The new web site: one week on
Thank you for your comments. While we're pleased with much about the new site, we always expected to continue work after launch.
Firstly, I'm sorry that so many of you experienced technical problems over the weekend. There were publishing problems on Friday afternoon which affected the availability of radio programmes. We're aware of another problem on Sunday morning which affected our new programme pages for a short time. It isn't any consolation to know that these failures weren't confined to Radio 4. I share your frustration.
I'd also like to pick up a few of the main issues raised in your feedback.
Homepage design: We've had some positive comments about the homepage but I've also noted that some people don't like the top promotion area or our use of images. This homepage marks a departure from the old design and I appreciate that it isn't to everyone's taste. But this is also one of the more subjective areas of discussion and there isn't a consensus across the feedback we've received, so we're going to work with this for a while longer before drawing any firm conclusions.
Navigation: The majority of pages and navigational links tested well before launch but new issues arise when you launch a site and expose it to the real world. We're already considering changes that we could make to address some of the valid points raised. But we're going to let the site bed down a little more first, so that we can be sure to understand the impact of any changes that we might make across the range of Radio 4 content and other parts of the BBC that share this system.
Archive: I concede that navigating to the archive isn't something we've got right yet. At the moment, we're linking back to pages from our old site for archive content, with current content available on our new pages, but we will bring our archive audio content into the same system in the near future. (This is part of the plan to enable our archive content to be 'tagged' and found by subject). In the meantime, archive content can be found by following the 'archive' links in the navigation at the top of programme pages.
Programme information: We now have a page for every programme we broadcast and these pages have developed during the week since relaunch, as the teams around the BBC who supply content for the website have started to work with our new systems. It isn't yet perfect across the board but you should continue to see improvements.
News Headlines and Weather: In responding to feedback that the old homepage was too cluttered, we had to decide to remove some features which we knew users could access easily elsewhere. Many of our users go to the BBC News and Weather sites and this was a relatively unused feature of the old Radio 4 homepage, which is why we removed it.
We're still identifying and working through a list of snags which will iron out some of the smaller points raised. I am grateful to those of you who have taken the time to outline specific points constructively and ask for your patience as we make improvements in the weeks to come.
- The redesigned Radio 4 web site launched on 31 March 2009. Leigh's previous posts about the redesign are here (9 March), here (19 March) and here (30 March). Mark Damazer launched the site on 31 March.
- The BBC's web site design standards.
- Sophie Walpole explains the idea behind 'one page per programme' in a blog post written back in 2007.
- Follow @radio4blog on Twitter for regular updates from the Radio 4 blog.