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A New Homepage for BBC Online

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James Thornett James Thornett | 10:30 UK time, Wednesday, 30 November 2011

New homepage screenshot

 

Two months ago the beta version of a new UK homepage for BBC Online was launched, for public use and feedback. My colleague Phil Fearnley published a post at the time to explain the strategic importance of the new homepage and I wrote about the key features in more detail.

Today the homepage that's been running in beta launches in full, and will be the homepage of BBC Online in the UK from now on. For those of you who haven't yet seen it, you can take a look now.

Since the beta launch ten weeks ago we've had three hundred comments on the blogs, over twenty thousand responses to our online survey, and over two and a half thousand direct emails. We have reviewed all your comments, and I'd like to thank those of you who took the time to test the beta and provide feedback. On my previous blog post you can read my responses to some of your comments.

The BBC Homepage occupies a unique position within the BBC Online portfolio as it can showcase the full breadth of the BBC's content.

Audience research told us that users wanted to see the home page do a better job of promoting a greater variety of BBC Online content, to serve a wider range of audience interests.

This isn't easy due to the range of content across BBC Online, but with this redesign we have tried to create a more representative page for the whole service.

But it's important that the homepage continues to meet the needs of the nine million or so users who already visit the page every week, while also extending the page's appeal to the many other licence fee payers who come to BBC Online every month.

Your chosen location has been positioned at the top of the page, alongside the date and time, as a way of indicating the importance of relevant local content. And the weather forecast, always a popular feature, is more prominent as well. Alongside this key information the page also offers a much wider range of the best and most popular content from BBC Online.

Audience research also indicated that the old BBC homepage could be more distinctive: many people who responded confused it with the front page of the BBC News site (bbc.co.uk/news). Many people who only want News or Sport already go straight to the BBC News and BBC Sport homepages, bypassing the BBC Homepage. However, some users get their News and Sport via the BBC homepage.

A significant proportion of traffic is referred to BBC News and BBC Sport from the main BBC homepage - 44% and 35% to each respectively during July of 2011.

So News, Local news and Sport remain clearly signposted and are positioned higher up on the new homepage - getting more headlines 'above the fold'.

The approach we have taken in developing the new homepage is to make it easy to find the content you need every day and, we hope, discover something new from the BBC at the same time.

BBC Director of Future Media Ralph Rivera has talked about his vision of connected storytelling, a sort of 'serendipitous discovery' across the portfolio of BBC Online family of websites.

Results from the beta test site indicate that the majority of BBC websites have received a greater proportion of traffic from the new homepage. The page is performing as intended following the redesign which is the reason we're now launching it for all users.

Some regular users of the BBC Homepage, especially those interested in News and Sport information, were less keen on the Beta Homepage and provided some really useful feedback which we have acted on. We hope that the new Homepage balances their needs with those who want to see the full breadth of BBC content

As well as high- quality news and sport there's award-winning children's content in the recently refreshed CBeebies and CBBC sites, 'Knowledge & Learning' sites such as Your Paintings, Wildlife Finder or Bitesize, and two entertainment services in the shape of BBC iPlayer and an evolving BBC Radio online presence.

Development of the new BBC Homepage doesn't stop here. It introduces a new smart filtering tool (the bar that is labelled BBC online today/entertainment etc) that allows you to see more of the type of content you most want.

In the beta testing some of you told us that you didn't like losing the more detailed customisation that was available in the previous version. My team is working on ways to introduce customisation back into the product for those who want it.

We promised major improvements in our access to content from the nations (based on a user's choice of location) and this will be introduced shortly. In the new year a traffic and travel news module will be launching, again with information based on a user's location preference.

In the meantime, the existing feedback options are still available. You can leave a comment underneath this blog - I read them all - complete the survey, or feedback via email to HomepageBetaFeedback@bbc.co.uk.

Thanks to all of you who engaged with the beta and told us your thoughts - they've been valuable in shaping the launch product.

James Thornett is Head of Homepage product, BBC Future Media

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Comments

Page 1 of 11

  • Comment number 1.

    Hideous!

  • Comment number 2.

    Please can we have the old homepage back!

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi James, nice to see the new homepage go live after all these months. I must say I'm upset to see a lack of Dick van Dyke or Badgers on there though.

    More seriously, I don't seem to be able to see my local TV or radio stations on the page any more. What's the timescale on reintroducing this functionality that's rather important to us who live outside of London?

  • Comment number 4.

    Awful new home page - looks to me as if has been dumbed down - leaving me with the impression that the content will be less relaiable - more 'media driven'. I now feel as if the BBC has lost some of its its authority and reputation. Will be changing my home page ...

  • Comment number 5.

    Can we have the old website back please. I agree with andy the new beta version is hideous!!! Very bland & poorly designed. Bring back the old version.

  • Comment number 6.

    Well, today it's gone live and as a result of the confusing mess, I have changed my browsers' hompages to a non BBC site which supplies me with the current affairs headlines I used to get from BBC Homepage, rather than the much fewer selected items the BBC which to push at me. I might dip back later to see if James has either resigned or reacted to the public and licence payers' optinion. BYE-BYE everyone ...

  • Comment number 7.

    Months ago i took a quick look at beta, and hated the thing, i gave feedback on my experience and lo and behold its been forced upon us, its awful!

  • Comment number 8.

    Truly awful. If the old homepage is not restored very soon, I will be going elsewhere.

  • Comment number 9.

    @Colin (#6) - If it's exclusive news you want on your homepage, why not use the BBC News homepage? You seem to be one of the people James mentions halfway through this blog post

  • Comment number 10.

    The new home page is a problem for two main reasons. First, you say it is designed to "do a better job of promoting a greater variety of BBC Online content". I do not want it to be a marketing tool - and for it to be presented in this way is a betrayal of public service values. Second, the customization is inadequate: it allows you to see MORE, but not to see LESS. There are items I want to be able to remove (for me: sport, entertainment, money), so that what remains is more useable. I've had the BBC as my Home Page since it began. But I think I now might need to look for a new one, alas.
    David Hendy.

  • Comment number 11.

    Glad you kept the clock!

  • Comment number 12.

    Awful ... absolutely dreadful ... The BBC homepage used to be unique, colorful, informative and customizable ... it has been replaced by something pretending to be Windows 8 ... and I will no longer have it set as my homepage ... so sad after many years of usage.

    PLEASE reinstate the old one it was better in EVERY possible way

  • Comment number 13.

    Absolutely vile! I had the old homepage set up so that with one click I could get all the information I needed throughout the day. I just counted 12 clicks to access only half of it. Let us customise the new home page or give us back the old one or I shall be going elsewhere.

  • Comment number 14.

    Love it. Clean, easy to navigate, and a true overview of what's on the BBC now.

    Best of all - and don't listen to those who say you don't listen - you've listened to my feedback which asked for things in the Whats On section to link to their /programmes pages rather than their /iplayer pages.

    Thanks for all the hard work.

  • Comment number 15.

    I also gave negative feedback about the beta version before it went live but obviously too much time & money had been spent on it for our views to to listened to. I'm also going to reluctantly change my homepage as I can't stand this awful new version.

  • Comment number 16.

    Colin - where did you find a good, customisable feeds-type homepage?

    I loved the fact that I could have the BBC homepage locked+autorefreshed in my browser to get a homepage full of text links to interesting (to me) articles. No unnecessary pictures taking up space and no irrelevant TV/entertainment/iPlayer links.

    It's a shame that I will now not get to read many BBC articles in the technology/business/nature/science sections because I simply won't know they exist. Is there anywhere else on the BBC site where I can get links to the latest articles in these sections _on a single page_?

  • Comment number 17.

    The home page launched as a beta, you invited comment, we gave you the rquested feedback (some 200+ comments on one blog - mostly negative), you tinkered with the cosmetics of the beta site - but didn't address the general thrust of the majority of comments, you announced the beta has gone live as a full site, and you closed the blog.

    Can you answer what was the point of the feedback we offered?

  • Comment number 18.

    At the moment it's a mess, and has far too much space taken up with pictures.
    I had the old website customised to maximise what interested me (eg news, weather), minimise things I looked at occasionally (eg cookery, finance) and omit those in which I had no interest (eg sport). If this version can develop to that stage then it will be OK, if not then I may be looking for a new homepage too.

  • Comment number 19.

    @foolonthehill and others who would prefer a feeds based page.

    Many BBC web pages, including blogs and news indices, have feeds that you could mix and match in a feed reader. If you want the feeds, they're all there.

    The BBC News help page about feed readers has more information.

  • Comment number 20.

    You said in your original justification for this change to the BBC website

    "The primacy of links to these products has attracted an audience skewed more towards ‘male’ and ‘ABC1’ demographics than BBC Online as a whole."

    Congratulations on a total success on getting rid of this particular ABC1 male.


    Goodbye.

    (And thanks for all the fish)

  • Comment number 21.

    @9 Gareth - you are right that the News homepage is now the best replacement for the old homepage.

    However, there are fewer overall links in total on this page, and the links that are there are subject to the whims of the news editors. For instance, I tend to read more articles from the Technology and Politics news sections, but there are always fewer links on the homepage promoting these sections.

    It seems the only answer for me is to open a page for every sub-section I am interested in.

  • Comment number 22.

    Utterly awful in just about every way imaginable. I do not own an iPad and neither I suspect do the majority of your visitors. On a desktop PC it is neither intuitive or aesthetically pleasing. Nice to see that you have ignored pretty much all the feedback you received with regards to this.

  • Comment number 23.

    I have just done the survey again to try to be more specific about my comments.

    Summarising: unspeakable. My last reason for visiting the bbc website regularly, often several times a day, has now been removed.

    To give my age group away: I get really grumpy thinking about the waste of our, licence payer, money producing this sort of rubbish.

  • Comment number 24.

    The new home page is a big miss for me. I no longer have a single page where I can access information relevant to me. I now have what's popular (in the BBC's opinion) and not what I want to see.

  • Comment number 25.

    Personally I prefer the new home page over the old one, perhaps helped by getting used to it during the beta testing. The recent tweaks to the news & sports panels is an improvement to the original beta version, and looks more professional. Similarly the recent changes to the carousel links make it clearer that they are tabs.

    Still cue lots of the inevitable "I hate it", "bring back the old version", and "waste of licence fee" posts.

  • Comment number 26.

    Complete and utter disgrace. I won't repeat all the criticisms above; except to say that the loss of the ability to view, on one page, all the things I may find interesting, is terminal, as far as I am concerned. One example is the 'Sports News', which used to be 'general stories' which were usually (and still are) mostly football; but at least one could add sevaral specific sports, in which one was interested. Now we get 'Sport' (i.e. Football) plus 'Football'...Shocking! As for the endless columns, full of BBC programmes on iplayer, surely anyone, who cared, would know what they have missed on TV? BBC promotes its programmes, well enough, on its TV channels. If one misses those promotions, may I respectfully suggest the reason is that they do not watch much of it; so are unlikely to care what they missed? Brainless.

  • Comment number 27.

    ps. Any chance of James and his team going on strike for a long period?

  • Comment number 28.

    @19 Ian, I use a RSS feed reader for many parts of the BBC website, including the blogs and I agree using RSS is a compromise solution, but it is hard to replace many of the widgets that were so easily included on the homepage: market data? weather? h2g2? weird/wonderful? most read? featured blog?

    Unfortunately, RSS also has all sorts of other issues associated with it, least of all the necessity to use two different platforms - it was the integration of lots of BBC elements in one place that I liked. There is also huge inconsistency between your feeds, with some releasing full text (like this one), others with just a tagline and some with a big mess of text with no punctuation.

    I'm sure that I will find another solution which works for me, it's just frustrating that you are removing functionality that was useful, to replace it with something that, in reality, is designed for a different target market. The new homepage is probably good for the purpose you have identified, but you have just dumped your old target audience.

  • Comment number 29.

    Thank you all for your prompt comments.

    As always, if you do not like the changes then please let me know specifically what you do not like and how you would like to see the homepage improved.

    Although we have moved from Beta to Live today our work on the page will continue and you will see further changes coming up that I hope will improve your experience of the BBC homepage.

    Some of you have noticed that Local Radio stations and TV channels are not yet selectable in the What's On module. We are working on this at the moment and this will be available very soon, based on your location preference which can be set by clicking on the location at the top of the page (next to the clock).

    James

  • Comment number 30.

    More pictures and less content sums it up.

    I've just changed my home page to www.bbc.co.uk/news where I seem to still be able to get most of the content I had before.

  • Comment number 31.

    I quite like it. It is easy to change your location (and the quick weather at-a-glance is nice), but I would like more configuration options, which was a strength of the old page. I have no interest in sport and would like to replace that with a link to the science/technology page.
    Also, is it possible to control the scroll window via the keyboard? In common with many people, I use the cursors to scroll through webpages, and being able to quickly use them to go left/right would be handy.
    Also, the Tabs don't seem to bear much relation to the scroll window conent. There are 5 tabs on the bar and 3 scroll destinations, is this deliberate?

  • Comment number 32.

    Well James you could fix it by giving us back our old page. If it ain't broke don't fix it!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    I see there are a few positive comments... I suppose if I was interested in football and 'Cash in the Attic' I'd like it too. Big pictures will certainly be helpful should I ever forget how to read.

    Would someone kindly let me know when you put it back to how it was and I'll start using it again. Oh, and it would be really nice if you could tell the weather page where I live so I don't have to keep reminding it.

    I do hope you didn't spend the whole cost of ten live Grands Prix on this.

  • Comment number 34.

    James, you say how many survey response you have had, and also mention the blog feedback. What is the summary data of those responses? You talk about the research you conducted prior to the redesign and seem to place great store on that information yet now you have 'real' direct feedback to the site (rather than focus groups responding to concepts) how does that disparity between your research and the feedback influence the next stage?

    It appears that very little of the feedback we have all seen on the blog has been taken into account in the tweaks you have made. Why did you discount the value of that feedback and seemingly ignore it? Was it not supported by the survey results?

  • Comment number 35.

    Awful, you totally ignored my feedback on the Beta.
    If the old homepage is not restored very soon, I will be going elsewhere.

  • Comment number 36.

    Another thing, could every entry on the carousel have a text pop-up summarising the content? That would be very useful for the iPlayer links.

  • Comment number 37.

    James, can you announce the traffic figures to the old home page from last week?
    This will enable us in a few weeks to do a traffic comparison. I suspect there are a lot of people searching for a new home page to bookmark.

  • Comment number 38.

    This new web-site is AWFUL. Please BBC, please don't copy the likes of ITV, E4 or O.K Magazine. Visitors to this web-site, particularly the homepage, want a concise overview of all the areas they are interested in. People who visit this website our interested in reading a viewing for interest and educational purposes. They are not interested in the format of a teenage girl glossy photo trivia front page!

    Whoever design this web-site, I believe, has completely mis-read what BBC viewers like. God only knows what the performance is like on an I-Phone.

    Terrible, shocking, I will just have to use another site.

  • Comment number 39.

    I am another who will be no longer using the BBC website from now on. It is quite alarming how all throughout the beta test the negative comments overwhelmed the positive, yet you appeared to have ignored them.

  • Comment number 40.

    OH Dear oh dear oh dear.

    The new BBC web site is like some kind of bizarre ITV road crash. ITV must have paid for you to run this. It is trash. It looks cheap, feels cheap and is extremely messy. It is certainly NO IMPROVEMENT over the old site so why change? I thought the BBC was short of money and making people redundant? Obviously not the right people. Information dropping off the bottom of sections - sub headlines and market watch for example. Out of 36 comments that i can read on here so far, only ONE likes the new page. Like others, I'm looking for a new home page (after 11 years) that doesn't look like an advertising site for Primark.

  • Comment number 41.

    James Thornett:

    From your response
    "As always, if you do not like the changes then please let me know specifically what you do not like and how you would like to see the homepage improved."

    We have been letting you know our response for the last couple of months. You have either ignored these replies or in some cases taken offence at them and deleted them.

    My prime complaint about this travesty of a website was your decision to scrap customisation.
    For example all of my children are now grown up, and as a result I have no need to know what CBBC is doing. Despite being ABC1 male, I have absolutely no interest whatever in sport and do not wish to be force-fed football stories, or programmed to follow what other people are looking at.

    Please feel at liberty to delete this comment as contradicting the T&C, as I have a mind of my own, and am now taking it elsewhere.

  • Comment number 42.

    Please give me an option for the old layout! I can't stand the new front page.

    It happens to most technology companies over time that they screw up every now and then. But what defines the good from the bad is how quickly they realise these errors in judgement.

    BBC has always supplied a solid website, easy to read and accessible by all from any device. With this latest change I really don't want to see the front page ever again.

    I may still visit BBC.co.uk but will try to navigate to a subdomain rather than have my eyes abused by this new design.

  • Comment number 43.

    James

    If it isn't broke, don't try and fix it!

    Just accept that it doesn't work and please bring the old one back, at least as a choice for now, until the new one resolves ALL the issues users have.

    At the moment you stand to lose a lot of users using it as their default homepage!

  • Comment number 44.

    I have already provided feedback to the BBC on how the new home page is a triumph of Form over Function. Possibly the WORST homepage of any major news/media organisation.
    I can not believe the BBC has decided to launch this ill-considered miss-mash!
    Start the campaign for functional home pages now!
    Can't Browse...Won't Browse!!!
    Bring back the Old Home page....NOW!!!!

  • Comment number 45.

    What a shame, badly thought out, ugly, ill conceived switch. Another large corporation not listening to their customers...
    Bring back the old home page and its functionality

  • Comment number 46.

    Diabolical design and disgraceful that you ignored the majority of comments, I'll never use your homepage again as it's useless to me.

  • Comment number 47.

    I too will be taking my complaint elsewhere (Higher). I like football but still think the site is a very cheap immitation of it's former self. For goodness sake take notice of the majority and give us back the old site before you lose too much traffic because this site is a big turn off, literally! This is even a poor imitation of the ITV website and I wouldn't even use that as my homepage.

  • Comment number 48.

    As someone missing the old homepage customisation options, I've just come across netvibes. I've used iGoogle before and didn't like it; Pageflakes appears to be another site doing a similar job. Netvibes is a "widget"-based homepage which seems to do a fairly good job of replicating the old homepage once you add a few BBC feed-driven widgets. Done.

  • Comment number 49.

    To try and supply some productive criticism:

    1) No customisation is a huge backwards step
    2) Opening the home page I can now only see 5 content items without scrolling (resolution 1440 * 900 so this should be ample to see much more)
    3) While I wear glasses for reading I generally don't try and use my laptop from 10 metres away therefore the text can be in a similar size to this blog to tell me what location I am currently in and what the weather outside my window is like.
    4) I'm surfing the BBC website so I'm not interested in what's on the Radio or TV. If I want to find that let me navigate to get there not on the homepage. I'm coming to the BBC website to read online content! Surely that's the primary user case!

    After this blog feedback I'll check back occasionally to see if things have improved but otherwise I'm off to new.google.co.uk. See ya!

  • Comment number 50.

    @Nimrod

    James did not moderate any comments. That's my job, along with other members of the blog team. We are clearly not moderating comments for criticising the beta; comments are only removed if they really do break the house rules. Yours doesn't.

  • Comment number 51.

    The old BBC homepage was widely revered and respected ... often aspired to in the world of web design .. the new one is in-indescribably shambolic!

    ... and no I am NOT a person who hates or avoids change .. computing is the future ... but NOT this way!!!

  • Comment number 52.

    An absolute shambles! I look at the page at least 10 times a day so not being able to customise the page to suit my requirements is a total waste of my time.Whilst i am all for progress i am convinced this new page is a retrograde step.So now i will have to find a new source of news and sport.

  • Comment number 53.

    Why why why did you ask for feedback and then ignore it all?

    The basis of your case for making this change was that the BBC was being re-chunked accross the board and that you needed a new homepage to reflect that.

    Well, guess what? You still have News, Sport, iPlayer, TV, Radio and Weather... nothing in respect of this chunking has changed... and nothing was wrong with the way that it had been displayed hitherto.

    The old website gave distinct areas of the page (which the user could configure) to put each of these elements together how they wanted and to have an overview of the content for each area.

    This is a terrible terrible mistake, and an expensive excercise in failing to listen to your users. You shoudl be ashamed and I hope the BBC Trust will do something to give back to the liscence fee payer the website the deserve rather than this horrid 'form over function' vanity project.

    Disgusted.

  • Comment number 54.

    This new website is an unmitigated disaster, why did you make such drastic changes to something that was so perfectly user-friendly and adaptable? It would help if we could at least edit out the plethora of rubbish that we don't want to see every time we switch on. Please bring back our old website and get rid of this monstrosity.

  • Comment number 55.

    At 11:47 30th Nov 2011, Nimrod wrote:
    You said in your original justification for this change to the BBC website

    "The primacy of links to these products has attracted an audience skewed more towards ‘male’ and ‘ABC1’ demographics than BBC Online as a whole."

    Which just proves the whole thing has been dumbed down.
    Too many of those ABC1 people, therefore it must be "elitist" and therefore need to be filled with big pictures and garbage about "entertainment" and football.

    Someone else said it looked like ITV. Too right.
    First the ruined the News site, then destroyed the weather page, and now this.

    Change for the sake of change to keep the BBC web folk in a job.
    And loose viewers.

  • Comment number 56.

    If anyone want to take this higher then write to the Director General at mark.thompson@bbc.co.uk as I have

  • Comment number 57.

    I like it...

    Flicking through that top promo space, I've already seen stuff that interests me, related to what I watched on telly or listened to on the radio recently...

  • Comment number 58.

    Hi James,

    One thing I don't like is the use of images that don't convey much information but do take up a lot of space. Can you explain why you have followed this approach?

    Another thing, which is related to this, is that it is difficult to know what is behind some of the items and to judge whether it is worth clicking to find out more. This is true especially where the captions are truncated. If additional information could be shown on mouseover, as it is with the double size images top left, this would be helpful.

    Finally, is there any rationale behind the juxtaposition of items? I know about 'serendipitous discovery' but currently it comes over as a bit of a mess.

    I must say that I appreciate changes for the News and Sport headlines. That is definitely a move in the right direction. It's a pity that content customisation is not possible.

    Best regards,

    Roddy

  • Comment number 59.

    Rubbish.

    You've heard the feedback before, you've ignored it all before, you've implemented it and carried on regardless time and time again.

    I didn't expect any rethink , but lived in hope.

  • Comment number 60.

    "What do want?"....

    ...."The old homepage!!!"

    "When do want it?"...

    ...."NOW!!!!!"

    "New homepage....OUT!!!"

    "New homepage....OUT!!!"

    Etc... etc...etc...until the BBC listens.

    Honestly, James, you have to admit that your team got it monumentally wrong and give all of us the option to switch back to the old homepage. You can do this - yes, James, you know you can, it's easy to do!

    Please James! We are on our knees begging!!!!

  • Comment number 61.

    Not sure if this is home page specific or set in a master template however the Weather link in the header needs updating to http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather instead of pointing to the old news sub-domain.

  • Comment number 62.

    James - you want to know 'specifically' what we do not like? OK.

    1. Different types of content and different categories being lumped together in a montage
    2. The lack of customisation and widgets
    3. The barrage of images which are meaningless at first sight
    4. The jerky way in which your (ill conceived) image slider moves
    5. The inablity to have one container for News, another for Sport, another for Radio - so on and so forth
    6. The constant and distracting use of 'rollover' on every single pixel you can possibly find to use it on
    7. The lack of imagination in distinguishing yourselves from the rest of the pack
    8. The triumph of form (ahem!) over function
    9. The concert effect of all of this resulting in a wholly unusable homepage
    10. Specifically, we do not like THE NEW HOMEPAGE please change it back to the old one which we specifically DO LIKE MUCH MORE

  • Comment number 63.

    I think the fundamental objection I have is that a Home page is for stuff I want to see, I don't want the BBC selecting what I want to see because clearly they don't know me... even if they think they do.

    The selections their editors make are to meet their corporate ideals, not to satisfy me, and I certainly rail against force feeding me the homogenised, and largely dumbed down BBC content.

    Customisation gives us some power back - ignore what the user wants at your peril. The traffic figures will be interesting. Ian - when can we seem them?

  • Comment number 64.

    What a lot of rubbish the new home page is. How much of my TV license fee did you spend on this horrible thing.

  • Comment number 65.

    What a complete mess.

  • Comment number 66.

    Hi James. Congratulations on coming out of beta. Here are some specific suggestions for improvement:

    The location-change option could be better signposted. Instead of the current rollover in the top-right of the banner area, please consider making "Change location | Five-day forecast" permanently visible (and there's no need for the place name to be shown again - Change location would be far more useful).

    Add links to the nations' TV and radio channels to the What's On dropdowns. I know there'll be nations editions of this homepage in the coming months, but in the meantime this information is very hard to find.

    There should be permanent and visible links to the Scotland, Wales and N Ireland homepages. I know you're moving towards IP detection and location personalisation, but if someone in London or Newcastle wants to glance at the Scottish headlines or weather there is no quick way to do this, short of changing their location settings. Please consider fixing this. The proposed Nations & Local link in the Explore list to http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/hi/default.stm doesn't really work effectively (that's a page for local news links, and the nations do so much more), and is so well hidden as to be largely redundant.

  • Comment number 67.

    It looks like I'm going to have to change the way I get my news. I'm one of those people that uses it a a feed reader, but I'm still considering whether I should put the feeds on iGoogle or whether I should just visit the BBC News website.

    Also, why have you redesigned the header again? Will this be used on all BBC websites?

  • Comment number 68.

    Gutted. Actually gutted.

    I didn't think you'd actually go through with it.

  • Comment number 69.

    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate that many of you are commenting to disagree with the new (quite different) approach to the homepage, but James has explained the basis of his approach here throughout, and it would be good to keep this civil.

    Phrases like "utterly awful in every way imaginable" are, I think, getting a bit hyperbolic. They're not against the house rules, but I don't think they help anyone make their point.

    Direct criticism of James and his team doesn't really help either.

    Let's talk about this - including criticism and disagreement - in a respectful way.

  • Comment number 70.

    Can anyone recommend a decent alternative homepage other than netvibes?

    Clearly I need to find a new home and would follow any other recomendations from like minded people.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 71.

    @69 Ian

    The disrespect is coming from the BBC team that ignored all the previous blog comments and implemented changes without regard for them.

  • Comment number 72.

    I was really hoping this would significantly change during Beta testing but no.
    The loss of the customisation is a real pity, instead of having one page tailored to my liking, I now have to go searching for the relevant pages.
    Visually the new page is horrible, it manages to look cluttered without having very much information on it which is quite an achievement. Is what the most popular section really front page worthy, considering overseas visitors to the site are unlikey able to view it even if they are interested? The way visual, audio and written media are all jumbled is just a confusing mess.
    I know this will fall on deaf ears but PLEASE bring back the customisation.

  • Comment number 73.

    @70 the netvibes "BBC multifeed" widget is excellent. I've put several on my page and selected all the feeds I am interested in, and now have something very close to what I used to see on the homepage here. Put another one in a long box along in "ticker" mode and you can make a breaking news ticker too!

  • Comment number 74.

    Nobody is crisising James or his team apart from saying that little account has been taken to the feedback people have given prior to the site going live. It's very well saying that we are using hyperbolic language but the site is truly awful. I'm no great webmaster but I could have designed a cleaner looking and more user friendly site. As I keep saying, why fix a product that isn't broken. I think more time should have been given before going live and in fact it would have been more useful if the old site had been allowed to evolve gradually.

  • Comment number 75.

    @71 Tengsted, I agree with you utterly.

    @69 Ian - please understand the difference between hyperbole and strength of feeling.

    I actually feel quite sorry for James as he will have done what any rational person would do... that is to follow his pay master's bidding.

    BBC you have let down your employee. Poor James is seeing his work being trashed in these comments and it is all because you, The BBC, did not listen during Beta phase. Rather you pressed on regardless.

    If you had listened and had a radical rethiink before coming out of beta then this would not be happening now.

    Sorry James, but all of these comments are not hyperbole as Ian suggests, they are real strength of feeling and your employer could have saved you this difficult reading if they had only listened in the first place.

  • Comment number 76.

    This has to be the WORST home page ever. i used to have BBC as my home page, but this has now been changed. Who on earth devised such a hideous, complicated, user unfriendly and messy design. There is simply nothing good I can say about it - and I design web sites for a living.

    How much of the Licence Fee payers money has been spent on this monstrosity?

  • Comment number 77.

    Another question is, what, if anything, changed for the end user, after the beta was launched?

    What user feedback was taken on board, and implemented?

    An answer to those two questions please.

  • Comment number 78.

    I have just changed my home page. The new BBC one is giving me a headache!!! What a complete jumbled mess, please bring back the old one. Not user friendly at all. I am all for new things, but this is definately a step backwards....

  • Comment number 79.

    I was aware of the beta version a few weeks back, had a quick look, shuddered and tried to forget about it; maybe I hoped it was a bad dream. But today, when I went online (to my bbc home page) there it was: about the most ghastly website I've ever seen. Aesthetically, I dislike it, it's cluttered, jumpy when you hover over the scroll buttons. It's content seems to be aping a more tabloid-like site; without sounding like a snob, I think it is dumbed down. I miss being able to customize, although I read that you are still working on this aspect. I really liked the previous home page - I am a minimalist, both virtually and in real life. I had nearly everything hidden in the previous site, except that with which I was interested. Now, when I give it another peep (aghhh!) I'm confronted with so much that I do not wish to see on the numerous times I go online each day. I'm aware that when things change, it takes time to get used to them, but I also know that first impressions count, and my first impression is that this is a totally retrograde step, one which will see your traffic diminish and at what price to the licence-payer? Like others who have commented, I'm preparing to say goodbye to bbc.co.uk except where I may google and find links to items I'm interested to read. My verdict? Completely ruined. 0/5

  • Comment number 80.

    Of the 23000 or so items of feedback the BBC have received, can we please be told how many felt that the new homepage was a backward step/opposed and how many felt it was an improvement?

  • Comment number 81.

    I was planning on checking the BBC they way I always do - several times a day and this is what greeted me... It really has ruined my day to the extent that I have made an account to post a comment here in the (probably vain) hope that enough comments will cause a rethink.

    Firstly I am sure that some people will love this new homepage, perhaps it is nicely suited to users of tablets also, so good job on satisfying those people.

    For the rest of us, could you maybe make there be a button which lets us switch back to the old, simple, friendly, and customisable view which we knew and loved?

    I also do not think that it is simply a case of this new homepage being fine once you introduce the customisation, which I understand is something you plan down the line (although that begs the question why you would release this half-baked unfinished product before adding that crucial part?). Even once the customisation is released I think there will still be numerous problems.

    1) The new homepage doesn't even work in my regular internet browser (Opera) it simply displays as a narrow strip, impossible to read or see anything on it. It does work in other browsers though so I was able to play around with it though.
    2) Pictures are too big. I see these pictures and have to stare at the surrounding spaces trying to figure out what the story they relate to is. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. "They" clearly have not visited this new homepage
    3) Side scrolling? Seriously? Was this needed? I usually view the BBC on a laptop, I have only a touch pad and therefore like to scroll using my arrow keys. Aside from this it seems jerky, and I can't really work out what (if any) are the links between the stuff on the various scrolled panels.

    There are probably numerous other small things like the size of the location text (Thanks! I often forget where I am and therefore like you to remind me with those big letters!) and several others.

    Hopefully this was reasonably constructive (I tend to ramble) and we might possibly be given a delightful button which will say "click here to switch back to the old layout".

  • Comment number 82.

    This homepage re-design has "New Coke" (circa 1985) written all over it. It is a marketing and web design fiasco.

    Yes..."fiasco", Ian McDonald. Is that too harsh? Are we all being horrid?

    Yes, we are being horrid because that's what happens when you try to take away our Old Coke!!!!

    At any rate, this is bound to be personal because of James Thornett's job description. He is responsible and his job is largely funded by us, so I feel every right to make it personal.

    At the very least, provide a cookie driven option to switch to the previous homepage. I suggest you do this ASAP. This is not going to get any prettier.

  • Comment number 83.

    Well said @75 brother
    We are certainly not having a go at James and as brother says I feel very sorry that he has been subjected to this critisism which needn't have happened if a more evolutionary phase had taken place and feedback comments taken into account in the beta development stage. SWorry James we all know that you are doing your masters bidding.

  • Comment number 84.

    I normally use the BBC homepage as a regular updater throughout the day on the subjects I have an interest in. I had customised the old homepage to particularly filter out all the pages I didn't want to see or need.

    This new format is just dreadful. I now have to work much harder to find the subjects that interest me. Please restore the old format as soon as possible,

  • Comment number 85.

    I hate it. I really do hate it. I'm sorry but if people wanted it to showcase more of the BBC's online content, they were able to customise the homepage. Now to all intents and purposes, you can't, and put simply, it's ugly, it's a cluttered mess, it's full of things that I do NOT want to see and have no option to get rid of. Why should I care what's popular with others? If I wanted to see what was currently on BBC TV now, or later, I'd go to that section myself, or use a TV magazine or whatever other method I chose. I was previously able to have everything I wanted, on 1 page, with NO scrolling. Now I have less of what I want, I have to scroll to find it all when before I didn't have to, and I'm FORCED to look at things which are of absolutely no interest to me. I can say right now, that the previous version was absolutely fine. It showed me what I want to see, not what the BBC or other people wanted me to see. I could customise it to suit my needs. Now I'm stuck with a terrible looking page that basically I can't customise, apart from the weather and local news. There was NO reason to change it. It's truly truly horrible to look at. I'm sorry, but you've absolutely dropped a clanger with the new homepage. There's NOTHING good about it, and EVERYTHING about it is bad. You really have got this so wrong it's untrue. Why did you even consider making these changes? There was NO reason to. You should've left it as it was. Simple as that. No two ways about it. I expect over 75% of the responses you receive to be similar to mine. NEVER try and force people to look at things they have no interest in. Give them the choice. You took away that choice, which was there before. Now people have no choice. All thanks to your terrible terrible new homepage. You should be ashamed of yourselves for creating such an ugly, messy, cluttered, unorganised, awkward, unhelpful homepage.

  • Comment number 86.

    What a mess.
    I will no longer be using the BBC website for news throughout the day.
    You have taken what was a clear simple to use web design and turned it into a messy, complicated, confusing shambles.

  • Comment number 87.

    Absolute rubbish! The lack of customisation will finally force me to look elsewhere (i.e. away from the BBC website) for my information in future. It will be interesting to read in future about the loss in traffic by this costly mistake. Whoever authorised these changes should be subject to urgent action by the BBC Trust.

  • Comment number 88.

    Totally disagree with stevvy1986 @85. It's the BBC's job to educate, and one of the ways it can do that is to encourage people to look at things they wouldn't usually have an interest in.

    In the good old USA, most radio stations are focussed on a particular genre of music. If you don't like dance music but like rock, you can live a sheltered narrow-minded life where you never experience dance. The BBC's radio stations give us more credit than that, and offer a rich mix - some of which we like, some we don't, and best of all some we didn't think we'd like but do.

    I applaud the new BBC homepage for doing the same, and feel sorry for those who close their eyes, put their fingers in their ears and hum whenever something appears that they don't like.

  • Comment number 89.

    @82 Tim - well said. We want our Old Coke back.

  • Comment number 90.

    OK, That Sucks almost as badly as the Groovy Funky New Improved Radio Homepage. Next up, look out for the "re-imagining" of the BBC News Pages franchise.

    Oi, Auntie.

    "If it is not necessary to change a thing, then it is necessary not to change it"

    (Lucius Cary, Viscount Falkland. 1641)

    Have we learned nothing ?

    PS: Great to be able to post on an open Blog. You may be aware, or indeed, you may not, that BBC in North Britain (Also Known humorously as BBC Scotland) have closed down the Political and Economic Blogs for Scotland. Unlike every other Nation and Region of the BBC Network where you can, if you wish, comment on any story posted by your local Political and if you have one Economy Editor.

  • Comment number 91.

    Dear BBC, Its hideous........I have to say I absolutely loath & detest the new BBC home page. It was perfect before; the user could see what they wanted and disregard what wasn't relevant to them. This new format is awful and I haven't met one person who has a nice thing to say about it (see your own feedback here for more proof) despite this the BBC forces an unwanted change on us. Well I for one will be changing my home page. A very disappointed viewer and licence fee payer.

  • Comment number 92.

    I hope the BBC folks aren't too exasperated at some of the ludicrous comments in here, but I suppose you'll be used to that by now. This redesign is again a great example of how the BBC can do no right. Comment after comment of hot air with no real substance to help you guys do a better job. "Put it back to how it was" and "it's the worst website I've ever seen" help no-one, and let's be honest this isn't the worst website you've ever seen.... anyone ever actually use Geocities?

    A bit of perspective here would be nice, we're all grown ups and this comments section is full of bickering nonsense. Apparently more white space to you guys is "dumbing down" when the ITV/Sky gloss machine is all glitz and no substance.

    Personally, I disliked the old homepage and would never even use it. This new design means I won't have to dig for certain bits of information anymore via google etc, it is simply here on the homepage, which is what a homepage SHOULD be doing. I also like how the overall design works within the recent redesigns of other BBC content, and frankly I can't wait for the older designs on the sports pages etc to fall away as they are dated and don't have the air of quality of these designs.

    I can understand the request for more customised content, perhaps set via the location tab. However this idea of widgets, or local feeds is so outdated, and is not what the national broadcasters homepage should be about.

    Keep up the good work folks.

  • Comment number 93.

    Please can someone explain what Buzzdock is and why it's on the BBC homepage?

    It is already running when you open the homepage and the the option to disable it is right at the bottom of the page on the lefthand side. I wouldn't have known it was there unless I had been trying, and sadly failing, to customise the new homepage.

  • Comment number 94.

    Absolutely awful. I have now bookmarked bbc.co.uk/news and will not go to the homepage until they go back.

  • Comment number 95.

    @88 Sorry but if I want to be educated about something I wouldn't usually have an interest in, I'll go and search for information on it myself, rather than being FORCED to look at it. I don't care what's popular with others. I don't want to see a smaller number of headlines from a smaller number of sports. Before, I could look at about 8 or so general sporting headlines, same for football, and for F1. Now I can look at less headlines, and not able to say "just show me F1 headlines". It's nothing to do with 'closing eyes and putting fingers in ears' because it's something we don't like. It's very simple a case of they've made it terribly cluttered, unorganised, and it doesn't suit my needs now in any way, whereas the old version was perfect, as I could see what I wanted, where I wanted, all on 1 page. Like I said, if I want to be educated on something I wouldn't normally have an interest in, I'll go and find out about it off my own back, not be forced to see it just because the BBC think I want to see it. Why do you think people like the old homepage? Because they saw what they wanted to see, where they wanted to see it. That isn't possible now. If they didn't want to see information on something, they didn't have to. Sorry, but I totally disagree with what you say. Was there anything wrong with the old homepage? No. It did everything I wanted. Is there anything wrong with the new homepage? Yes. Basically everything that many others have said. The fact that having read the blogs at the time, and the number of negative comments made compared to positive comments made, that the BBC have gone ahead with it anyway, just makes things worse. They clearly listened to those they wanted to listen to, ie the ones saying it's good but needs improving, and ignoring those who said it was terrible, which as far as I'm concerned, it is.

  • Comment number 96.

    Hey, wait, I have found one positive thing !

    It's great to see the reappearance of the "old" Analog Clock that used to be on the Blue Station Idents about five centuries ago. Xinhua started using it about a year ago and I hunted high and low to try and get the applet !

    Well Done BBC. This in itself justifies making everyone really really unhappy with the Groovy Funky New Look.

  • Comment number 97.

    Like many others here, I registered my discontent with this byzantine adventure very specifically on this page, and in copious further detail in the survey I took. The BBC has gone ahead anyway which was probably only to be expected. All other issues put to one side for the moment, there is still one fundamental issue which dogs this home page, and will continue to dog it until is superceded or withdrawn. This issue is that it is actually TWO pages too many, or THREE Pages in one, however you want to look at it. The idea with the cumbersome and ghastly horizontal slider (or carousel or whatever it is) is presumably to triple the amount you can potentially expose to curious users. But all this does is betray to those same users that the BBC really can't make up its mind what's important, or which has too many internal competing divisions telling it what's important, to be able to boil it all down in to one page. So the "solution" is to offer three alternatives on the equivalent of a creaky revolving stage, nicely placating internal stakeholders but doing very little for the true audience, your external audience of millions of users. And I'm afraid to tell you these users are largely creatures of habit. THey don't want to be bombarded with "choices"....At least not this many on a Home Page. On a home page, and this should be a no-brainer to one of Europe's most massive and well-funded internet sites, users want Clarity, and on a braoadcaster's home page they want EDITORIAL CLARITY. This means, or should mean, focused simplicity, with the ability to make the most of choices to go elsewhere not precluded but elegantly signposted. Making a Carousel the central offering offers the opposite of clarity. As I said in a previous post, how many over-sixties did you ask about this new page? How many people use the alternative home pages on either side of the carousel? What do the stats tell you, what will they tell you? I can bet you that usage of the non-exposed portions of that carousel will be statistically neglible.

  • Comment number 98.

    If you scroll down below these comments and look to the left, there's a link to "BBC Weather: Design Refresh in Pictures".

    The BBC weather page was recently given the horrible, hard to look at makeover that's been imposed on the home page.
    Anyway, in the middle, there's a graphic, probably from some Powerpoint presentation, of some of their objectives in destroying the weather page.

    Seems that one of their key objectives was "Don't Make Me Think" !
    See it here...http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2011/11/28/04_ObjectivesIdeasWeatherOnlineReFresh.jpg

    Don't make the viewer think ?
    Dumbing down. Yes indeed.
    Too many of those ABC1 adults here. Make it full of big pretty pictures for the tabloid brigade and the "youth".

  • Comment number 99.

    Absolutley awful; artful, but unhelpful. A horrible mish mash of poorly laid out bits with too little direct information available on the page and too many links to items that could be easily chosen and displayed on 1 page before.
    The page(s) previously and their layout were why I had the BBC as my home page. You have my email address, please let me know when you have ditched this experiment and reverted to the original set up, until then byeeeeeee....

  • Comment number 100.

    Oh dear, the new BBC Homepage is just awful. I just so agrree with everyone else. I used the old one as my home page, I had it customised for what I wanted to see and had got rid of Sports and Showbiz. I had it set for Scottish news and my local weather, as I live in Scotland.I looked at it umpteen times a day. Now I'm forced to see the"most Popular Shows" on TV. As if I cared. I don't want a dumbed down website.Thanks for the suggestions about netvibes - and for mark.thomson@bbc.co.uk. His in box will be overflowing. And Ian - I think it's quite wrong of you to chastise us for "hyperbole". We were your reguler users - with the emphasis on WERE. If the old home page isn't restored, I'm off.

 

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