BBC News on mobile: now with local news and weather

Tuesday 14 August 2012, 14:55

Kate Milner Kate Milner Mobile Product Manager

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Photo of tablet and smartphone, both showing news and weather for Shropshire

News homepage on a tablet and smartphone customised for a user in Shropshire

Back in March I wrote about the relaunch of the BBC News mobile site.

Since then, my development team has been busy adding new features and functionality. Our latest update is particularly exciting because smartphone users in the UK can now personalise the news homepage with local news and weather. You can search by town or postcode, or if you phone supports it, you can use the "Use my location" button.

From then on, the news homepage will remember your settings and will give you the weather forecast for the next few hours, in three-hourly chunks, as well as the top headlines in your local area. You can easily change your settings to pick up a new location.

I'm really pleased with this new addition as it's something you've particularly been asking us for.

The BBC News development team, based in Broadcasting House in London, works in an iterative development style, using research and data to inform the next priorities. We're always aiming to ensure we are adding real improvements for our users, so your feedback is really important to us.

We've been quietly releasing updates every fortnight or so. This week's update also includes some improvements to the landscape layout for tablets, and you'll see we've added extra pictures to story pages.

Since March we have also:

  • improved the navigation so you can more easily find news sections such as Business, Technology, Health and so on
  • made it easier to find related news articles, including analysis from our top correspondents
  • added the ability to share a story using email, Facebook & Twitter (more improvements still to come)
  • improved our Live pages so it's even easier to follow the latest and breaking developments on a big story
  • made layout improvements for portrait and landscape viewing on all mobiles

We're working on further improvements for mobile and tablet users. We're using an innovative approach called responsive design, to offer an optimised experience across a range of devices, from basic mobiles through to the very latest smartphones and tablets. Eventually this approach will also extend to the desktop browser. Our aim is to offer the same BBC News content across devices, while making the most of their multiple screen sizes and capabilities.

If you're interested in finding out more, my boss Chris Russell, has explained the thinking behind the responsive design approach.

I hope you like the changes so far. Please let me know, by commenting on this post or sending an email to

Kate Milner, Mobile Product Manager for News, Future Media

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    That's strange. When I view the homepage on IE9 on Windows Phone, there's only one column of content. This happens in landscape as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    In light of Adobe dropping mobile flash, /and now withdrawing it from the Android store/ please can you now look at redeveloping your streaming content for HTML5?

    I /don't/ want to stream Sky news on my WP7 phone, I want to stream BBC News. I also want to see iPlayer content.

    So: "Our aim is to offer the same BBC News content across devices" - sure, but you've /never/ supported streaming for non-Flash devices, except back in the old days when you were using Real Player.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    @2 Al Feersum

    This really makes me grind my teeth. The BBC is quite happy to give the full HTML 5 monty to iThing users, but the rest of us had to put up with Flash.

    With the demise of Flash on Android I am hoping that users of non Apple devices (i.e. the majority) will now be treated the same (as Apple users), but comments from Daniel Danker about being in talks with Adobe have me worried.

    My guess is they are going to go with Adobe Air (for Android, at least). Considering how shocking ITV Player is (which uses Air), it doesn't fill me with hope.

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.


    Thanks for your comments, but this blog post isn't really about video streaming.

    On the other hand, Dave Price has just blogged about upgrades to the video player. I'll remove further off-topic comments on this post.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Oh dear!

    I have on the active desktop (in XP) on my PC a small IE window, which was just wide enough for the old mobile news site to be shown. Now, instead of a page fitting nicely in the window, I suddenly find that I see a small portion of the full-sized page which is much too wide for the window.

    I'm guessing that the new website is sensing the size of my full screen and so sending me the full-size web page which is not what I want in this case. Wouldn't it be better if it fitted to the size of the window in which it's displayed rather than the full size of the screen?

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    What has happened to the BBC News mobile edition in the past few days? I click on and just get redirected to the normal BBC News homepage which is a pain to navigate on my Sony Xperia Arc S phone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    What have you done now. After getting used to the rubbish refresh of your mobile site back in March it has now stopped working all together and I am redirected to the full web page.
    Make your minds up

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    What is the problem with trying to access ? I believe most people who have tried this are less than amused by being redirected. What is that redirection good for other than annoying people? If I really wanted to go to I'd find my way ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    This weekend Ive noticed that the redirection is not happening, and Im just getting the normal BBc site on my iphone.
    Ive tried this on a few browsers and changed the browser flag in there from sfaari to others, but makes no difference, what has changed?
    This is teh same for the homepage and the sports page. They are pretty impossible to view on a mobile.
    Just going to the m site is ok, but hit a link and your back to the old site.


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