Connected Studio: UX&D brief in context

Friday 14 September 2012, 18:16

Ulrik Hogrebe Ulrik Hogrebe Senior UX Designer

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UX&D sign in Broadcast Centre

The UX&D sign in the Broadcast Centre, home to the BBC UX&D team

Hi, my name is Ulrik and I'm a Senior User Experience Designer working in Personalisation and Social Platform, a service division of UX&D that works across the BBC online portfolio. I'm helping to organise the UX&D Connected Studio workshops scheduled for the 4 October, 30 October and 31 October 2012.

I'd like to give you a preview into some of the thinking that has gone into the brief for the UX&D events - as well as a little bit of wider context for the work we currently do in UX&D.

If you haven't done so already, I suggest you take a peek at the Connected Studio brief then return to this post for more on what we're trying to achieve and how.



A BBC that is bigger than the sum of its parts


The BBC online portfolio is split into 10 different products: Sport, News, iPlayer, Knowledge and Learning, CBBC and Cbeebies, Radio and Music, Homepage and Search, and Weather. While each product has a unique value for different audience sectors, we're increasingly thinking of them as components of 'One Service', a coherent and connected whole that delivers 360º value for our audience - on any device - wherever and whenever the user wants access.

As designers and innovators who hope to get involved, this means your challenge gets bigger but potentially much more fun. We're asking you to come up with ideas that build connections across BBC products, linking digital content so that users can roam freely, without a sense of disruption. We're asking you to consider how to optimise the power of online to drive experiences that are personal, social and participatory, extending the reach of our talent and amplifying the voice and engagement of our audience.

We'd like you to give special consideration to the 4-screen (TV, mobile, tablet and desktop) environment and its fit with BBC content: not an easy task, by any measure, but one that does give you the entire ecology of the BBC to play with and innovate around.

How does it work?

The Connected Studio as a whole is split into two events: Creative Studio, a rapid-fire pitch day held in London on 4 October, and a two-day Build Studio on 20 October and 31 October.

In the Creative Studio we aim to inform and inspire you with a speaker or two in the morning; the rest of the day is given over to brainstorming the best ideas you can develop with your team. At the end of Creative Studio, you will have a chance to pitch your idea to our judges, who intend to select a handful of the best pitches for further refinement in the 2-day Build Studio. Creative Studio is intended to be a fun, high-intensity event that gives you a chance to hang out with other designers and innovators, bandy ideas around the room and generally don your creative hat.

If selected by the judges, you will continue to the Build Studio where you will have a chance to extend and refine your ideas by accessing internal BBC expertise from the different product areas to help inform your decisions.

In this workshop, we will put much more emphasis on the 'One Service' concept and at the end of the two days you will be asked to present a prototype that conveys a core experience for the user, along with visuals and wireframes to convince us of the value and feasibility of your proposal. It's up to you how you wish to convey the experience, whether it be as a short film, a clickable .pdf or a quick-and-dirty prototype: we hope you discover where the strengths of your team lie in this respect. It's important to note, that since this is a two-day event, the BBC will compensate you for your time.

Is Connected Studio a tech or a design challenge?


We believe that tech and design go hand in hand, although these events are necessarily skewed toward the concept and design side of things. However, if you do have technical skills, there will be ample opportunity to showcase these during Creative Studio and, should you go through to the Build Studio, we will match you with design expertise to supplement your skills.

What if I win the Build Studio?

If you are part of one of the teams that win the Build Studio, we have committed money and resources for you to develop a pilot in cooperation with the BBC. The pilot will be used to pitch for investment and will pin your idea on the BBC roadmap, which means that it should eventually go live, just like any project that originates within UX&D and gets the green light. Ultimately, this means you could see your idea become a reality enjoyed by millions of users across the UK.

Ulrik Hogrebe is Senior User Experience Designer, Personalisation and Social Platform, User Experience and Design, BBC Future Media

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