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MOTs: Putting h2g2 through its paces

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Seetha Kumar Seetha Kumar | 13:40 UK time, Friday, 7 August 2009

One of my priorities in my first year as Controller has been to introduce a regular editorial review of every significant component of BBC Online. The BBC is about quality, trust, and relevance and these values need to be imbued across all our output.

Editorial reviews are an intrinsically creative process which needs to be embraced by site owners. The logic is simple - if you take pride in what you do, and care about your user, it is a win win. How else do we improve our offer? There must be wisdom and benefit in standing back, interrogating what we have in order to understand what's not quite working or what's working well - in which case there are shared learnings. In the end it's all about pushing ourselves to offer real utility to our users, and in a way that clarifies our point of differentiation in the market place.

It's never easy when you introduce something new. After three trial runs we have come up with a blueprint for how to run the reviews - or MOTs as we call them. I like the MOT analogy. We are all used to testing cars which have to be kept roadworthy after three years - now I am hoping that the BBC Online teams will get used to having their websites tested to ensure they serve our audiences well and meet our current quality and accessibility standards.

2cv_300.jpgAs part of the ongoing MOT process we'll be reviewing the h2g2 website next week. h2g2 is one of the BBC's few websites that has no broadcast equivalent on TV or radio, and it relies wholly on its users' contributions for its content. As such we thought it'd be good to share some of the thinking that goes into an MOT and we'd invite you to contribute to our thinking on this occasion.

The Online MOT has a core set of questions which the website owners should answer. The broad themes are:

  • Strategic fit: How does this site fit into the wider BBC Online service? Does it serve the BBC's public purposes clearly?

  • Place in the market: Where does it sit in the wider UK market? How does it relate to external sites covering similar themes?

  • Audience: What is the key audience need that the site seeks to meet? What is the target demographic?

  • Quality: Does the site clearly display the BBC's editorial values of accuracy, independence, impartiality, taste and decency.? Does the sit adhere to our publisher principles? Does it meet best practice technical, UX and accessibility standards?

So as we prepare for h2g2's MOT we'd value your comments on h2g2 to include as part of the review. We'll be following up with news on the outcome of the h2g2 MOT in more posts over the coming weeks.

Seetha Kumar is Controller, BBC Online.

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