BBC Internet Blog

James Price

New Homepage: Your Feedback

Thanks for your responses [comments | reactions via Tehnorati | reactions via Google] to my post below, Homepage Two Months On.

I've got a few responses:

  • Let me reassure everyone that video won't be playing automatically when you visit the BBC homepage. We hate it too! There'll be a static picture with a "click to play" button, along with the ability to mute the sound. Further down the line, subtitles may be available, too. And we don't intend to serve up video clips all of the time: text and photographs will continue to be part of the mix up in that top section of the page.
  • AndyAutomatic and others are quite right to point out the limitations the current cookie-based method of storing your preferences. There is a project underway which will enable users to keep the same profile, whatever computer they use. You'll have to be patient with us though, as this "portable identity" is still some months away.
  • It's interesting that not everyone is keen on the idea of non-BBC widgets, and I take the point that there are plenty of alternatives if you want to check your webmail and whatnot. However, for those who want the BBC set as their main portal page onto the internet, it's important. Indeed, we've had quite a bit of feedback from people specifically requesting the ability to add non-BBC services. But there's no need to fear the page getting cluttered (saintrumbly), as such widgets won't be visible on the page by default. Only those specifically seeking them out will see them.
  • Perhaps I should have made it clearer that new stuff won't be appearing on the beta immediately... but by the end of May, you should start seeing new modules and other enhancements sliding into view.
  • And for those wanting a sneak preview, here's a draft design of the upcoming "food" widget...


James Price is the editor of the BBC homepage.


  • 1. At 2:43pm on 28 Apr 2008, T_Rehman wrote:

    Lots of customization, great. What about the the choice to revert back to the old style layout? Any chance of that?

    I just found it tons more efficient.

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  • 2. At 2:57pm on 28 Apr 2008, o_r_i_g_i_n_a_l wrote:

    Yes, the best customization option ever would be to allow us to change the old layout. Please!

    BBC, you're breaking my heart. You're shaking my confidence daily. Oh, BBC, I'm down on my knees, I'm begging you please to let me change the home. Let me change the home!

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  • 3. At 4:30pm on 28 Apr 2008, Up Your Ego wrote:

    Why do people not like the new homepage? Do a search for the old one in Google Images - it was ugly compared to the new one and pretty much useless as it didn't really do anything.

    It basically had promo links to a few items of BBC content and had a couple of top news stories.

    The new homepage has all of that BUT it also lets you customise so you only see what you want to be.

    If you reallly want a simple homepage just go into customise and turn everything but News and Weather off - simple.

    Have the people complaining most about the new look actually used and played with the customise options? I have a friend at work who hated the homepage until I customised it for him - now he prefers it.

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  • 4. At 10:16pm on 28 Apr 2008, oldsaxon wrote:

    While we're on the subject of video... I still can't watch it in Firefox. It's hardly a niche browser. Is there an extension I can install to fix this? Or is there something you can do with the website to sort it out?

    Not being able to view video just as the BBC increases the amount it puts on its site is just a little bit annoying. Perhaps you should get technical hitches sorted first.

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  • 5. At 10:38pm on 28 Apr 2008, T_Rehman wrote:

    upyourego (post 3), yes I have bothered to use the customization options. They're nice and all but they don't improve my browsing experience.

    I still have to scroll in the homepage to read the headlines I'm interested in; my eyes are still bombarded by the noisy design; the news page design is still too spaced out; customizing to a smaller font messes up the layout in firefox; and the large promo ad means I can only ever see one full widget without scrolling.

    It's a shame that I can no longer get my news at a glance. Yes I do understand it's a work-in-progress, but I would love the option of reverting to the old minimal layout.

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  • 6. At 06:51am on 29 Apr 2008, MunzlyMan wrote:

    I have to say that generally speaking most of your posted videos are decidedly disappointing.

    They tend to be too presenter orientated and lack in depth detail; candy-floss when I'd rather have a steak dinner.

    Give me a well written, cliché free, text report every time, preferably not in journalese. One with plenty of properly researched data and relevant graphics, not just a silly-pic pulled out of some stock-photo heap.

    There was a time when the BBC was the touchstone of good well written ENGLISH, sadly this is no longer the case. I have no objection to regional accents, but let's ensure that this doesn't interfere with the meaning or irritate the listener so much that they miss the point of the report.

    BBC ENGLISH was used, not to be posh, but because it was universally understandable!

    I've no doubt that you will now bore us all silly with the appalling Austrian sex crime by presenting it with too much emphasis, assigning too much space to it for too long and in a style verging on the "Tabloid."

    For goodness sake stop this over emphasis on headline stories - you are presenting a service not selling newspapers.

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  • 7. At 07:04am on 29 Apr 2008, Alex wrote:

    "oldsaxon" (post 4) - the video all plays fine for me in Firefox - it just doesn't work in Safari!

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  • 8. At 07:56am on 29 Apr 2008, SheffTim wrote:

    Just tried posting a message - plain text - and get a - contains invaild HTML and cannot be posted message. I took out all brackets, apostrophes etc. and still got it.

    PS Video plays OK in my Firefox
    PPS I have noticed that apostrophes come out as question marks in comments.

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  • 9. At 2:28pm on 29 Apr 2008, Soul News wrote:

    I think the new site is cool. though on older browsers without great javascript (like at my office) the new "explore the bbc" button doesn't do anything. You could code it with a fallback link or something.

    Also, in firefox the text to the left of right-aligned images still gets shrunken.

    Finally, as someone currently outside the UK, can we PLEASE do something about the advert frequency?? Every time i watch a 10 second clip I'm subjected to the SAME 15 second "Have you had some good news..." Hyundai advert!! Its getting to the stage where I want to go out and smash up some Hyundais!

    Can't u guys use cookies to check advert frequency, and not show them more than once every 5 minutes or something???

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  • 10. At 9:42pm on 29 Apr 2008, andyautomatic wrote:

    Always nice to know your comments are read... and by a human being too!

    Looking forward to customisation update, particularly with the external widgets appearing - netvibes will stay as my homepage for the time being, but a Gmail checker will make me switch! Can't wait for the food widget too!

    Video sounds very interesting, but I do wish more effort would be made with the image based promos. I've sent feedback about this a couple of times as I'm so often amazed by how incredibly amateurish the designs are. I can't help but think that the simple photo/semitransparent text combos should be used for all promos as any time the design team 'gets creative' its shocking how bad the results are! Misplaced, poorly proportioned text, very random fonts and irritatingly small iPlayer logos (what's with the Panorama promo tonight?!) are just a few of the things that make me grimace on a daily basis... please get these sorted before you even think about introducing video!

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