Homepages for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

Tuesday 12 June 2012, 17:30

Clare Hudson Clare Hudson Executive Editor Homepage

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Homepage in Gaelic, showing content from BBC Alba

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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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    So we either have the choice of a homepage that gives us the international headlines mixed with UK headlines made up of mostly English news and sport or homepages with just the news and sport from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

    You do realise that people from outside England are interested in more than just the news from their neck of the woods and would like to see a bit of international news headlines as well as the local news?

    If you ask me there should be sections on the main news, regional news, main sport and regional sport all based on the location variable that just seems to be used for the weather on the main homepage. Local news and sports sub-headings should be on the regional news page and regional sports page respectively.

    As to the rest, I like the design, it is fresh and very usable. I never really have understand the furore with the new BBC web site layouts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    May I be the first to ask: why is there no new page for England?

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    what about news from local areas?

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    Comment number 4.

    Tragic Roundabout strikes again. :(

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Oh dear, the BBC didn't listen when well over 1000 people complained about the new style homepage when it was launched. Now it's coming to BBC Scotland and I find I'm going to have to change my default homepage again. The BBC and it's web designers have simply ignored complaints and requests to re-instate the old format and also ignored web experts who say that the carousel type sideways scrolling puts people off. It's certainly put me off and as soon as the Scottish page changes I'll be off. I doubt I'll visit the BBC website much after that as it's poor quality with limited information on programme web pages and is hard to navigate. It probably ranks as one of the worst web sites anywhere !

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    And another thing, if the idea is to save money then why is there a dedicated site for Gaelic i.e. BBC Alba. A television channel and a web page in a language that is spoken and understood by around sixty thousand people from a population of six million? That's only one percent !

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Hi Donald,

    Thanks for your comment.

    The question of which services the BBC offers is not up to Clare. So you won't get an answer to that comment here, and it's off-topic.



  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    With respect Ian my comment is very much on topic. Clare touches on it herself in her last paragraph. The idea of the new homepage is to save money and yet a homepage is being provided in a language spoken by around one percent of the population of Scotland and a much lower percentage of the UK population as a whole. I cannot see the justification for that ! After all every Gaelic speaker is bi-lingual and so has no problem reading the English language version.

    Are you able to tell us how the main BBC Homepage has performed in respect of unique hits in the five months since it's launch compared to the old homepage in the five months before it was replaced. That to me would be the best indicator of value for money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    To be fair Donald, Gaelic speakers are licence players too and the BBC are exactly the people who should be providing services to the smaller communities in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    True William but the point is that they are saying the whole revamp will save money. I'm merely pointing out how they can save more. However they could have saved even more by leaving the BBC website as it was last November. It was user customisable but where it failed in BBC's eyes was that it didn't point users in the direction BBC wanted them to go. It wasn't broke, most people were happy with it but they went ahead and 'fixed' it. Ian McDonald himself moderated a now closed blog that had well over 1000 comments that indicated that the new style format wasn't popular. I don't recall seeing any that were in favour !

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Afternoon all, it's been a long week but here's my first response.

    Firstly, to Chris Hill’s point - it is true that we do not provide a specific homepage for England as we do for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is because it would not be sufficiently distinguished from the main UK page as viewed from England to be worth maintaining. The BBC does not provide any national services for England that are equivalent to Radio Cymru or Radio Scotland, nor does England have its own devolved government. We have English regions as opposed to BBC England, and these provide more local services as part of News.

    Donald - we are constantly developing and evolving the homepage; we know that users want to personalise and customise their experience and are busy determining how we will deliver it to them. This commitment was underlined when we made personalisation of the BBC Homepage the main theme of a recent Connected Studio event held here at BBC North.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Any chance as to a reply as to my post, and an explanation why my second post was deleted when the post I was replying to was deleted then restored?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Opps too quick, I see it's back.

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    Comment number 15.

    Thank you for your reply at #12 Clare and also thanks for upholding my appeal against the removal of my comment #9

    With regard to determining how to deliver a customisable user page might I suggest (with my tongue very lightly in my cheek) that it could be easily achieved by re-instating the old homepage. That allowed me not only to determine the content I wanted on the page but also to take into account of the broadcast region I am in.
    The new format has far more content and far more choice but that is not always a good thing. Very often the saying 'less is more' holds to be true and it certainly does in the case of the BBC Homepages.

    I would however still like to know unique hit figures for the main BBC homepage before and after the new format was launched.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Hello again Donald.

    As my colleague James Thornett blogged a short while ago on these pages, we haven't seen any significant change, post v4 launch. Around nine million users are still accessing the homepage each week.

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    Comment number 17.

    So I take it you can't be bothered replying to my posts Clare.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    William, I have read your comments - thank you. As I mentioned above, the team are working on allowing users to customise their page so they will have more choice over what they see. At the moment, you should get the local news for your area.


  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    At the risk of sounding like Victor Meldrew I do not believe it!

    My homepage used to be the main BBC homepage until it was changed drastically reducing the content with the dreadful carousel across the top. I started using the BBC Scotland homepage which was just what I required in a homepage. The BBC Scotland homepage has now been changed incorporating all the things I disliked about the new BBC main homepage.

    I answered a survey on the BBC Scotland homepage a few weeks ago. I told them how much I like it and how much I disliked the main homepage I was forced to leave as it was difficult to navigate, hard to find relevant content, the background colour was harsh and bland. And where is the local news on the new BBC Scotland homepage?

    I now have to change my homepage AGAIN.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Just visited the Scotland page - on the far right hand column with the sport news, there are two sections - "BBC Sport Scotland" and "Scottish Football".

    In the latter, each of the links ("Scottish Deadline Day as it happen…" etc) are to three stories published on the 31st January 2012 - an error surely?


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