BBC Homepage: your feedback (#2)
Most of the comments on the Internet Blog have been critical of the new design, with many requests to bring the old homepage back, so I wanted to explain again why we have made these changes.
- The homepage was too narrow in focus - 79% of referred traffic went to BBC News and BBC Sport during July this year. We want to do much better at highlighting all of the content available from BBC Online
- Research showed that the BBC Homepage is often confused with the BBC News front page and we want to clearly differentiate between our News site - the place to go for the latest, breaking news from the UK and the World - and the homepage that should represent everything the BBC does online.
- Detailed customisation of content was used by under 10% of the old homepage audience and many users told us that they would prefer simple filtering rather than wholesale customisation.
Moving back to the old design is not something we are considering but we do want your feedback to help us continue to develop and improve the new homepage.
Comments on this blog are just one of the ways in which we are gathering feedback and we will be assessing over time the response of the millions of users that come to the Homepage each day by monitoring how the page is being used and which items are proving more, or less, popular.
A number of themes have emerged from the blog comments received so far and although I have provided feedback within the comments section I would like to explain again how we are tackling these points.
Messy design: There is too much white space and not enough colour.
There is criticism of the amount of white space being used and the large number of images which make the page appear messy and un-organised.
The previous design of the homepage was often criticised for being too boring and containing too much text so for this version we have deliberately introduced more images and increased the amount of white space on the page to allow these images to really stand out.
We want the content to promote itself with good images, strong headlines and clear labelling that helps our audience know which BBC service that content is from.
There is not enough news and sport on the homepage
We saw this feedback during the beta phase and increased the amount of headlines available in the news and sport module. We have also raised the position of news and sport higher up the page compared to the previous homepage so there is now more news and sport content available at a glance.
However, many users have told us they want more than just the top headlines and that is where the News & Sport filter underneath the carousel can be used to select only news and sport content within this area of the page.
As I have said above, the previous homepage was very good at providing news and sport content but it was less good at showcasing the best content from the rest of the BBC and so this new homepage will inevitably not contain the same level of detailed news and sport coverage as the previous version.
For users that want even more news or sport content then there are links at the very top of the page to our dedicated homepages for BBC News and for BBC Sport.
Customisation: I want the content that only I am interested in.
This seems to be the feature most requested by people commenting on the blog.
However, it was a feature of the old homepage that was not used by the majority of our audience and during research for the new homepage we were told by users that they preferred simple filtering of content.
We are already working on improvements to the location based content on the page so that the page is even more relevant to your chosen location and we have plans to introduce more detailed customisation features in the new year.
We have some ideas for this already - one of those being the opportunity to create your own carousel of content that you prefer - but I would welcome further suggestions on how we can make the page more customisable to your interests.
It doesn't swipe on a tablet/iPad or work on a mobile phone
This homepage is the 'desktop' version which is designed for use on a standard laptop or desktop computer.
There are optimised versions in development for a mobile edition and a tablet edition which will make use of touchscreen interactions, where the device allows, and displays the content appropriately for the screen size being used.
In the meantime, accessing www.bbc.co.uk on your mobile phone will default you to our current mobile optimised homepage, although there is a link to the desktop version if you wish to view this new homepage on a mobile device.
Thank you again for your comments on this blog and all of your feedback by other means. I do try to read every post, tweet and comment and we will be using all of this feedback to continue developing and improving the new BBC Homepage.
James Thornett is Head of Product, BBC Homepage