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Launching the new Radio 3 website

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Gabriel Gilson Gabriel Gilson | 00:46 UK Time, Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Interactive Editor Gabriel Gilson gives the what, why and how of the new look Radio 3 website, launching in a few days' time ... 

Every four months, I get an email wrapped in a red bow summarising all the comments we've had from you about the website. Imagine opening up any aspect of your life to a survey, and you can guess the mixture of curiosity and fear with which we open the email. Tomorrow, I'm delighted to say we'll be taking a big step forward to address as many of the comments as we can. Assuming it passes all the final technical hurdles, we'll be launching a new version of the Radio 3 website in the next few days.

Image of new Radio 3 website home page

 

Why?

We've known for a while that the current site isn't giving good value for the audience. The features you use most can be hard to find, we're not able to make the best of our best content and, worst of all, no one likes the colour scheme!

What?

Behind the scenes, this isn't as big a change as it might look. All the familiar pages like the Schedule and the Playlists have been given a lick of paint and made easier to find. We've updated the design of the main pages for Classical, Jazz, World and Arts & Drama (renamed from Speech & Drama) to give us better space to get our best content out into the open and make the most of some new features:

  • Online archive: Hundreds of hours of Composer of the Week and Discovering Music available to listen or download.
  • Composer Index: This is a new page so you can find what programmes and information we have about each composer. From launch it will take you to archive documentaries, concert clips and CD recommendations. Over time, it'll get richer and richer as we add more content.
  • Concerts: We'll continue to offer back to back highlights from recent performances, or if you want the full experience you can catch up with any concert broadcast in the last seven days. World class music making at your finger tips.

How?

Deciding what features to improve or add was done by reading all your comments, observing users of the current site and by bringing to the fore the content we hope provides the best experience. Behind the scenes, a lot of the work has been about plugging together 'feeds' of content. For instance, every concert broadcast on Radio 3 gets labelled ('tagged') as a concert when it reaches online. To create a page listing all the available concerts we just show everything with that tag. You can see the result in our current design here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/programmes/formats/performancesandevents

Other pages are constructed from good old HTML as a series of optional panels so we can add or remove content depending on what's going on. We'll release 'how to' guides when it's live and I look forward to being able to show you it in action. I'll also look forward to the next survey. Probably!

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