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Mobile Homepage Goes Live

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Eleni Sharp Eleni Sharp | 11:30 UK time, Thursday, 31 May 2012

Mobile phone with blue case viewing the mobile homepage, in front of the bbc.co.uk homepage

The new mobile homepage reflects the design of the homepage on desktops

I’m proud to announce the mobile homepage has come out of its Beta mode into a full launch and is now available at m.bbc.co.uk.

The old mobile homepage wasn’t meeting our users increased needs and expectations. We wanted to improve this experience and bring it more in line with the desktop version which launched at the end of last year.

You can read the full rationale behind the product, market context and also the key features in my last blog post.

Feedback from Beta

During the beta period we were able to track usage and could see how people were using the product. Hundreds of thousands of people have visited the page and were able to see that of our beta test users, a third used the location setting and one in nine customised their content.

Thanks so much for the feedback, which was mostly positive.

We had lots of comments via emails, blog posts and across social media; all of these were collated and reviewed and where possible new functionality has been developed to help us improve the product.

There was an immediate need for further customisation options. We received 20 direct emails, as well as blog post comments like that of Egg of Maidstone:

I want several items of local news, UK news, world news, technology news, entertainment news, sport news, football news and, most importantly, My Club news. Instead I'm stuck with a couple of "news" items, a couple of "local news" items and some random sports news.

The most popular requests were Technology and F1, which we have added.

We also plan to launch additional options such as Radio 1 and Things To Do in the coming months.

We also decided that all links to elsewhere in the BBC should go to other mobile sites, as FoolOnTheHill suggested:

However, they currently link to the non-mobile version of the pages - I assume this is not as intended...

So, what else is new?

As well as new customisation options and changing the links, other new features which have been added to the BBC Mobile Homepage based on audience feedback include:

  • Location auto detect – Automatically detecting your location to bring you local news and weather.
  • Breaking news and sport - Introducing these modes allows us to ensure we are delivering the top stories quickly to our audience
  • Four column layout – this will offer a better experience for users on new wider screen phones

Tell us what you think

As always I’d like to know your thoughts so please post a constructive comment under this blog, or tell us what you think on Twitter using the #bbchomepage hashtag.

Eleni Sharp is the Product Manager of the BBC Mobile Homepage

 

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I just give it a whirl on my iPhone and it is a great improvement on what was there before however. I think (and this is a personal opinion) on the right hand side the weather and the menu items take up prime real estate. I would move make the Menu at the top more prominent and have the weather icons (ie sunny etc) next to the City name (ie London) spanning across the whole width of the page, that would free up more space to use for news etc whatever the person wanted. Its good like it is , that would make it better I think.. just looks odd at the moment

  • Comment number 2.

    Less choice, poorer overall view, more scrolling for no reason.
    Yes, it's yet another BBC makeover that's made something worse.

  • Comment number 3.

    I can't view it on my Windows Phone. When I go to the http://m.bbc.co.uk URL, I'm redirected to http://www.bbc.co.uk. It looks like IE9 mobile needs to be added to your server's UA string detection.

  • Comment number 4.

    On my iPad iPlayer works but other video still gives Flash message and do not play. Thought HTML5 would have been used to resolve this. All in all a bit of a disappointment.

  • Comment number 5.

    I like it - particularly that it adjusts based on landscape/portrait. My big issue, though is the lack of any search functionality. I know your search results pages are now more complicated than they once were, but I hoped you'd have sorted something.

  • Comment number 6.

    I stopped using the BBC homepage on my desktop when it changed to the new format and now I've stopped using it on my mobile as well.
    I know where I am in the country and I can look outside to see the weather, so why take up space telling me that? I don't need pictures to work out if I'm interested in an item, I learnt to read a long time ago. Why do all websites degenerate into a lowest common denominator, Fisher-Price mentality, bandwidth wasting mess?
    I remember when upgrades actually improved things. Or do the BBC have a different definition?

  • Comment number 7.

    I think this is a big improvement.
    The menu button at the top is a bit too small.
    It would be nice if this menu could be customized, so as to increase target size of revealed categories.
    The button target area could be highlighted (to show button size) as is done with news stories.

    I found navigation OK, but could be improved, on my 4" (800x480) phone but was difficult on my 3.5" (640x360) phone.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm sorry but I really don't like it:

    • Weather and location - why at the top? I want to remove them altogether.
    • Too much scrolling compared to the old mobile site
    • Old site you could get a feeling of news/sport at a glance because stories were in a list without so many images / grey space.
    • Less customisation options than the old site - where has cricket gone for example?

    For what it's worth I also really don't like the new desktop homepage and no longer visit it.

    All-in-all pretty disappointed.

  • Comment number 9.

    Thanks for you comments

    Ref: 31st May 2012, Josh: Thanks for all the detail in your post, the development team are working on this now

    Ref: 131st May 2012, I watch tv: Search is currently being developed by my colleagues and will be re launched on mobile later in the year.

  • Comment number 10.

    My Samsung Wave (using the Bada OS) redirects me to www.bbc.co.uk. Is the fault at your end or mine?

    Very frustrating as the beta version worked fine.

  • Comment number 11.

    All I want to have on the home page is:

    News Headlines
    Scotland
    Local News

    My Club
    Sport

    Weather
    Search Bar.

    Not a lot to ask for, and I used to have it. And in 1 scroll, I could get a briefing of what was happening in the world that concerned me.

    Now, I don't.

    All I have is what YOU want to tell me. And it's particularly poor on an N8 (there's STILL bugs on the N8 on BBC News mobile, and I guess your lot will never bother to fix it).

    The font is too large, and the multiple pictures consumes data, which I pay for remember, when I don't want pointless pictures, I want the news relevant to me.

    You've taken a perfectly customisable, structured, mobile website, and turned it into a shambling, non-coherent mess.

  • Comment number 12.

    Can't see anything, both stock browser and Firefox on android ics tablet and phone give me too many redirect errors, but the beta site did work for me and I thought it was well put together. I will have to check with my provider to see if they are caching pages before I claim not seeing the new sites is the BBC's fault.

    It's a good thing the browser on the tablet and phone both give me the option to view the desktop site which is how I normally view the sites when mobile anyway

  • Comment number 13.

    Apologies if this is the wrong place to post this comment but I wonder if anyone can tell me how to access iplayer bbc diagnostics from a Samsung Galaxy tablet running the latest version of android.

    If one tries to go to the address mobile is inserted and results in a page not found error.

    I´d appreciate the post being redirected to the right place or a message to [Personal details removed by Moderator] to tell me where to go (so to speak..:-))

  • Comment number 14.

    While the new mobile site is very pretty I find that functionally it is far poorer than the previous site. 90% of the content on the main page I have no interest in and of the content, such as sports, I would be interested in it is showing me the wrong stories and I need to go searching for what I want.

    Is there a way to still use the old page? Although it was far uglier I much preferred it.

  • Comment number 15.

    Visually, the new site looks more attractive than the old version, but I have to say that its funcionality is a completely different story. There's way too much scrolling required and less content is offered than before.

    I live outside of the UK and use BBC Mobile for news primarily. The News frontpage previously offered three main stories, several other headlines, latest feature & analysis piece plus one story from UK and different world regions - all together around 20 different news items in a more or less perfect order with little scrolling required.

    Now, the regions are all gone, presence of features & analysis has been expanded and major sport headline has been added - all together there seems to be less items than before, but the space used to present them is at least twice or three times larger than before. The result is rather annoying - more scrolling.

    I was wondering if it will be possible to customize the News frontpage in several ways. For example, I find the summary of each news story completely unnecessary - it may be fine for the top story, but headlines only would be just enough for other stories. It would be nice if there was a choice to remove the summary of news items.

    Also, the picture for the top story consumes too much space and, even though sometimes (but let's face it, it's not every day you'll have a top story with a jaw-dropping photo) it may be appropriate, it's usually just a distraction and demands scrolling. It would be awesome if there was a choice to see the site without this feature.

    And finally, it would be great if I could choose to see one top story from the UK and all the different world regions respectively in addition to a list of news items already available on the frontpage.

  • Comment number 16.

    @John Rees (#13):

    I've forwarded your question to BBC iPlayer support.

  • Comment number 17.

    I can't view it on my Samsung Wave (BADA 1.2). When I go to the http://m.bbc.co.uk URL, I'm redirected to http://www.bbc.co.uk.
    I had no problems with the beta so I don't think the problem is with my phone. Can you help please?

  • Comment number 18.

    Today, I had one of the headlines making no sense. Only when I turned the phone Landscape, did an extra word appear, ending the confusion.

    Should the BBC mobile homepage be that badly designed? I shouldn't have to turn the phone around to fit in with your poor design.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi, any news on Samsung waves not being able to access the new homepage? Or do we just use another news provider?

  • Comment number 20.

    @bk ref Samsung wave: A release has gone live this week which will rectify this and you should now be able to see the page via your device.

    However if you are still having issues let me know and we will investigate further.

  • Comment number 21.

    @madalicesdad (#6): I believe that your arguments aren't very nuanced and you're being negative without a good reason. Other people are curious about weather forecasts, that's a fact. And other people certainly like to see pictures with articles: it is tested and proven that people scan texts and look at images very early in the process.

    @John Rees (#13): I came across someone with a similar problem, a few days ago, on http://www.samsunggalaxy-s3.co.uk. The S3 has the same OS as your tablet. Check it out, I`m sure your problem can be fixed.

    In my opinion, the four column layout looks great and is very usable. Thank you BBC for this fine mobile experience! :)

  • Comment number 22.

    @Eleni Sharp (#20): Thanks for the efforts you are making to get the mobile page working on the Samsung Wave, but unfortunately the fix hasn't worked. My wife and I both own one; hers is running Bada 1.2, and mine is Bada 2.0 and both are still redirecting to www.bbc.co.uk.

    Can you keep trying please and update us here?

  • Comment number 23.

    Well I've given the new design a chance to see if it grows on me & makes life easier. My conclusion is that is its far poorer user experience than the previous mobile site. Sadly I can't get a screen shot into this blog to demonstrate but on my HTC HD2 there is far too much wasted space. All I get is two column bordered by white space. The first column has the date, weather icons and the words "news" and "sport" the second column has a poor pic of Cameron and two lines of txt to support it. Very poor user experience.

  • Comment number 24.

    @Eleni Sharp (#20) Thanks for the reply but it's still not going to the mobile homepage. I can get to it via the mobile site link on the bottom of the main homepage but even though I customise it and set it it as the Wave browser homepage, it still diverts to www.bbc.co.uk Hopefully you can sort it out as I like the look of it.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Eleni Sharp - are you there? There are two recent posts (22 and 24) which indicate that there is still a problem with the Samsung Wave. Could you spare a minute to let us know whether you are working to resolve this?

  • Comment number 27.

    Re Samsung wave comments (22 and 24) -

    Thanks all for your continued feedback, during the development of the BBC Homepage we test to ensure we are delivering the best quality experience to the user. With so many mobile devices and browsers available it can be difficult to ensure we've tested all possible combinations, but we test on a selection of the most common combinations in use.

    We're always reviewing the list of combinations that we use and would welcome feedback from the audience when features such as the redirect to mobile don't work as expected.

    Please send details of what's happening via the feedback form. Let us know the make and model of your phone, who your phone provider is, whether you were on wifi or not and, most importantly, the browser you were using - whether it was the mobile phone's native one or an installed one such as Chrome or Dolphin.

  • Comment number 28.

    Re post 27. Where can we find the feedback form, please?
    Here are the details requested (in case it helps): Phone is Samsung Wave GT S8500, OS is BADA 1.2 using native browser on 3g and Wifi. Provider is Vodafone. As previously stated there were no problems with the beta version. Now when I try to get to the mobile homepage I am diverted to www.bbc.co.uk
    Nothing's changed on the phone, maybe revisit the beta settings? Thanks

  • Comment number 29.

    @Eleni Sharp I can't find the feedback form either, so here are my details (and my wife's):
    1) Samsung Wave GT S8500; Bada 1.2; native browser; Vodafone; on 3g and WiFi

    2) Samsung Wave GT S8500; Bada 2.0 Dolphin browser; Vodafone; on 3g and WiFi

    If it helps, the mobile news page DOES work Ok; it's just the homepage that redirects

  • Comment number 30.

    The main headline on the BBC home page thie morning: "Lie Back And Enjoy The Weeks News In Pictures" - as one cannot do this at a PC this has to be proof positive that you only care about smartphone users and not humble PC or Mac visitors.

    I say smartphone rather than mobile as your mobile sites have been unusable on both my phones since the "improvements" a few months ago.

  • Comment number 31.

    I have to echo what another user said.

    The old site you could get a feeling of news/sport at a glance because stories were in a list without so many images / grey space.

 

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