I’m Daniel Bean, the Senior Product Manager of BBC iPlayer Radio.

Just over two weeks ago we launched a new version of the BBC iPlayer Radio homepage which I talked about here. The new homepage looks like this:

The new BBC iPlayer Radio homepage

From today users who listen to radio via BBC iPlayer using a desktop browser will be redirected to the new BBC iPlayer Radio homepage.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to look at some of the differences you might notice if you used to find radio programmes via BBC iPlayer using a browser and are using this page for the first time. I’ll also look at some of the feedback about the recent changes from those of you who were already using this page for your radio needs.

One of the advantages of enhancing this webpage is that we can now have just one homepage that gives a taste of all radio across the BBC. We hope this will make it less confusing for users who previously had a different experience on the radio page in BBC iPlayer.

We’ve designed the new BBC iPlayer Radio homepage based on the experiences that are most important to you. Categories and Most Popular are now more prominent, as we know this is your favourite way of finding radio programmes, including actual examples of the most popular programmes and top categories so that you can easily get straight to the programmes you like. Alongside that, you can now get to the national and nations radio station homepages with one single click. You can also visit this page across a range of mobile and tablet devices, as well as on desktop computers.

If you added radio programmes to your favourites in BBC iPlayer you won’t be able to access that list in BBC iPlayer Radio. We looked really carefully at whether there was a way of transferring those favourites across, but it turned out to be either extremely difficult or in some cases impossible. Additionally, some users have different favourites on different devices as they are stored separately on each device, meaning we wouldn’t know which set of favourites to transfer across – the ones from your phone, tablet or PC.

You can still add favourites in BBC iPlayer Radio as long as you’re signed in to the BBC, via BBC iD, where they will be saved from now on. Importantly this also means you can now access your favourites via BBC iPlayer Radio across any device on a browser when you sign in, making it easier for you to keep track of your favourite programmes. We’ll also be adding favourites into the BBC iPlayer Radio mobile application very shortly, something many of you have been asking for.

Another difference you may notice is that when you’re catching up on programmes that you’ve missed the new radio homepage leads you to pages that look like this:

These look different from the ones you may have previously used in BBC iPlayer but their main purpose remains to let you listen again. Over the coming months we’ll be investigating how we can make these pages more streamlined and simple to use, and in fact already have some improvements being released soon.

We’ve had a lot of positive feedback since we launched the new version from those of you that were already using the new BBC iPlayer Radio homepage.  This is encouraging so many thanks for letting us know! We’ll continue to listen to what you have to say and take it into account as we continue to enhance BBC iPlayer Radio for you in the future.

So far, two common themes in your feedback were that the pause button next to the ‘Stations’ tab was confusing and that you missed the ‘What’s On’ tab on the old radio homepage. The purpose of the pause button is to stop the automatic cycling of programme images and information that you see if you’re viewing the page on a tablet or desktop computer. We’re aiming to improve that as part of our next update to the page, making it as clear as possible.

You can still see what’s on-air across the stations if you click on ‘Stations’ on the new homepage, though as you’ve pointed out it doesn’t tell you what’s on next. We’re looking at what the best way of addressing this and will aim to have this updated as soon as we can.

As before, please keep the comments coming via the feedback page, or leave a comment below. I hope you enjoy using the new page!

Daniel Bean is Senior Product Manager, iPlayer Radio, BBC Future Media

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  • Comment number 182. Posted by Nick Reynolds

    on 14 Feb 2014 21:45

    My apologies for linking to the wrong post above. The correct post to go to is here.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 181. Posted by Nick Reynolds

    on 14 Feb 2014 15:57

    Hi,

    a new blog post from Dan responding to feedback on BBC iPlayer Radio has now been published.

    I'm going to close comments on this post - please leave any further comments on the new post.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 180. Posted by U13949110

    on 14 Feb 2014 15:40

    @ DBOne

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the overwhelming majority of programmes are only available for 7 days after broadcast, this makes your point about it not being a catch up service any more rather moot.

    Even if the schedule is becoming less important, due to changing habits of media consumption, that is still no reason for it to be the incoherent mess that it currently is. Personally I didn't use it that often, but due to the non-transfer of favourites, the poor search implementation and the lack of detail in the category/A-Z listings I have been using it over the last few days, and it is definitely not fit for purpose.

    Users aren't anti-change, especially users of services like iPlayer, by their very nature they are at the forefront of change, what they are against is a backwards step from the service they were previously using.

    Out of interest what device are you using to access the site? (I might be wrong, and I'm not going to go trawling through 180 posts, but I seem to recall you mentioned that it looked good on a tablet).

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  • Comment number 179. Posted by Frog

    on 14 Feb 2014 15:17

    BBC Radio 4 - Feedback starts at 16:30 and part of the programme synopsis reads,
    "The other issue dominating our inbox this week is the change to the radio section of BBC iPlayer. Changes to the way listeners access their favourite programmes on demand have caused confusion for some users, who contacted us asking why the switchover has happened - and without warning. Mark Friend, the Radio Controller for Multiplatform, takes to the phones in an iPlayer clinic with frustrated listeners."

    Had a pang of excited does this work earlier!!, when using my mobile device I happened to be diverted to www.bbc.co.uk/mobile/iplayer/radio and the programs where listed in a sort of normal nice old styling. But then on the desktop you get a not supported. :-( oh humm.

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  • Comment number 178. Posted by yokozuma

    on 14 Feb 2014 15:14

    The new site is terrible...just terrible.

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  • Comment number 177. Posted by DBOne

    on 14 Feb 2014 14:52

    @175 I do not and never have worked for or on behalf of the BBC - I don't stick up for the BBC but I don't find the new site the mess that others in this blog do so say so. Would you say those that are negative posters must work for Sky or the Daily Mail? I think not.

    I have no technical knowledge of the website other than I use it and read this blog. The comments I make are based on observation of how the site is structured and how I use it. iPlayer has been seen as a 'Catch Up' service but may now use it as an on-demand TV service - the difference being the schedule isn't important but the programmes are and the new Radio Player site seems to reflect this change of behaviour.

    Its a well known fact that change is difficult - its not that people don't like change but most of us actually find it hard and unsettling.

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  • Comment number 176. Posted by MarionB

    on 14 Feb 2014 14:49

    I agree with most of the above comments.I was nearly in tears when I realised that all my favourites had disappeared for some reason that made no sense at all. Now it takes ages to find anything. the whole thing is a disaster. Please bring our old iplayer back!

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  • Comment number 175. Posted by not impressed

    on 14 Feb 2014 14:28

    @DBOne I really must say there is very striking contrast between yourself and the other people commenting on here. You have made it your business to stick up for the BBC responding to each and every allegation with comments like “some people just don’t like change”.

    Another remarkable thing about you is your massive technical knowledge about the BBC website. The obvious conclusion would be that you are a staff member and yet you have stated quite categorically that you are not. This begs the question - where on earth did you learn all of that?

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  • Comment number 174. Posted by Ealing lad

    on 14 Feb 2014 14:19

    I just hope that the calls for specific changes - like the Favourites etc - doesn't allow the perpetrators to hide behind promises to tweak such details. The whole thing is a mess both in appearance and functionality, just look at the radio schedule pages - awful.

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  • Comment number 173. Posted by ingie

    on 14 Feb 2014 13:24

    @ DBOne "I can see that the two sites have taken a different approach - one is structured around catch-up, the schedule and making the unmissible, unmissible , the other has a greater focus of the library of programmes and downgraded the importance of the schedule.
    it maybe that both approaches have benefits but it is a big shift from the old approach and a big ask from those that found the old site served their needs."

    - aye, I agree with this - in fact, I'd go as far to say that [ in my techy/UX/UI experienced opinion ] that it is better to have 3 sites... current tv, current radio and then a separate "bbc library archive" containing the greater archive of both... indeed, I only found out that In Our Time had its whole archive on the new site a few months back... but when i did, i simply downloaded the lot via podcast as suggested - so the new site's player was not itself something I used for the task.

    but re: your point on looking at the [votes] on this blog not being enough, no: but the most vociferous on here have repeatedly asked for the %age of those who have favoured the new site v those that have said "no" and they've repeatedly said "it wouldn't help us" - which is just polotical weaselling [ side note: i'd love to see Paxman asking them that question :) ]
    [ i'd assume that they would have taken analytical stats from the "do you wish to use the new player" question box that used to pop up - if they didn't, then again: someone wasn't doing their web design/management properly - that's not opinion, that's a fundamental web usage research standard ]

    i'm happy to defer to democratic vote on that... but democracy is generally based on those who do vote, not those who remain silent or take the default position with a shrug... however small those numbers are.

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