Releasing a Labs version of the BBC Radio homepage
This BBC Radio homepage is now live. You may find Chris Kimber's blog post about your feedback on this Labs version, and the live launch of interest - update Ian McDonald, 2 Nov 2011
A screenshot of the Radio 1 Labs release
Today marks an important (if relatively modest) step for BBC radio on digital platforms, as we release a Labs version of the new BBC Radio homepage.
I'm an Executive Product Manager in BBC Future Media working on what will eventually (sometime during 2012) become the Radio and Music product, in line with the BBC's strategy for a small number of cross platform products, as outlined by Director of FM Ralph Rivera and previous Director Erik Huggers.
Today is the very first step on the ladder, as we have spent recent months building the foundations and are now keen to start to get feedback from users on this release of the Radio homepage.
Working with a multi-disciplinary team I am responsible for steering the direction of the product. We do this based on usage of our current radio and music sites, such as Radio 1 and Radio 4, and the extensive research we have carried out with radio listeners, mixed with some strongly held views from technical and editorial teams about the potential user experiences for our content and brands in the digital space.
Our first release is very much a Labs release, which means it's not completely ready to replace the current Radio homepage.
There are many features we'd like to introduce which are on our backlog, but instead of waiting another month or so we are keen to allow you to preview and feedback on the work, allowing us to catch any major issues before it goes fully live, and add some of your feature requests to our backlog.
The Radio homepage serves multiple purposes: for some it's a quick navigational page to get to a radio station's website. For others it's the destination itself, allowing you to find out what's on right now, and listen live to any BBC station via the Radioplayer pop-out console. Our Labs release makes both of those journeys easier, but also presents each stations' most recent and most popular on-demand programmes and clipped highlights (where available). For example, Radio 1, 5 live and Radio Scotland.
It also allows you to move very quickly and easily between this radio station overview via a new toolbar at the top of the page, which mirrors real life behaviour of radio listeners most of whom listen to more than one BBC station. This extends the concept of a "station tab" which exists on the current BBC Radio page and, importantly, does not replace the existing network homepages which are prominently linked.
We are still experimenting with various new ways of presenting all this information and content, and for now, we'd love you to have a play with the new Labs radio homepage and click the feedback link to tell us what you think.
Chris Kimber is Executive Product Manager Radio and Music, BBC Future Media