Changes to BBC Radio online
The Asian Network and 5Live Sports Extra now have new homepages
Since my last post in November we have released several new elements to the main BBC Radio homepage and this blog post will briefly explain what is new, and how we are starting to build the new radio and music product.
If you've already given feedback, thank you. We know that changes to a site can be disruptive but we are reading all your comments and looking to continuously improve the way that we bring you the BBC's radio and music online.
The new navigation bar on the Radio home page
The main change you will see is that we have introduced a new navigation bar at the top of the screen. Audiences regularly tell us that their main aims when visiting a radio station site are:
- to see what's on and listen live to one or more stations
- to listen to a programme they missed
- to find out programme information such as music played or names of guests
So, the main Now On Air view allows you to listen live to any station in one click, and in the new product navigation at the top we have made it easy to switch quickly to a different station ("Stations") and to find a programme page (via "Programme Finder") where you can listen again or get programme information.
The new local radio box
We also received feedback that people missed the ability to navigate to programmes via categories (or genres) so we have included a Categories link in the main product navigation. This takes you to a categories index page, or if you click it from a station view (e.g. Radio1) it will offer you direct links to the most important categories for that station.
Similarly many users prefer to find content by using the schedule, so we have included that in the navigation too. Again, the link is contextual, so if you are on the Radio 4 view the schedule link takes you to the Radio 4 schedule.
We have had some initial feedback that the new product navigation is easily missed, meaning some people can't find the things they are looking for, so we are already working on ways of making it more visible and integrated into the page. If you have thoughts on this please give us your feedback.
On the main Now On Air view we have made three main changes:
- there is now a Local Radio space alongside the national and nations stations, so users can quickly find their local station
- there are links to all the nations stations, such as Radio Cymru or Radio Foyle
- we have changed the logic around 5live Sports Extra so that if there is no programme currently on air then we promote the next programme, rather than simply saying "nothing on"
One important change is that we have rebuilt the scrolling carousel which you see on station views (e.g. Radio 2) to ensure it is easier to use, and that it is fully accessible to people who use screen readers.
For example, you can navigate through the content using the Tab key on your keyboard, without having to click your mouse.
Radio 4 mobile home page
On mobile we have released new browser sites for all the national stations, which you can access by simply going to the same address on your smartphone as you would on your computer.
For example, if you go to www.bbc.co.uk/radio you will get an appropriate version of the site for your phone.
The feature set is basic right now, principally the ability to listen live, find out what's on now and next, view the schedule, and link through to listen again via the iPlayer, but this gives us a platform to build upon and add new functions that the audience are asking for.
Once we have the correct audio streams for the nations stations and local radio we'll add those in too. That should be early in 2012.
Lastly we have been able to migrate two of our national radio stations' homepages onto the same platform as the radio homepage. So, for the Asian Network and 5Live Sports Extra, the homepages for these stations have now permanently moved.
We are very keen to hear from you, so if you are a regular user of these two sites in particular, please give us your feedback or leave a comment on this blog.
Chris Kimber is Executive Product Manager, BBC Radio & Music