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BBC iPlayer Website Redesign

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Ben Hanbury | 16:00 UK time, Wednesday, 2 July 2008

There were two main challenges in redesigning the new version of BBC iPlayer:

  • improving on the already very popular, easy-to-use existing site
  • and to fully integrate the long-standing Radio Player in a way that was seamless and consistent, giving the user a "one stop shop" to a huge amount of on-demand BBC television and radio content.

A major part of the initial design brief was to offer, where relevant, radio programmes alongside television programmes. This was perhaps quite a controversial decision, as there aren't very many places on the rest of the web where this happens; however, we really wanted to offer both media so that a user interested in, say, history will be able to find the BBC's radio and tv output of an historical bent.

To start the process, we did a lot of brainstorming, creating user personas and mood boards and looking at equivalent non-BBC sites to find out which features make it easier for a user to find what that they want right away and for us to facilitate the discovery of new programmes.

For the visual design, we decided to continue the black, image-rich look, for several reasons.

  • it helps iPlayer to stand out from most other on-demand sites such as YouTube, Hulu, and itv.com which follow the more traditional white-background webby route
  • it seems to give the site a more cinematic, exciting and entertaining feel
  • part of the brief was to keep the look of the site very much based around media playback - this should be particularly evident in the playback page, where the embedded media player takes centre stage and all information which isn't directly to do with playing or finding new content is hidden.

playbackpage.jpg

In terms of the interaction design, we wanted users to quickly and easily find a specific programme. Our solution was to add in proper list and schedule views and to group together multiple episodes of a programme, to avoid having to wade through 15 episodes of Chucklevision before finding Dragons' Den (or vice versa)!

Where a user isn't looking for any specific programme and just wants to find something entertaining to watch or listen to for the next 30 minutes, we developed the carousel feature which appears throughout the site, featuring big images and simple navigation to casually "flick" through a range of programmes.

carousel.jpg

We also wanted iPlayer to become something people use more regularly, out of habit, on a day-to-day basis, so we added features like "Last Played" (which allows users to play programmes from where they left off) and telling the user ahead of time what's going to be available.

We were also keen to bring in the "widget" concept that's used at the new bbc.co.uk homepage to provide other ways of finding content. In future iterations, this is likely to be developed further to allow for a more personalised experience.

widgets.jpg

The final point in our design brief was to bring iPlayer more in keeping with bbc.co.uk as a whole. This involves bringing in the BBC header and footer which the previous site lacked, and using the new global visual language which is currently being implemented throughout bbc.co.uk. The global visual language is a set of guidelines which aim to bring more consistency to the site by introducing an underlying design grid and consistent design patterns, icons, buttons, image sizes and a pan-BBC audio/video player.

As a way of constantly reviewing our work, we also carried out several rounds of usability testing which had a big effect on the site design (particularly around the navigation).

We also conducted a qualitative focus group session of existing users of the iPlayer and Radio Player to gauge their "emotional response" to the new site. There is more quantitative research in the pipeline with a survey of 1,000 users - results are due in at the end of this month.

We're really pleased with the result and will be doing lots of iterations and refinements in the coming months. We're also currently working on implementing this new visual language throughout other iPlayer products across all platforms and devices, so whether you're streaming radio or downloading TV on your Wii, a television, or a mobile, it will feel like one familiar, consistent experience.

Your feedback is an essential part of this, so please do leave a comment.

Ben Hanbury is an Interaction Designer, BBC Future Media & Technology.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I find the lack of a one big promotional spot (the big image on the main page of the current site) a problem. Promoting 'the best' programme is much better than giving me X number of programmes on the carousel. I can't even tell how many programmes are on the carousel, so I've no idea how selective a list it is...

    Plus the fact that none of the BBC iPlayer or embedded media player stuff will work in Firefox for me is somewhat frustrating! Saying the content is not currently available is not terribly helpful!

  • Comment number 2.

    The beta version looks great, looking forward to the final product. I have a question though. Who selects the screengrab for the iPlayer stills? I ask because for programmes such as Eastenders (sorry I'm a big fan) some screen grabs could give away crucial storylines. How do you get around this?

  • Comment number 3.

    The beta doesn't fit onto a TV when using it from a Wii - it extends off the right hand side which is annoying.

    Perhaps you could make it more like the fabulous WiiPlayer?

  • Comment number 4.

    The new iPlayer is bloodly brilliant.

    I've a few little points. I'm using the RealPlayer version as I'm in Belgium right now.

    1) It takes THREE CLICK to get live radio. First you click on the radio station name, then on "listen live" and THEN on the Play button.

    It would be much better if the logos on the front page started the station automatically. Like a radio, if you see my point.

    2) When you are doing a "listen again" with the normal screen and you click "listen in a little window" the content stops and the pop-up window appears and then starts at the beginning.

    It would be better to navigate automatically to the point where you were already. It's a right pain finding where you are again.

    and...

    3) Please can you integrate the podcasts into the iPlayer screens. Just another little "RSS" icon would be just perfect for those radio programmes that have them.

    You can then use the iPlayer to sort your listen-laters too!

    Aside from this, as I say, congratulations to everyone involved, this is the most excellent piece of work I have seen online.

  • Comment number 5.

    I would just like to say, please, please make this available internationally. I would gladly pay some amount to get access to bbc content.

    And also, to echo someone above, 15-20% of people use firefox, please support it.

    Sounds fantastic though

  • Comment number 6.

    Please bring back order by release in the category section of the site, you only have alphabetical listing at the moment.

    It's nice to have the order by release when you are repeatedely looking for fresh content daily in a particular category (e.g. comedy).

  • Comment number 7.

    bmoloney: You can use it outside the UK for radio...

  • Comment number 8.

    I appreciate the drive to integrate everything into the iPlayer
    platform but any chance of having the old RealPlayer links back? I
    notice you keep it around for the Radio player which is very handy.

    Why does this matter? Well I could get video to work with a
    combination of mplayer and mplayerplug-in on my Linux box.
    Unfortunately the Flash based iPlayer still doesn't work with the
    gnash player. Unless the BBC technical bods want to lend a hand to the
    gnash team on filling in the missing bits it needs to support the
    iPlayer?

  • Comment number 9.

    Ed Lyons: Works fine for me in Firefox 3.

  • Comment number 10.

    Just another tiny niggle (I love it, please don't take my comments as anything other then helpful suggestions please).

    The scrolling listings of TV programmes and radio programmes on the home page look great.

    There's just a little usability issue. When you scroll right though the list, see something you like, click on it - then realise you've already heard or seen it and click BACK in the browser, when you return to the home page the scrollers are reset back to the initial position.

    It would be easier to use IMHO if they returned back in the position you left them. I would just save their position in a short-life cookie (say 5 minutes) so the could return to the default after that time.

    Just an idea.

  • Comment number 11.

    iPlayer home page radio icon thoughts..

    If the icons for the radio stations on the home page in the "Radio" box must link to the listen again content, how about sticking a little

    [>] LIVE

    Icon under each one to play the stations immediately?

  • Comment number 12.

    The new version looks great.

    The only problem i had with it was the "more like this" suggestions while in full screen.
    This seems pointless and can be annoying.

    It appears randomly and there is no way to make it go away.... very frustrating if watching a show with subtitles

  • Comment number 13.

    I'll mirror Akyan's comment, show listings within categories should be ordered by release date, newest at the top. Or even better, give multiple ordering options.

    I'll also add that I hate it how sub-categories are ordered by the number of shows each one contains. It was much easier to use when they were ordered alphabetically. This might seem like I'm contradicting myself, but I regularly visit the Science and History categories and the current arrangement means that they shift about the page, making them hard to find.

    Love the way you can now see shows in the context of the TV schedules, and see what's not available as well as what's available. Although it's really annoying that the region keeps defaulting back to London

    Most importantly though, what happened to the promise of ubiquitous RSS feeds? I was looking forward to this feature more than any other, but it doesn't seem to have materialised. What's going on?

  • Comment number 14.

    Briantist: I know it generally works, and it works fine on other computers with Firefox 3 and on Safari on this computer, but it doesn't work on this Firefox 3 install. Frustrating!

  • Comment number 15.

    Double post, but this has been bugging me:

    The channel idents! Can you at least vary them and use a random one each time? I'm fed up of watching the BBC One Rabbit over and over again and trying to click at the end of the bar to skip it... I know you think you need to 'brand' your content, but your audience really doesn't care where the programme came from...

    Ideally, provide an option to skip idents somewhere :)

  • Comment number 16.

  • Comment number 17.

    Is it really necessary to have a damned advertisement at the top of the iPlayer home page?

  • Comment number 18.

    Okay, not sure if anyone has noted this yet, but firstly in general i'm really liked the new beta version, progress being made in every important aspect, apart from one.

    The video quality is better, generally there is more information on the front page, without it feeling cluttered.

    My big problem with it is the awful TV channels, Radio Stations, Categories landing pages, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayerbeta/tv, http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayerbeta/radio, http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayerbeta/categories%29, there is no need for them when the next page down in the hierachy has the same information plus more laid out in a more accessible way, making those landing pages redudant, meaning they are simply an additional barrier between the user and the content.

    Lose those pages and it'll be job done.

  • Comment number 19.

    While I like the new beta version, I do not like the fact that if I middle-click (to load into a new tab) a programme, it will load in a new tab, and the current window.

    I like to browse the programmes list, and if I see something interesting, I'll often load it into a new tab to read the full info before deciding whether to watch the programme.

  • Comment number 20.

    I've had tiny problems with the pause button listening to Marc Riley on 6Music. That's on an XP machine using Firefox 2.0.0.14.

    My only other complaint- and it's more of a suggestion- is that it's a few too many clicks to play the next programme in a schedule.
    I'm not sure if this is a common demand, but it would be nice to have the schedule alongside the radio player so you can easily click into other programmes from that day.
    Personally, I like to listen to Marc Riley followed by Gideon Coe but it's more of a chore to do this than on the old radio player.

    Anything like a simple 'previously/next on this station' box underneath the player like an EPG would be massively helpful for picking out what to listen to after the current programme ends.

  • Comment number 21.

    Wow, thanks for all the comments - we'll make a note of all of the suggestions and feedback raised here and consider it in upcoming iterations.

    A few responses:

    Firstly to comment no.2 by andyteg - we do have a team of picture editors who carefully select the right image for a programme taking into consideration anything which may give away crucial storylines.

    Thanks for your suggestions regarding live radio Briantist (comment no. 4) - you're right making the user take three clicks to access live radio is excessive, we will hopefully resolve this issue very soon.

    In regards to comment no.12 about the fullscreen "more like this" suggestions we're currently looking into how this feature could be more useful and less annoying!

    The RSS feeds mentioned in comment no.13 will arrive shortly.

    Finally in response to hardy24's comment (no.18) about landing pages, this is an issue that we're very aware of which came about initially because when a user clicks on 'radio stations' for example - where should they go? We couldn't take them to a default radio station - but at the same time trying to fit the huge number of stations (including national and local) into some kind of expanding and collapsing menu was very difficult. However we will look into a way of improving this issue soon.

    Thanks very much for all your comments, please keep them coming - they are very useful to us in improving the service that iPlayer offers.

    Ben Hanbury
    Designer on BBC iPlayer

  • Comment number 22.

    Ben,

    Could I suggest a simple menu of options when you hover over "tv channels" or the others.

    Or possibly, a slightly different landing page with the standard left sidebar navigation menu but with a "carousel" of highlights for each radio station or tv channel to both suggest content for the user to watch/listen to and help them to decide which sub section to dig deeper into.

  • Comment number 23.

    Like the beta so far, the schedule has been much anticipated by most users, and the upcoming is really useful. I do find the navigating around the various channels etc. to be quite complicated sometimes, and the A-Z is a bit overwhelming sometimes with the sheer amount of content! One minor improvement I can think of is when expanding the 'show more episodes' part in the A-Z, the episodes are in a completely illogical order. The most recent episode is rightly at the top of the list but then it jumps to the oldest episode below. Flip the expanded episodes around so the oldest episode is at the bottom of the list, so keeping the 'blog' idea of top posting new content, as done with the schedule sidebar. A long winded explanation but hoping it makes sense!

  • Comment number 24.

    The new iplayer causes my entire Broadband connection to crash and reset, particularly when I'm trying to view a different site while running the iPlayer in another browser tab or window. I never knew a single website could do such a thing!

    It's definitely something to do with the difference between the old and new iPlayers, and the previous version had no problem with my set-up. Which is as follows:

    Apple Mac iBook G4
    Mac OS X - Tiger
    O2 Wireless II router, based in UK
    O2 ISP - 15MB home broadband

    I've phoned my ISP (O2), and they say I have to email the BBC and ask them to fix the new iPlayer so it 'allows' my IP address. Please can I have the appropriate email address or Contact page URL to do this? Thanks.


  • Comment number 25.

    I cannot watch Dr Who, the stolen earth without subtitles. I haven't seen it. When will they be available. If you cant give them on Iplayer, which is frankly.. disappointing, then please repeat the episode so that the deaf society can watch it on BBC3 or something.I missed it because the local Tv guide was incorrectly printed. Your help will be much appreciated.

  • Comment number 26.

    I just noticed a blooper. The Doctor Who episode shown on the IPlayer's "screen" is "Planet of the Ood." The episode title that's shown is "The Sontaran Stratagem"...

  • Comment number 27.

    Looks great, and I like that you've got an iPhone version too. However, using the service at home or at work causes my broadband router/modem to hard reset. It's reproducible and can stop me from watch some content. I think this is a common this, there are forums full of people with the same problem.

    Would be great if you could spend some time making the service more reliable as well as better designed.

  • Comment number 28.

    The new look is great, infact the BBC is the best thing on the web (in looks and content). But please hurry, we Mac users are having to wait to download. And i've not seen the last Doctor Who. Tsk!

  • Comment number 29.

    Have just been playing around with the new site, and have noticed a few problems.

    I like the thinking behind the carousels at the top of the page, but a few things concern me:
    - They take up far too much screen real estate for my liking. I know that this is only a first design iteration, but frankly, I don't use them. Do the radio links need such big images?
    - When you scroll through, it's cumbersome to return back to the beginning. If I scroll through to the end (3 or 4 clicks) it takes another 3 or 4 clicks to return to the beginning. Maybe navigable dots like the homepage widget?

    It seems odd that you only list yesterday's listings in the box on the front page. It takes 3 clicks to find shows from another day (TV Stations, Channel, Pick a date). Can we not quickly click between previous days from the front page?

    I think you also need to consider that the average person won't necessarily go looking for a show on your website by channel. When you're viewing a programme on the web, the channel it came from is close to irrelevant, surely? If I go looking for... wimbledon, I'd think 'Sport' not BBC 2. If I go looking for 'Have I Got News For You', I'd more likely think 'Comedy' than BBC 2, or even search for the programme name. Just a thought.

    I've seen plenty of meta-data issues with content appearing on the site, with dates appearing instead of show titles. Are these programmes missing some sort of quality-control? Or is there simply a bad match-up with formats? I also found it interesting that 'Last Choir Standing' was tagged as 'Comedy' - http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00cjnc5 (or maybe I'm missing a joke?)

    Despite all the above comments, I do like the new design. I think it's definitely a forward step rather than a backward one, although I feel the above issues do need to be addressed. I do, however, like the sports and news boxes, and the recently played box. I also like the compact-yet-accessible design of the radio box.

    Also - why's The Mighty Boosh not available this week?! I found it odd...

  • Comment number 30.

    Well done to all of you.

    I use the radio player almost daily and the new version is like going from bread and water to a full-on feast.

    LOVE the fast-forward and rewind slider -- very useable and so nice to have rewind functionality -- the old system of reloading the programme got really tiresome.

    LOVE the volume control -- intelligent design and it works beautifully.

    LOVE the tabs across the top (rather than the old list of everything available) -- the player looks clean, modern and sexy.

    One thing that would be nice... how about a tracklisting link in the player, for programmes with t/l?

    Again, my congratulations on a job brilliantly done. I'm a picky user but I'm very, very satisfied with your new offering.

  • Comment number 31.

    Ben,

    The iPlayer is, indeed, a fantastic accomplishment and much needed. I don't know whether or not you have seen the various forums elsewhere, but the new version of iPlayer is causing all manner of problems...including for me. It somehow crashed the PC's internet connection almost every time. I hope you guys are working on it...because I can't use it anymore!

    - D

  • Comment number 32.

    New iPlayer is Great, however with the old radio player I could open in listen again services real player, and using real player, generate a play list of programmes to listen to.

    Can we have either, access to listen again in real player. Or a Playlist function in iPlayer.

  • Comment number 33.

    Sorry, to post again.

    Just noticed I have no ability to pause live Radio in iPlayer, as we could in the old Radio Player. Have I missed something

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm sorry but I'm really disappointed with the new version - it simply does not work as well as the original, I've never posted on anything before but i love the iplayer so here my thoughts

    It's great for the bbc to have radio and tv together but i (and prob a lot of others) are only interested in tv and its all mixed up in the listings making it hard to navigate and find what you want

    it now takes much longer to find what you want.

    1. you now have to select each channel then
    2. click on the day/date
    3. scroll through each day - checking to see what is and isn't available
    4. then pick your show

    the a-z mixing up radio and tv is so complicated - can we not have an a-z just for tv? - when i go on the iplayer i don't want to spend more a minute selecting a show

    the highlights on the home page don't seem to reflect thats days shows - more the best of the last week - they don't seem to change a lot - are dated really quickly - where's the most recent like before - that kept it fresh

    the navigation is so much more complicated. it was simply and user friendly before - now it feels like the programmes i want to find have to be searched for - and i may or may not find them somewhere

    the search just doesn't seem to work properly anymore? i have typed names of shows i know are available but don't come up in the search

    the nav bar that comes up whenever u click on the screen is unnecessary - i click on the screen if my screen goes darker or to pause it - the nav bar just gets in the way and takes ages to go away - i f i want a news show i'll go to the home page

    sorry this si negative. i love the iplayer adn its the best thing to happen to tv in a very long time. you guys behind it are creating the future of how we watch programmes but you got it right the first time - this version is not an improvement in my opinion for usability

    bring back the old version please


  • Comment number 35.

    I think the new version is greatly improved from the old one. Much more intuitive and easy to use.

    I hope the idea that the flash player goes up to 11 is an obscure nod towards spinal tap, everyone knows it's louder, well done on that technological breakthrough!

    A 'webclip' for the iPhone would be nice, just to make my home screen look a bit tidier (also other parts of the bbc website have them).

    Also, any news of an iPhone application in the pipeline?

  • Comment number 36.

    As of a few weeks ago, none of the BBC video services on the BBCnews, football etc pages work on Firefox. I see by googling the problem that lots of other people have the same problem. What can we do to fix this?

  • Comment number 37.

    The redesign is good, I like it.

    The Apple iPhone support is good too (for people with iPhones, unlike myself), but I have an issue with it. iPhones do not have Flash players, so cannot stream content in the same way that browsers can. To get around this, the content is delivered as non-DRMed MP4 video.

    Now, I use Linux, and my computer will not handle DRMed video, so I can't download content. But it can handle non-DRMed MP4 video with no trouble at all.

    So my question is this: if the BBC is willing to change the format of its content to suit one platform - the iPhone - why will it not do so to suit another - Linux - even though the latter is a free, open source, well used, established platform with many users, while the former is an expensive, proprietary, new platform with relatively few users?

    At the moment I'm limited to streaming video, which is inconvenient, because I don't have a permanent internet connection and would like to be able to watch content offline, and is also in lower quality. Meanwhile, users of that other expensive proprietary software, Microsoft Windows, can download files in high quality to watch whenever they link.

    The BBC is effectively forcing license payers into using proprietary software. As a license payer, I should be able to access the content I have paid for in exactly the same way as any other license payer, but I cannot. That isn't right, and I expect the BBC to do something about it soon.

    (see also comment #8, another user who is at a disadvantage because he chooses to use Linux)

  • Comment number 38.

    Love the new iplayer, at the moment, I have only been using it to listen to radio shows and I'm having problems with the pause button - it just doesnt want to work, I have to click it repeatedly to get it to pause. I'm using Windows XP with Firefox 3.0...

  • Comment number 39.

    I use the iPlayer to listen to Radio and what I really used to like was that on the old radio player it would tell me what song was playing. I really miss this - any chance of bringing it back?

  • Comment number 40.

    Hi

    What i preferred about the old iPlayer was its simplicity; the list of programmes by station or type; the ability to skip forward 5 or 15 minutes; and other functions.

    In the new one I cant even find some of the programmes. And I cant find where the last 7 days programmes are stored.

    Maybe I havent explored it enough yet. I should mention I just use the radio one, so yes, I think they should be seperate.

    kevin

  • Comment number 41.

    I very much like the look and feel of the new iplayer but am really struggling with using it. There are three key problems:

    1. Repeating the comment made at no. 12 above - the 'more like this' carousel that appears in full screen when you move the mouse is a big mistake. It pops up seemingly randomly, obscures the screen and doesn't disappear unless you click out of full screen and back in again. But mostly it is utterly pointless: who would need a suggestion of another programme to watch while they're in the middle of viewing one?

    2. I agree with some of the comments made about the need to separate TV and radio. Combining the two has made it very difficult to browse. Like many people (I imagine) I only use iPlayer for TV. However I can only browse TV shows by clicking on 'categories', then 'TV only', then looking through each category in turn. Why don't you add a 'TV only' or 'radio only' option to the home page?

    3. Since you relaunched, I have problems using iplayer with firefox 3 on a computer running vista. Streaming programmes run fine, but after I've download something the next time I launch firefox I find that all my saved data - bookmarks, home page etc - have disappeared, and webpages don't finish loading. The only way to fix this problem is to uninstall then reinstall firefox. This happens even if I access iplayer through internet explorer. I'm raising this here as I've emailed your technical support team about it but have had no useful response. Incidentally - it might be a good idea to make your technical support messageboards more user-friendly too: searchable, perhaps?

  • Comment number 42.

    I am an overseas user who used the iplayer's predecessor to listen to Radio 2 program replays.

    Since the change, users like myself have found that some of our favorite programs are not available in replay, even weeks after the changeover. (In my case, I get an "Audio streaming not available" message if I try to replay Alex Lester's Radio 2 program) The program is available as a live play, but not as a replay.

    Please post a notice that the problem is being worked on and a notice when a fix has been identified.

    The simple player was fine for the uses I made of it, and the tweaks of the iplayer should aim to make it as simple and intuitive as possible. Pare down the number of clicks needed to do basic tasks.

    That said, the player has real promise when the problems get worked out.

  • Comment number 43.

    Inconsistent and unhelpful listings of Radio Drama programmes in iPlayer

    For context, I'm looking at:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/radio/bbc_radio_four/drama

    1 For the Afternoon Play, only three of the five current programmes are listed. The other two current ones are listed separately.

    2 The primary titles of the Afternoon Play, Book at Bedtime, Book of the Week, Friday Play, Saturday Play, Classic Serial and Woman's Hour Drama are missing. Please include these primary titles; they are the titles people and publications refer to.

    3 Book of the Week should be included in the Drama category.

    4 For the Afternoon Plays, I appreciate seeing the inclusion of the original date of broadcast in the case of repeats, but would prefer to see (on the initial iPlayer page) the date of the current date of broadcast, which is less confusing when trying to listen again. The original date of broadcast should perhaps be included in the 'show information' panel for the programme itself. Bizarrely, the show information panel lists only the current date of broadcast in the case of repeats.

    5 In the listings for the Afternoon Readings, some entries have titles only, some entries have dates only.

    6 I appreciate the inclusion of 'Episode 1', 'Episode 2' etc in appropriate places (Book at Bedtime, for example). This helps (and is essential) when listening again.

    7 I suggest the titling format should be:

    - Title [unless obvious from the title of the 'programme'], Episode [if applicable]
    - Blurb
    - Date

    8 The categorisation of Radio Drama is doomed to failure in my view unless you have a mountain of resources. You do not have that mountain of resources. The current entries in the current categorisations demonstrate how hopeless the attempt will be.

    Russ

  • Comment number 44.

    Wednesday, Anna, the host of Radio 4's 'Choice Is Yours' Message Board, recommended to posters on the 'Are You Happy With The New iPlayer?' thread that they cross-post to the iPlayer blog and other related blogs.


    I'm in Canada, and Radio 4 has been basically unavailable since Friday, Aug. 8, as 'Listen Again' - and for much of the time 'Listen Live" also returns the message "Audio not available at this time" Chunks of BBC7 and Radio 3 are also 'Audio not available at this time' on BBC iPlayer, although BBC7's LA page is still working and Radio 3's The Essay works when you access LA at The Essay page on Radio 3's website.

    The iPlayer is glitzy, glamourous even. However, these first few weeks it's been slow to load, cumbersome to navigate, unstable, and unreliable. With the old Radio Player it was possible to launch a program and continue to work in other applications. Not with iPlayer. In other words, iPlayer is everything the old Radio Player was not. Just compare the two for ease of use and stability. The Radio Player is still attached to the International Version of the BBC Radio's Home Page and offers the World Service and a few other stations. The difficulties start with the fact that you have to switch to the UK Version of the Home Page just to access BBC iPlayer.

    The whole thing seems geared to UK television viewers, which is fine, but radio is a different medium. Radio listeners don't need a photo of a young woman in bed reading a book - they want to listen to 'Book At Bedtime'. The different mediums really need different players, particularly for those who listen via the internet. iPlayer by the way stalls and restarts and stops and restarts - perhaps it's buffering instead of streaming?

    I've been listening to BBC Radio via the internet while working for the last 5 years while (knowing that if I have a phone call or other interruption I can just reset the current program) And on every survey I've answered for you, I've said I'm willing to pay a reasonable monthly fee (C$5-10 a month, which is more than the $2.00 a month I pay the cable company for BBC World - it's part of a package deal). However, that willingness to pay was based on the ease of use and reliability of Radio Player.

    A number of Radio 4 and BBC7 listeners have posted work-arounds, which allow you to access and listen to programs that iPlayer thinks don't exist, but work-arounds shouldn't be necessary.

    My suggestion would be to restore full functionality and station line-up to the Radio Player on the International Version home page and leave the glamourous iPlayer for UK users.

  • Comment number 45.

    Further to my previous comment (#43), the unhelpful listings situation for R4 Drama has gone from bad to worse. Only one of the five Afternoon Plays is now appearing on iPlayer.

    Russ

  • Comment number 46.

    The idea that the flash player goes up to 11 is an obscure nod towards spinal tap, everyone knows it's louder, well done on that technological breakthrough.. http://www.birsesver.com

 

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