the ways that we achieve this. The driving principle behind this is to try to deliver the most appropriate experience for all users of the websites. In Children’s iPlayer we have different navigation for CBBC and CBeebies which highlights the relevant programmes and schedules for these channels. This also separates the children’s content from the rest of the programmes in the main version of iPlayer, which may feature content that is inappropriate for young children. We have also scoped search results and recommendations so that only CBBC and CBeebies programmes are returned.

The links that are included in Children’s iPlayer are also carefully considered for their appropriateness, so for example the social sharing tools on the playback page are not displayed to children. Where a link takes you back into the main version of iPlayer a pop-up is displayed to inform users that they are leaving the children’s area of the site. This was one of our main areas of focus when we user tested the website with a group of children and their parents. It was fascinating to observe the different ways that our audience uses to get to their favourite programmes and we have already been able to incorporate some improvements to the pop-up based on this feedback.

The new pop up

Please try out the new CBBC iPlayer. We plan to roll out CBeebies iPlayer in the coming weeks. We are really keen to hear your feedback about how we could improve the service. Please let me know what you think by adding any comments below.

Graham Matthews is Business Analyst, BBC iPlayer in BBC Future Media

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