h2g2: an update
The first stage of the MOT for h2g2 was held last week. Taking part were representatives from strategy, audience research, commissioning and of course the h2g2 team themselves led by Nick. The opening MOT session usually takes about two hours and then we agree a timetable for reporting and next steps. Those of us who lead the reviews try to make the atmosphere in the room positive and collaborative in order to really dig into the issues as honestly and objectively as possible. Here are some of the headlines...
In terms of audience size and appreciation h2g2 does well (150k or so weekly users) and is clearly much loved by those who use it (and thanks to all of you who contributed so thoughtfully to this blog). Here are some of the slides from the audience research presentation and below them some of the thoughts and questions that came out of the discussion.
What works?The editorial quality of the best of The Guide, the "serendipity factor" and the very strong, collaborative community.
What needs improving?The look and feel is woefully outdated now - but thankfully the new design is in hand. Links to the rest of BBC Online and the BBC's output could be improved.
What is the strategic fit?This was the longest part of the discussion. h2g2 was brought into the BBC in another era, and while the community is strong and purposeful and the Guide has some great content, it is very hard to describe what it is to anyone unfamiliar with it. While h2g2 does to some degree "inform, educate or entertain" is this enough in itself to justify future funding? How can we build on the welcoming and collaborative atmosphere of the community? Can it be used to reach out to new users and introduce them to the benefits of online interactivity? Lots of questions. Our next task is to set about finding the answers...
Sophie Walpole is a Portfolio Executive, BBC Online.
Ed's note: Nick Reynolds is away on holiday at the moment but will be back in a week or so and will let us know more about future plans for h2g2. (PM)
Ed's update: I should have credited the "42" image used in the first slide at the top of the post. It was created by Wikipedia user Martinultima and posted under this licence: Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. Apologies and thanks to Shoobot for pointing this out. The original image can be found here. (PM)