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Your feedback on the redesign

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Steve Bowbrick Steve Bowbrick 18:45, Thursday, 2 April 2009

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Leigh Aspin, head of Radio 4 Interactive, has been reading your feedback here on the blog and he's preparing a follow-up post (his fourth on the topic) to address the main points in the next few days. In the meantime, here's my rough-and-ready analysis of the feedback so far (based on the comments left on the two most recent blog posts about the redesign up till about lunchtime today).

Although the redesign has been a huge enterprise for all involved - and the first redesign in six or seven years - a web site is never finished. So we still need your thoughts and opinions on the new site as it evolves and the blog will be our primary way of keeping you informed about new ideas and changes to the site.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Would be good to have the "now playing" feature back on the homepage. Also, the large images don't seem to preload, so when you navigate through the items at the top you have to wait for the things to appear.

  • Comment number 2.

    What the hell has happened here, why cant I find the comments on Farming Today that I could earlier, I do not want to listen to it again, I listened to it this morning. I want to see the comments!

  • Comment number 3.

    Did you actually test it before putting it out?

  • Comment number 4.

    @mrmarkporter You should see 'now playing' at the top of each page just below the black 'explore the BBC' bar.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • Comment number 5.

    The most useful thing you could have done is not remove so many of the links that the old site had. It is much harder to find a page now as previous navigation routes have vanished.

    The words 'not', 'broken' and 'fix' spring to mind.

  • Comment number 6.

    I find the new website is so sparse as to be of little use. Where can I read news reports without having to listen to news bulletins? Where can I read Norfolk news? Where is the weather page where I could look up 5 day forecasts locally and wherever I was travelling to? All the headings seem to lead to lists in pale print of programmes to listen to. I'm not impressed.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think you have done a great job. The design is fresh and inviting. The new layout is introducing me to programmes I would not have previously thought to listen to.

    As a Brit living abroad (in Canada), I am daily thankful for the BBC generally, and Radio 4 in particular. Thanks for your hard work.

  • Comment number 8.

    Did you use a video game as your guide, or a Mcdonald's touch screen ordering menu? The navigation is awful, as previously stated by others, and you chose bright colour over simple utility!

  • Comment number 9.

    By an accident of the ether, the old site popped up and was so simple, beautiful and, alas, familar. The learning curve is steep and ugly to navigate. I have NOTHING good to say about your new debacle.

  • Comment number 10.

    By the grace of the ether, your old site popped up and was stunning in it's simplicity. Alas, the learning curve is steep and ugly. I have nothing good to say about your new site...absolutely nothing.

  • Comment number 11.

    Terrible.

    While the site is visually more attractive, the navigation leaves much to be desired. Feels very clumsy and unintuitive e.g. how does one navigate to archived programmes?

    I enjoy revisiting many of the science programmes (5 numbers, a further 5 numbers, etc) and cannot see how one would know of their existence on the new site.

    As with many web sites, functionality appears to have been sacrificed at the altar of style.

    Please revisit the design, the previous one may not have been as nice to look at but was light years ahead in terms of usability.

  • Comment number 12.

    The new site must be a"meedja graduate's" dream.Did you consult anyone over the age of 20 when designing it.The old site wasn't broke,why fix it?The money could have been spent on improving programme quality.

  • Comment number 13.

    Dreadful user-hostile site. Navigation impossible. No information any more. Was it actually tested by a Radio 4 listener before the launch?
    When it's not sending me round in circles, it's trying to make me listen again!
    I want to find out who was being mentioned on the Last Word - that information used to be on the Last Word web page - now it's nowhere.
    Some 10-year-old web designer's probably very proud of the photos, colours etc. but where's the information to make it worthwhile using?
    For other frustrated users - this - http://www.bleb.org/tv/channel.html?ch=bbc_radio4&all&day=0 is a far more useful site:-)

  • Comment number 14.

    I can only assume that the site was designed for use in Internet Explorer as I use Firefox and the site has a large gap in the middle with the selectable items down the right hand side and all the writing at the bottom of the page is overlayed one line above the other. Basically a huge step backwards. Modern clean lines but certainly not an improvement.

  • Comment number 15.

    Sorry, but no more my homepage, this unimaginative piece of redesign, with the black , orbituary-ish field at the top.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'd have to agree with the comments made by iaarfas. The website designers seem to have taken one step forward and one step back. I do think the new design is an improvement in that the old site felt cluttered ... but this visual improvement has come at the cost of navigability.

    I think it's more important that you allow the user to locate the content in which they're interested quickly rather than dictating where their interests should lie. The same issues I have with the BBC iPlayer website have crept into this new design. I appreciate the need to highlight particular radio programmes that might be of interest (and I am grateful for this), but I think it should be done in a less intrusive manner. Similarly, I don't actually need to know which programmes other people have listened to. My listening habits are, after all, my own. In short, I find the new Radio 4 home page visually rich, but information poor.

    I'd also like to echo the sentiments of The Jean Harvey Appreciation Society, at least from a technical standpoint: viewing the site on different browsers to ensure consistency; but also, at the very least, validating the web pages against the standards to which they claim to adhere.

  • Comment number 17.

    In the 'Popular Programmes' list below the dates it would be nice to have a "View Series" link so that we can go that programme's section.

    Also a smaller font size on for the featured panel would be nice as it's currently too big.

  • Comment number 18.

    What's happened to the News Headlines? I want to read these over lunch at my desk not listen a dizzying array historical broadcasts! Why do I have to go through such an elaborate process to comment on this? I don't think you want customer feedback at all.

  • Comment number 19.

    I think we can safely say that there is a definite (wholly justified) undercurrent of displeasure towards the site revisions!

    We can only hope that the designers go back to the drawing board and redesign (again).

    To the site designers - please keep all the information, features and usability of the previous design and ONLY change the graphics to brighten things up if you must.

  • Comment number 20.

    I have been having problems with radio reception so I wanted to check the FM freq range.

    I should have know that on an "improved" radio web site I would only find such info via the search function, rather than on the homepage.

  • Comment number 21.

    Just looked at Steve Bowbrick's 'rough & ready analysis' on Flickr - at least readers comments are being monitored.

    So credit is deserved for this example of due diligence.

    Maybe some of the points made will be reflected in modifications to the new design, let's hope so.

  • Comment number 22.

    Although, the new site looks more streamlined, in actual fact it's
    harder to navigate and takes longer.

    To get to the "Listen Again" on Woman's Hour (which used to be a case
    of clicking the link in "Popular Programmes" on the Radio 4 homepage
    and then going straight to "listen again"),
    it now takes 5 clicks to get to the same place.

    My other favourite is The Food Programme. This used to take me 2 clicks (factual link from homepage, then "Food Programme")
    where I could then listen to either the current programme, or several previous programmes.
    Now from the homepage I have to click on "F" for title (factual link is also now a click away) then the "Food Programme" link, which takes me to the page for the current programme.

    Then I have to click "Food Programme archive", where I can now only click on keywords.
    As the audio items are now mixed up with the recipes, it is now harder to navigate this list.
    It is also impossible to see when each was broadcast, unless you click into it.
    This makes searching for an episode on say Victorian Christmas, that was broadcast in December, much more difficult.

    The old format where there was a clickable list of past programmes
    (to which I often refer) was much more user-friendly.

    Also, having the recipes together in a column made it easier to browse them.

    I hope my comments have been useful.
    Kind regards,
    Jo Williams.

  • Comment number 23.

    It was a nice try but frankly I agree with all the negative comments which have already been made. I find it very difficult to access the programmes I like. I found it hard to locate past programmes to download. Could we please please have the old webpage back!
    Thank you.

  • Comment number 24.

    OK it might look better but where has the content gone!?

    I can't seem to access archive material.

    I no way get the same amount of info without a lot more clicks.

    I used to go to the comedy page and it was all there, a list of all the programmes whether they were running or not. One click and you had lots of info. Now alas not.

    If this is really going to be an improvement increase the content and dont reduce it!

    And why such big text!? Your developers my have mega screen resolution/size but I guess most of us will not!

  • Comment number 25.

    @blynnog It looks like the Farming Today comments went missing temporarily and are now restored to their proper place on the Farming Today home page: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/farming-today/comments/

  • Comment number 26.

    Absolutely awful. When I go to a programme page, I want to read about the content of the programme, and not stare at a great big picture of the presenter. You used to do it properly; why have you stopped doing this? Radio 4 is for intelligent people, not the halfwitted idiots you seem to think we are. We're not all as dim as the people you employ on your interactive team.

  • Comment number 27.

    As an avid radio 4 fan, I am devastated by the redesign - it's SO muddly - the News headlines have gone, the weather takes loads of clicks- anathema to good web design.

    It's no longer my home page...and won't be again until it's more user friendly - why oh why was the re-design so uneccesarily radicle...if it's not broken, don't fix it, because Radio 4 is WONDERFUL...but the new website is DREADFUL

  • Comment number 28.

    @snowpax I welcome your opinion of the redesign but this is a blog, not a free-for-all and I expect contributors to be polite, especially to the hard-working and creative people who have spent many months designing and engineering the new site.

    Since this is your first comment, I won't remove it. If you're as rude again, I will.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • Comment number 29.

    Everything has got larger, meaning that a great deal less fits on one screen and I have to move about more. Is there some reason for this? The site was previously well-organised and an excellent portal. I expect it still is, but it's harder to manoeuvre with all the scrolling up and down.

    For example - the large picture under the four alternatives home/programmes/schedule/podcasts: (now, 7pm Friday, it's about 'A Question of Royalty') means that I now have to scroll down every time I visit the website to see the (rest of the) content and find what I want.

  • Comment number 30.

    It was not broke and you mended it, at a cost in licence payers cash one supposes.
    Can we please have the old site back?

  • Comment number 31.

    there really is no point in complaining; there were thousands of complaints against the re-designed Radio 7 site but nothing was altered. The BBC obviously believe they know best and are not interested in their customers. Unfortunately it isn't like shopping were there is always an identical alternative if one is given poor service. I wish there was and maybe then the BBC would listen to us. I don't doubt that a lot of thought and effort went into re designing this site what I don;t understand is why. When there isn't enough money to make decent new programmes why waste thousands on something no one wants?

  • Comment number 32.

    I think the 'Key Stories' area needs some tweaking, mainly to the font sizes in each story. The text in the tabs could also do with being reduced so that it only takes up two lines (rather than three), perhaps allowing for a bit more text in each story.

    In the 'Popular Programmes' section perhaps it would be worth adding a "View series" type link so that users could view the programme/series page, which tends to contain more details than the episode pages.

    It also a pity the link to the message boards isn't more prominent on the home page as the blog link is. With the closure of the radio section on the PoV boards I suspect demand for Radio 4's message boards may increase. On a related note any chance of getting this blog and the message boards updated to use the new layout?

  • Comment number 33.

    Oh how I agree with tne negative comments made so far.

    People like snowpax may have been very outspoken but I think most of us have felt generally a sympathy with those comments.

    Sad that personal remarks were made but the very personal photos on the site rather encouraged that.

    Most of us are probably not that interested in the people who produced the site. They just want one that works well for them.

    Leave the personal stuff out , and maybe feelings won't be quite so hurt.
    arlatan

  • Comment number 34.

    Really no one making comments has been rude. Frank and expressing a view but 'rude' is not the word. Why assign this pejorative term to someone who is saying what they feel? Is it to make others feel it is not very safe to be frank about their views? i agree with all the comments and am alarmed about the 'moderator' having the ability to simply dismiss a comment that was pertinent and made good points.

  • Comment number 35.

    Evenin' all.

    I looked at the description of Thursday's Afternoon Play on iPlayer. It said:

    "Robert returns from holiday in pain from an illness with a very unusual cure."

    Oh dear. Not particularly enticing - sounded a bit 'medical' to me. Not much to go on there, I thought. So I went to the brand new Radio 4 website, and then clicked on Programmes, and then clicked on A, and then clicked on Afternoon Play ("Radio dramas which delight and surprise"), and then got to the Afternoon Play page ("Radio dramas which delight and surprise"), and found the description of the play was now:

    "Robert returns from holiday in pain from an illness with a very unusual cure."

    Oh dear.

    So I then clicked on the play item itself to see if any other nuggets of information might be forthcoming, and yes, there it was, in all its splendour:

    "Robert returns from holiday in Thailand in crippling pain from an illness with a very unusual cure."

    Hmmmm, this is interesting I thought. The holiday destination is now revealed to be Thailand and the illness is now revealed to be a result of a crippling pain! Yes, we were definitely getting somewhere now. This was definitely a medical drama. And in case you're wondering why I should mention that, it's just that it struck me as being a bit of an odd area for the playwright concerned. No matter.

    Ever-inquisitive, and being a bit of a dab hand at the old Radio 4 website game, I then consulted the description given on the old Afternoon Play page; it says:

    "When Robert returns from a holiday in Thailand, he thinks he is dying from a surplus of feeling too much for the world and his cousin Lily has just the answer."

    A surplus of feeling! This was an interesting twist. What had happened to the crippling pain? And the illness? And note how cousin Lily is now revealed to have the answer. Ooooh, I thought, the description of the plot is now getting very confused indeed. Whatever could this all mean? Clearly this was not a medical drama at all. Was I being misled by the previous descriptions? Was this some devious game of click the next page to see if anything further would be revealed?

    (Incidentally, the old Afternoon Play gives the descriptions of ten plays and their characters and actors and producers and directors and sometimes who is doing the music. Unfortunately, this useful page is shortly to be discarded.)

    Apologies for the digression, and on with my quest. I thought I would try the trusty iPlayer database. Now for those of you who aren't familiar with this magnificent beast, this categorises everything. It's quite foolproof, you know. There are sceptics out there who had commented some months ago that attempts to categorise radio drama were doomed to failure. But no, the BBC is supremely confident in its magnificent new system, which is designed to outlast a thousand-year reich. So what category would Thursday's little Afternoon Play be placed in I wondered. And here, dear reader, you have to know a little inside knowledge. The play is by Ed Harris, award-winning author of "Porshia". Knowing this, it is a fair bet that his new one might be about, let's see, relationships, or maybe, a psychological piece. Yes. That must be it. Surely the infallible iPlayer database would get such elementary categorisation right, assuming my hunch was true of course. And here things get a little bit more complicated. On the genre page for drama, we get a choice of 'Classic and Period', 'Crime', 'Historical', 'Musical', 'Political', 'Psychological', 'Relationships and Romance', 'Soaps', 'Spiritual', and 'Thriller'. Quite a choice huh? Now stay with me on this one, because the new Afternoon Play page also gives further genres of 'Action and Adventure', 'Biographical', 'Horror and Supernatural', 'Legal and Courtroom', 'Medical', 'SciFi and Fantasy', 'Spiritual', and 'War and Disaster'. Blimey, I thought, this is getting to be quite a puzzle. Now I would be the first to accept that categorising a Harold Pinter play might be something of a non-trivial exercise for the trusty iPlayer database, and one where a degree of subjectivity would be necessary, but surely iPlayer could cope easily with an Afternoon Play? Dear reader, I will spare you the details of the rest of the pages I consulted, but it appears that Ed Harris' "Aromatherapy" play has been categorised only as 'Spiritual'. Most unlike Ed Harris I think you will agree - he is not known to be one of the happy-clappy gang. Indeed, if I was Ed Harris, I might be inclined to have serious words with the BBC about defamation of character.

    In the end I turned to my trusty copy of the Radio Times - this was more like it:

    "Returning from Thailand, 20-something Robert has abandoned his girlfriend and believes that he is suffering from too much love, pain and feeling. His cousin Lily persuades him to have an operation to remove his soul using aromatherapy, which results in a new, meaningless world."

    Ah yes, a new, meaningless world. Somehow those words rang so true. A new, meaningless world devoid of content and added value. A world where one wanders aimlessly from place to place, beset by blind avenues and confusing turns.

    I'm glad I always buy a copy of the Radio Times. It's very good value for money. I think I will be consulting it more thoroughly in future.

    Russ

    P.S. The play was excellent, btw.

  • Comment number 36.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Russ, and everyone else's negative comments - this is a disaster.

    I have just tried to find The Afternoon Play on the new site and, as Russ so rightly said, there's a lot missing - I want to be able to see the whole list of plays and also what's coming up the following week. I also liked to see the list of characters, etc., which have disappeared - don't they matter any more?

    I have been put off trying to find anything else, but as I live in France will have to persevere I suppose.

    I sincerely hope that you will kill this site quickly. I'm very disappointed in the BBC - perhaps someone can explain why you did it?

  • Comment number 37.

    Where's the weather? That's what I want to know.
    Well, I do actually know now how to reach it, but as a result I no longer need your homepage, which we did have for many years as our default - so it'll be goodbye to that from now on - why have a page that looks like so many others? It's not worth skimming over, let alone using.

  • Comment number 38.

    Congratulations - you've made Radio 4 look like an EBAY item

    THIS SITE IS TERRIBLE

    I'm not a confused older computer illiterate radio4 listener, I'm 28, I work with computers all day (I'm a private secretary) and YET DESPITE MY SKILLS I find this site MORE DIFFICULT to navigate than before.

    It's ridiculous! Ugly! Difficult to use and follow!

    PLEASE REVERT BACK

    This site is the MCDONALDS DRIVE THRU of bad websites

  • Comment number 39.

    Dear Team,
    It was a nice idea, thank you, but it doesn't work and you will really have to put your energies into something more user friendly than this, it is simply awful.
    Have any of you actually tried to use it? If any of you had used the previous website why did you feel the need to change it, it was easy to use and it was actually possible to listen to programmes - where has 'Listen Again' gone to?
    Sorry lads but you'll just have to tried harder next time .
    0/10 I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 40.

    Whilst i appreciate that time and effort had been spent on this redesign, i like the majority of other contributers feel there has been no true improvement.

    Neither do i understand why tonight The Now Show did not appear on the alphabetical listings on iplayer.
    Why is it taking longer for programmes to appear and indeed play on iplayer when going through the new (lack of) links?

    Again to echo an earlier comment i don't want to see Ricky Tomlinson enlarged on the Radio 4 homepage, happy to see recommendations and suggestions to pick up new programmes that may be of interest but do not need this prescriptive forced placement of content.

    The new site seems to take longer and more tortuous routes to reach what i know is there but is neither user friendly nor somewhere where i see myself having the time or energy to explore.

    Finally i have no desire to go backwards if improvements would make our lives better but i'm still looking for the evidence.

  • Comment number 41.

    What a shame it appears there is no logical way to navigate the new site. A quick listing of all available episodes of the afternoon play with a link to the friday play ,the classic serial etc would be nice, rather than having to guess the genre.
    Jerry

  • Comment number 42.

    Sorry but I hate the new design. Before all the links such as Today, The Archers, The Arts, Afternoon Play etc. were all clearly marked. I don't want to be hit between the eyes by Choice of the Day and popular Podcasts, I want a clearly defined map I can follow (as before) which takes me where I want to go. I do not want to have to scroll to the Alphabet and then more of the same to lead me to what I want. It was much quicker before. Change is ok if it is improvement, this is not an improvement.

  • Comment number 43.

    I did not like the new layout but tried to persevere. No good.....it seems like change for chnges sake. Simply having to re-learn when all I want is to go to where I want to go.
    Now I get lost!

  • Comment number 44.

    Well, this is a crushing disappointment. I teach university-level history (history of science, environmental history) at a technology-rich university where all students have laptops. Radio 4's archive of past programmes -- from Material World to Science Friction to Test-tubes and Tantrums to, of course, the peerless In Our Time -- was (and I stress WAS) a superb teaching resource. I could assign an archived programme to my students, have them listen to it on their own time, alongside their readings, and discuss in class, say, Simon Schama's views on the history of heat, or the battle between Newton and Leibniz's followers over the origin of calculus, or a hundred other truly wonderful subjects given the brilliant BBC Radio 4 treatment. Can you imagine how marvellous that was for providing richness and breadth to the students' educational experience? Now it's gone and the BBC is impoverished as a result. The point is not that this inconveniences me, because it doesn't; heck, I can just assign a few more chapters of readings to cover the same material -- but the scintillating discourse of, say, In Our Time, or the documentary sophistication of Frontiers, or the balance of Costing the Earth is going to be unavailable to my students and that is nothing less than an intellectual tragedy.

  • Comment number 45.

    Oh, and following on from my post of 11:59pm above, I'm afraid that it's not only the loss of the vast majority of the archive that's irksome. The new site is brutal to navigate; the three-frame system of the old site, with genres on the left, current programme descriptions in the middle, and a ribbon on the right of past programmes, etc., was simple, intuitive, and elegant. This catastrophe of a redesign -- for that's what it is, a catastrophe -- is neither simple nor elegant but, worse than that, it's entirely illogical and counterintuitive.
    One example: Our old friend, the Now Show -- If I navigate to the Now Show via the genre (Entertainment and Comedy) route to the Now Show page there is NO INDICATION THERE THAT IT'S AVAILABLE AS A PODCAST! In other words, if I went that route to the show, I'd think (wrongly) that the podcast had been eliminated for the Now Show. I could, of course, force-listen via the iPlayer but that kind of obviates the point of the podcast format, no? Yes, I know that I can access it via the "podcast" menu at the top of the "Programmes" page but it seems currently that this is now the ONLY way to do so. Surely, SURELY it makes sense to indicate that a programme is available as a podcast ON THAT PROGRAMME'S OWN PAGE, no? Whose oversight was that?
    This whole thing looks rushed and frankly botched too -- I worried that something like this was coming down the pike when Radio7's site went, err, "modern". I'm guessing the same stylesheet was used here too. It made Radio7 vastly more difficult to navigate, and that was with R7's vastly narrower programme stable. With Radio 4's much broader offerings it's hopeless. Sorry, but please, please bring back the old site design!

  • Comment number 46.

    Not done yet, I'm afraid. I admit that, after much hunting I've been able to find the back catalogue for In Our Time and Material World, but my points above still stand: the great majority of the archive has been crippled. And I still argue that the redesign is, in fact, responsible for this apparent loss of back catalogue -- bear with me, a couple of examples demonstrates this best. Let's begin by using In Our Time, as follows:
    If you navigate to the In Our Time page in the new design, url as follows

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jdb6c

    you discover the following:
    (a) the programme is 28 minutes long (we're informed of this in two separate locations on the page)
    (b) Availability is "5 days left to listen"

    Neither of these is true, strictly speaking, and one is outright false. The programme is not 28 minutes long ("what have they done to our Melvyn?" I thought!), it's the usual 43 minutes in length. The programme is indeed available on the iPlayer for another five days, but it's available in the IOT archive as it's always been -- this accounts in part for my confusion concerning the elimination of IOT's archive. But I stress the caveat "in part"! Why? Well try this navigational track:

    At the bottom of the IOT programme page, click the "For more, try the episode (92) guide" link. Pick a year, any year (I sound like a card trick now). Make it easy, pick 2008 then the first programme in that year's list -- on Albert Camus. Guess what you get? A page prominently displaying the message, "Sorry, this programme is not available to listen again . Why?"

    Nowhere -- NOWHERE -- on that page does it say that, in fact the programme IS available, as all the other archival back-catalogue is for IOT, via RealPlayer.

    And how do you find that information? Not by clicking on any of the what should be intuitive links on the page regarding past or available or upcoming programmes, but only by clicking on the "Go to the homepage for 'In Our Time'" link on the right hand side. And where does that take you? Back to the old, familiar, thankfully unbroken IOT homepage with its familiar three-column setup, its host of additional information on any particular programme, from contributors' information to -- gasp! -- further research / reading on the subject, and so on. All of this material added richness to the listening experience.

    But here's the point, and here's why I think my criticisms outlined in the above two posts stand: for the majority of the other programmes I mentioned above in those posts, there IS NO WAY to get back to their "old" webpages as there is with IOT. This means, effectively, that all that content is stripped and gone. I claimed above that the redesign is at fault for this. You don't accept that claim? Then try finding any back archive for Costing the Earth via the new site. You can't. At least, I can't. But why not go here

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/costingtheearth.shtml

    Where you will find, ready for it?, the back archive for Costing the Earth, in its old-format glory. The only way I discovered this was to DO A SEARCH in the page-top searchbar for "Costing the Earth"!!

    Gentlemen, Ladies: I humbly submit the following -- if the only way I can find older material on your site, the ONLY way, is to do a search in the searchbar, if navigating to a programme's homepage does not reveal, elicit, provide, offer or otherwise hint at that content's availability, then your site is irretrievably and disgracefully broken.

  • Comment number 47.

    I'm back again, commenting again. I never bother with comments but this is a NATIONAL DISGRACE!

    I've given it a few hours and it's just getting worse, everything is so NON SENSICAL it's driving me to distraction.

    BBC: if you really want to know what we think,

    1. make commenting easier

    AND

    2. Give your listeners the option of using the OLD website.

    Radio4 has been my homepage for 5 years. I just took it down - this is so STUPID I'm furious. When are you going to see that a group of designers sitting around a table don't necessarily KNOW WHAT YOUR LISTENERS WANT?

    This site is so hard to use

    I'm devestated that you've done this.

    Radio4 was a part of my daily life, and it's like I've woken up to the BBC's evil DOPPELGANGER in place of the station I knew and loved.

    Goodbye Radio 4

  • Comment number 48.

    I appreciate all your hard work on what may be possibly my favorite site. Radio 4 has great internet radio programs on History and Science. Now I can't find anything and wander around lost, clicking madly and backing up again. Perhaps I'll get the hang of it, perhaps not. But the overall feel of the site is that much has been deleted. :(

  • Comment number 49.

    It's clear that tinkering with anything concerning radio 4 is dangerous, but I like the new site - works fine in Firefox and Safari. BBCR4 is a terrific resource that I use daily - thank you!

  • Comment number 50.

    I like the design, it's clean and great....But..I'm in the USA now and my one consolation "listening again" to the BBC radio 4.....Where is it?

    I've spent 5 (cyberspace minutes trying to get to listen to something)!

    Seems the new BBC radio 4 is younger and more aware....which is good, but I just like to dawdle with old dusty professor's who have spent a lifetime learning.....

    Guess I will have to get with it a bit more, or look at free audio book sites...

  • Comment number 51.

    Sorry guy's.

    Life is all about moving on.

    I'm frustrated and will check back in a couple of months, but I have spent ages trying to listen again to something, and it just aint happening. One dead link after another.

    Off to the free audio book sites.

    I will tell my grandchildren, England once had the best radio station on the planet.

    Good luck in the future

  • Comment number 52.

    Please please please bring the old website back. I hate the new look, I find it ugly, confusing, thin on information, forgettable, insipid, bland, disappointing, unhelpful, abbreviatory and crude. No longer my home website - I'd be better off with ITV!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    Now that I've read the preceding 49 comments, I feel better. CaldyHill's, it took you from 11.59 pm (when you reported the collapse of the entire BBC Science archive into an abyss) until 1.44 am to dig it back out. I'm impressed. Took me 2 days.

    For everyone else, the key to finding a programme on the website is:

    i) Avoid logical thinking
    ii) Don't believe the site information
    (especially concerning archived programmes).
    iii) Don't expect it to be easy. It isn't.

    Nicola Hayes-Allen


  • Comment number 54.

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

  • Comment number 55.

    Nope, not really liking the new look. The last thing I want is an enormous photograph of people standing round a mike, recording a show. Radio is ALL about fantasy and imagination - I don't want to see the real people, sorry.

    Nor are the sites working as well as they used to (which hasn't been great anyway since the introduction of iplayer) but this is worse. For example, clicking on the Archers does not bring up the latest recording, clicking on the Archers brings up yet another date and the only way to find the latest edition is to download the podcast - what a palaver. And why, when it's Friday, does the Archers have "Wed" in brackets next to it?

    This is just one example but I don't find it easy to navigate at all for any of the sections - it seems I have to go through MORE steps, not less, to find what I want. Not good.

  • Comment number 56.

    Regrettably, you've fallen for the current trends in web access. The site is very pretty and virtually useless. Lots of pics (who cares) significantly reduced amounts of program info that is difficult ton get at and no easy way to find the program groups. Before I could go to the Afternoon Theatre page and get the full week's program listings with useful summaries and cast lists all on the one page (in fact two weeks worth - the current and the past week). Quite frankly the loss of this alone makes the new site virtually useless. The same applies to the afternoon reading and the woman's hour drama pages. In fact it is now apparently impossible to get series grouped. I have to trawl through 'just broadcast' and 'coming up' listings which double or triple the number of clicks needed to find the program. There are rules about site construction and one is that the more clicks a visitor has to do then the exponentially worse the site is. And yours is now significantly worse than it was. I spent an hour off and on today trying to track down info on the past week's afternoon theatre transmissions with only limited success. I'm afraid it's just not good enough. I don't need 'pretty' I need information in an orderly fashion on your programs. The series need to be grouped in easily accessible pages (Gosh, wasn't that how you had it?) Surely a little bit of thought would have told you this and enabled you to control the geeks who put the atrocity that is the new R4 site together. I really hope that someone with a bit of common sense steps in and corrects the mess to give us a useful site again.

  • Comment number 57.

    Amongst examples of the new layout weaknesses is the provision of catalogues detailing past programmes, but no means of access - so what's the point in listing these?

    Take one example, "Just a Minute". We can now see listings for all the shows during the past two years. Wow, that's great! Yet, what's the point? We can't listen to any past programmes or find any details other than who participated in the panel game.

    This is not to say the BBC must keep a full "Listen Again" archive of all programmes. It's merely to highlight the negligible use of publishing information from which no use can be derived.

    This point can be extrapolated for most of the past radio programmes. So, overall, this merely illustrates an absence of genuinely useful content.

  • Comment number 58.

    @45: As such there is not and never has been a 'Now Show' podcast. There is however a 'Friday Night Comedy' podcast, which alternates between the Now Show and the News Quiz. This is probably why the podcast isn't listed on the programme page. By comparison for programmes such as Farming Today where there is a podcast of the same name a 'podcast' head appears on the programme page http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qj8q

    Overall as the /programmes basic content was previously being entered for the iPlayer it makes more sense to make proper use of this feature. The previous programme pages on the old Radio 4 site were manually created, meaning it costed more money as it was requiring some to duplicate existing content. It also wasn't easy to update existing pages when changes to the site were made, for instance the 'Blog' was added to the home page navigation but not into existing pages.

    I can see why the BBC left updating the Radio 4 website until all other national radio sites were updated. Maybe some of those complaining about the new site in this blog should have read and responded to http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radio4/2009/03/more_on_the_new_radio_4_web_si.html when previews of the new style pages were made available back on March 19th or clicked on the previews via the old header link.

  • Comment number 59.

    I really dislike the redesign! I was comfortable with the way it was, it worked for me and now its a struggle to navigate.

    Also, why can't I get Friday night's Archers?

    Suppose it keeps you in a job, which IS something.

  • Comment number 60.

    Was this tested? I can't in-one glance find what programme is on now, and what is on next. I would have thought that's the most basic objective. The fonts have grown to an enormous size - it looks like a kids website. Many of the title fonts have spilled over the edge of the box and cannot be read. Many of the words in adjacent boxes actually overlap. I'm running a very standard windows XP with standard internet settings so I can't be the only one and I don't fancy changing settings anyway to accommodate one website. I also find the choice of content on the page bizzarre - there's a focus only on "popular" programmes; Radio 4 listeners are intelligent enough to seek out the less popular and there's no easy way to do that. For example the old page had an easy accessible mix of the intelligent, unusual as well as popular. It also duplicates information better available on other sites - BBC news, The Sun - big headline people stories stuff (today on assisted suicide) that frankly I turned to Radio 4 to avoid. And finally I have to come back again to my very first point - what is on NOW and NEXT should be instantly accessible. This feels like a site designed with semi-uneducated teenagers in mind who want bright colours and Jade Goody.

  • Comment number 61.

    I've now lived with the site for the last few days and still don't really like it.

    I'm not one of the people who say "why update it - waste of money". It absolutely needed an update, but I just don't like the direction you've taken it in.

    I do think it has potential and am confident that it will improve (as long as you listen to our feedback). My pros/cons are:

    - I like the new alphabetical programmes directory. A easier interface than the older version.

    - I will probably get used to the new programme catalogue pages, which feel much more like a standardised catalogue/database than the old system used to. I'm convinced this is the right approach, but feel it needs more content packed in to make it more comprehensive/useful.

    - I like the slightly more dynamic page elements (choice of the day and the ad-box but it should be smaller).

    - Don't like the bulkiness of the page items. Too little content taking up too much space. I think that everything should be a bit smaller and then you should fit more in. The old homepage felt compact, a distilled version of all the interesting R4 things happening. The new version feels 'puffy' and lightweight; consequently making it feel like there is less actual content in the overall site (but I'm not sure if there is or isn't).

    - Please do something with that ghastly ad-box. I like the concept, but the execution is too brash. More information please and smaller pictures. How about redesigning it so it included eight rather than four highlights? Then a lot more information about each.

    (Incidentally, I'm occasionally involved in designing websites and systems as part of my job - I know how dispiriting negative feedback can me. Keep up the good work, I really am confident that with a number of moderate tweaks, the whole thing will be well worth the effort you've all put in. Thanks!)

  • Comment number 62.

    How can we Radio Four listeners and webusers get rid of the new website ? I'm not against change, but we need something that is usable and not pointless eye-candy (my favourite grouse is that you can no longer view the two weeks schedule of afternoon plays).

    It's obvious to even the most fervent BBC apologist that user sentiment is overwhelmingly against the new design: just read the messages above. There must be some way we can begin a campaign to properly redesign this useless, ugly website.

  • Comment number 63.

    To fellow Mac users: google iPlayer Downloader to enhance iPlayer's facilities.

  • Comment number 64.

    Some wonderful comments have been made. Its the best thing about the "redesign". The comment Russ made - no. 35 , beginning "Evening all ..." on 3rd April, beats anything the redesigners have come up with. It deserves an archive of its own.

    Lets hope the "redesigners" are forced to listen and devise solutions that don't whip so many people into a fury of frustration or cause them to despair.

    Less and smaller pictures.
    Clear and efficient links to the stuff people want.
    Something much closer to the old site, where you don't need to spend long searching.

    arlatan

  • Comment number 65.

    Great look! Functionality has to change! I've just spent 15 minutes trying to listen to the latest Archers, a segment from Wednesday's Woman's Hour, or Wednesday's Afternoon Play. All unsuccessfully. Radio 4 is my lifeline to the intelligent world, but if this re-design isn't re-designed, I may have to switch to Fox.

  • Comment number 66.

    First opinion - Rubbish

    Before going through the sign up process for this forum I went to the Feedback site. You are only allowed 255 characters in the message. What is going on? Are we the radio 4 audience being restricted to Twitter length comments. I am extremely pi**ed off with the BBC at the moment and specifically Radio 4 as I have been a loyal listener for over 30 years now.
    Apols if I have broken anyone else's ranting thread.
    Cheers all, keep up the pressure although I suspect those up and thrusting executives at the BBC who apparently know exactly what I want from the radio provider that I indirectly pay for will do exactly what they think is best for me.
    Russ

  • Comment number 67.

    It took me until today to notice the very discreet "on now". I'd like to link to schedule and arrive at the current programme, not the very start of the day's broadcasting. Also, when I'm listening live and switch to listen again programme, i player opens a second time, instead of just changing what I'm currently listening to.

  • Comment number 68.

    To quote from 'The New Radio 4 Website' introduction

    '....so I hope you find the new one easier to use' -

    Oh dear, wouldn't we all.


  • Comment number 69.

    I love the new colours and layout. Much more modern and easy on the eyes.

    Unfortunately, I can't find anything!! I used to be able to run through the complete listing of radio plays for the week quite easily, and now I can't even find where they are all listed! Makes me wonder if Radio 4 did any real user testing?

  • Comment number 70.

    PLEASE can we have "currently on air" information?

  • Comment number 71.

    bazzle88 - the currently on air info is in the grey bar underneath the BBC logo at the top.

  • Comment number 72.

    From the flakeyness of the previous version site it has now become obvious what the "coding Monkeys' where doing when they should have been maintaining the web site . The current site Unfortunatly has been a exercise in futility -tidy to look at but lacking any tru functionality . worse that the previosu web site . All those wasted Hours of coding to result in this . Shame that you did not trial it with some untrained users, Rather than assums for some strange reason that People came to a "Radio Site" to look at pictures and read drivel rather than listen to Radio . The site has gone from a Motorcyle to a SUV - lots of cup holder but slow and lumbering.

  • Comment number 73.

    From the flakeyness of the previous version site it has now become obvious what the "coding Monkeys' where doing when they should have been maintaining the web site . The current site Unfortunatly has been a exercise in futility -tidy to look at but lacking any true functionality . worse that the previous web site . All those wasted Hours of coding to result in this . Shame that you did not trial it with some untrained users, Rather than assume for some strange reason that People came to a "Radio Site" to look at pictures and read drivel rather than listen to Radio . The site has gone from a Motorcyle to a SUV - lots of cup holder but slow and lumbering.

  • Comment number 74.

    "I hope you find it easier to use, that you use it more often and that you can find what you want more quickly."
    The answer is NO I don't, NO I won't and NO I can't

  • Comment number 75.

    I've had my complaint about the truly incompetent and ill-conceived design of the new Radio 4 site. (It's only what you expect when you turn techie geeks who have no understanding or awareness of what the site they're trying to 'improve' is all about and who it's client base is.) I don't complain about the broken or inaccessible links - it's been that way ever since the i-player was introduced - so I'm used to it - I don't like it, but I've learned to put up with it since the BBC seems incapable of doing anything about it.
    I can now suggest a remedy. It is clear that the site designers don't have any idea about how to design a functional website, only a pretty one (it looks good - it just doesn't work or meet the consumers needs). So put them on to the less taxing job of making sure that all the progamme links are working properly and send them back to design school - oh, and do some decent audience surveys!

  • Comment number 76.

    The links to Programmes and Schedules on the Home Page don't work - all I get is this error message: "No suitable nodes are available to serve your request". Why am I not surprised?

  • Comment number 77.

    Oh dear, another unfamiliar process to learn. I'm feeling very cut off from all my favourite programs. I'm not sure I prefer the new look but it is fresh and uncluttered. Really all I need is something that works. This certainly isn't working well at the moment. Finding programs seems more difficult/impossible and lots just have the "no suitable nodes........." After all, the appearance of the site is irrelevant if it doesn't work. At least I am not the only frustrated listener judging by the comments and I do hope it all improves so I can once again listen easily to my favourite programs.

  • Comment number 78.

    Sorry, Radio 4. The new site is quite poor. I have given up trying to listen today. A lot of the links are broken and it looks like someone has deliberately tried to make it more difficult to use. Where's the link to just listen to a programme. Your old site was superbly easy to navigate. This is definitely not an improvement, alas. Off to NPR to listen to some radio...

  • Comment number 79.

    I have my doubts but I write in the, probably forlorn, hope this is read by someone who can influence the "webdesigners" . Could we not just use the old system for a couple of years while you iron the bugs out of the new one , I am sure any small survey will show that we (the listener) have learnt our lesson and will never ask for anything new again.

  • Comment number 80.

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

  • Comment number 81.

    As a very contented IT engineer who for the last 5 years made and recommended to hundreds of others that they make R4 their Home Page, I'm at a loss to know what to make of the new site !

    I've been asked my opinion scores of times especially these past 2 years from BBC online surveys as to what I thought of the site. I've given constructive answers which said how well it compared to other portals - I can't believe that I was alone in being positive so I'm wondering just where these critical responses came from - inhouse perhaps ?

    I recognise that the BBC won't climb down on this or admit they've got it wrong (especially if it's the Boss who's made the error). So, I've tried to give it a go this past week.

    It is colourful, plenty of big pictures for the children - but as for best web practice like making the home page fit on one screen, or reducing the number of links, or getting to archived material or indeed making it work - this morning it's showing "No suitable nodes are available to serve your request" - it has failed badly.

    It won't stop me listening to Radio 4 live (I'm an avid fan) - but it will stop me listening to program repeats when working at my computer that were solely prompted by the old web site structure.

  • Comment number 82.

    didn't know the hope page had changed while I've been away and can't get any of the 'find a programme' links to work! I'm not impressed with the new website so far!

  • Comment number 83.

    I have never visited this blog before, but was so frustrated with the new site, which I use a lot, that I was driven to.

    I accept that there is a 'familiarisation time' required, but we are several days in now. It seems:

    a) much harder to navigate,, and for most things I want (often not 'popular' programmes) slower
    b) strikingly dumbed down (as signalled, in a way, by the 'clearer' design), with the loss of valuable archive content. I used to think that the website made up for the loss (OK aeons ago) of 'The Listener'. It doesnt any more.
    c) technically bugged. I was in Canada for the first few days of the site and wanted to listen to the Today programme at about midday UK time and it was always 'unavailable', though one could almost piece it together by going from one highlight to the next.

    Overall, decidedly inferior to the previous version and a site that I am put off visiting.

    I was, I should add, surprised and disappointed by the patronising ticking-off meted out to 'snowpax' (see above). The point about blogs is that they allow -- even encourage -- immediate, angry responses. So far as I could see snowpax's only crime was to deem the redesigners 'dim'. Did that really the deserve the management's "As this is a first offence...' reaction?

  • Comment number 84.

    Several weeks ago I started listening to Radio 4 online when a friend of mine prompted me to listen to the afternoon plays. After enjoying my first radio experience in quite a while, I decided to take a look round the site to see what else I could find that might take my interest. During my search I found a huge number of science documentaries and from then on began making my way through them.

    Then the other day I was greeted with what is the new site layout. Since that day I have not listened to Radio 4 online. This is because material is now harder to find, especially the archived material. There used to be a wealth of information available to listeners. I'm now at a loss to find most of it. When looking up some of the shows I have listened to it links me back to the old site. It is awfully confusing.

    If you are trying to attract new listeners, this new site design isn't helping and by the looks of it the seasoned listeners are up in arms to....

  • Comment number 85.

    The feedback above shows that the redesigners have spent a lot of time and effort - according to S. Bowbrick - but are very poor at their job.

    That is putting it very gently.

    The site remains awful. The pictures continue to be huge and so "in your face" that available links are missed.

    Do something about it. Quickly. There are lots of indicators as to what needs doing.
    List them and earn your keep. You haven't been doing that lately.

    arlatan

  • Comment number 86.

    I used to view the Radio 4 'comedy' listings both to find favourites and to look out for new programmes that looked interesting. The new layout just gives a brief selection of 'most popular' which frankly isn't very informative: if a programme is that popular then I'm less likely to need help finding it.

    The new layout makes 'exploring' for new programes (or just items that I' haven't come across before) more difficult. Yes, I can go to the main listings on iPlayer but that then takes me further away from looking for items on Radio 4 and doesn't that sort of thing impact on your audience figures?

  • Comment number 87.

    #75, hepbura: "(It's only what you expect when you turn techie geeks who have no understanding or awareness of what the site they're trying to 'improve' is all about and who it's client base is.)"

    I think you're being a little unfair on the "techie guys" who had to implement the new website. Having now had the chance to read the previous blogs on the subject, this immediately stuck out:

    "It is thanks to the flair and professionalism of our User Experience & Design team, working with our supportive colleagues in Marketing, that this result was achieved."

    It would be interesting to know what these teams think the purpose of a Radio 4 home page is and whether their thoughts coincide with those of the website's users. In essence, it feels as if they were trying to strip Radio 4 of its identity. The current design may work for Radios 1 and 2, but not necessarily Radio 4, which has a considerably broader range of programming. Some of the programmes/series have become the staple of Radio 4, and I expect them to have some presence on the home page, regardless of current week's "daily choices". It doesn't surprise me that people complain when they don't see any of the links to the Woman's Hour, Afternoon Play, Classic Serial, etc., web pages, nor do I think it's only in the interests of older listeners that those links should be brought back. Their presence also gives new listeners an impression about what Radio 4 is. In a previous blog, someone commented that people should bookmark the websites for the programmes they regularly visit, but he misses the point: a new user wouldn't know about the existence of such pages and would therefore be cut off from a wealth of information.

    I appreciate the need to provide a uniform interface across all BBC websites and the challenges the creative archive poses with regard to the storage and retrieval of content. However, I hope that the BBC will give a more serious consideration to the purpose of the Radio 4 website and take on board the comments of both new and existing listeners. As it stands, why bother designing a Radio 4 home page when you can simply redirect visitors to the iPlayer Radio 4 page? The content is pretty much the same and it involves less work.

  • Comment number 88.

    I really don't like the new site. I have to click several times to find the News Headlines which I love.
    But apart from that, the old site was very user friendly - easy to find what one wanted, sober but clear.
    Is this a case of change for change's sake?

  • Comment number 89.

    Having gone from listening to Radio 4 constantly, using REAL PLAYER, for the last few days I have been listening to Australia's Radio National. It is easy to use. I still haven't found the BBC 4's Real Player yet with the new page.

    Also, having sent out an email to many friends suggesting they listen to the Food Programme's Feb 02 programme on Omega 3 called 'Mussels', I feel rather foolish - it seems to have disappeared. It is neither under "Mussels' nor "omega 3", nor can it be accessed by the date of its emission.

    I will no longer automatically go on to the Radio 4 homepage now - it is woefully inefficient to use. It actually feels like a death - and I doubt that the old Radio 4 homepage, with all its links, will be resurrected - quite depressing really. Plus I feel angy - angry enough to join this blog.

  • Comment number 90.

    Did anyone run user tests on this design? The Home Page needs work to re-vamp the layout. Navigation is difficult - even counter-intuitive. It may be because I am stuck in Tanzania but so many programmes are bounced back "Content does not seem to be working" or "Programme not available". These failures are a recent phenomenon. What happened BBC? Is everyone asleep at the wheel!

  • Comment number 91.

    No problems whatsoever navigating the old site, endless difficulty with the new one. Finding material takes many more clicks and as other users have noted, archived material is a particular problem. The old Listen Again was a comparative joy. Many of the audio links aren't functioning either: 'The content doesn't seem to be working. Try again later.'
    A particularly irritating message as there is no 'seem' about it! Or, 'the program is unavailable.' Tried all yesterday to listen to the Now Show and Friday's edition of the Archers. In sum, I agree with the users who commented on the theme of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it.' The new website is not user friendly. FYI, I've got 4 degrees, one of them in Information Science.

  • Comment number 92.

    Having read these comments and similar on the Radio 7 re-vamp I have come to the conclusion that the BBC secretly wants to close all radio broadcasts to concentrated on t.v. technology (see home page on i.player type format for t.v). This seems to be the only reasonable answer as they keep making it more and more difficult to find ANYTHING so much so that we will eventually give up altogether and listen to alternative broadcasters. Wouldn't it be nice if we could withold part of our licience fee (even just £1) as a protest? If Tescos (or any other shop) treated their customers with such comtempt they would soon go out of business. I have always been a supporter of the licience fee but am beginning to question it as it means The Powers That Be can ignore us; they still get paid. One soon to be ex loyal listener.

  • Comment number 93.

    I find the new site takes a lot longer to navigate and is much too complicated. What happened to the Listen Again section? Now when I'm trying to find shows I have to decide what kind of show I want and then search or go through the entire list alphabetically. Both are unsatisfactory. The former reduces the chance of me stumbling across something new and the latter is even more annoying- most of the shows listed are unavailable. When I have eventually found one, I am urged to try again as it is "temporarily unavailable".
    I have ended up listening to NPR on numerous occasions because it is so much easier to use and actually works.

  • Comment number 94.

    @realplayerclare The Food Programme about Omega 3 (Feb 1 2009) is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/foodprogramme_20090201.shtml

  • Comment number 95.

    Overall, I think this has not been a good exercise. In effect, this is the Radio 2 website for Radio 4 and they are very different animals. It is not, apparently designed for a thinking audience, but seems rather an exercise in dumbing down - and one that is not even delivering a comparable service with the old website.

    I really liked, for example, that when I was on the Book at Bedtime page, there were links to all the other reading pages, like Woman's Hour Drama, the Classic Serial, etc. I do miss that.

    Also the service is now worse - the front page often only has out of date programmes on it, eg for The Archers. We live in Canada and we also frequently find that programmes are "unavailable" or "don't seem to be working", when there were many fewer problems before.

    And we don't need so much visual stuff - it's a huge waste of bandwidth. This is radio and Radio 4 listeners are quite capable of reading about things; they maketheir own pictures. It is slower to get to a show, too; you often have to go through three or four clicks to get to a programme - even if it is working.

    And last week, episode 3 of Daunt and Dervish never appeared on the website, only a note suggesting it was unavailable for copyright reasons.

    And as you can see from other comments, there is much else that isn't right about it.

    If you are going to make changes, make sure the new system works and make sure it meets your audience's needs. This one doesn't. Sorry.

  • Comment number 96.

    What I want from the main page of the Radio 4 website :

    1. News Headlines
    2. What is playing now
    3. Links to Listen Again and programme websites
    4. Less visual content

    The new website is too cluttered and has a tabloid feel. Radio listeners do not need to see what the presenters look like nor do we need to see unidentified staff members just sitting around.

    Also, why have the programme websites changed? I tried to find out the guests' choices from the A Good Read site, but it gave no information.

    As an overseas listener, I depend on Radio 4 for balanced, informative programmes and this new website makes it far more difficult to find what I want.

    NOT an improvement.

  • Comment number 97.

    It would be nice to find the Now Playing frame and where is the Listen Again page?
    I use this feature on a daily basis. I also have a wireless internet radio (Pico Wi-Fi) that I use to stream and play On Demand. Due to the time difference of my country I often miss regular programing and rely on the Listen again feature. I also enjoy listening to the old archives. The new site makes this very difficult indeed.

  • Comment number 98.

    I am supremely disappointed with this new web site. I have accessed it 3 times now and each time I have been driven to frustration. The design I find desperately mediocre and i also assume due its perpetual off centre focus, is suited to internet explorer/windows vista as it looks hugely amateurish on my mac via my firefox browser. It is slow to load. I can´t find the things I want to find. There does not seem to be as much information here. There are more pages to go through to get to things I want. It certainly is a general dumbing down, perhaps again with a particular visitor profile in mind. A visitor who moves between pages at a slower pace, who needs larger type, less text on a page and who only accesses a small proportion of what R4 has to offer. I never write on blogs, but was so incensed by my last visit to the website that I just have to make my feelings known. It really is in NO way an improvement. Also would like to add that in the signing in process for the blog, there are a couple of dead links and things that dont actually make any sense. How is all this possible? With the quality of programming that radio 4 has, how can it be that its new web page is so mind numbingly shoddy? Also as I spend a lot of time out of the UK working, I often access R4 abroad and rely on it to keep me informed and up to date about current events. I dread to think how these new changes will affect overseas access to programmes. I repeat I am deeply disappointed and do not understand how the quality of the service is so poor.

  • Comment number 99.

    First up, I want to say that more than anything I am supremely grateful for being able to listen to R4 from New Zealand. Also that i work on the website of a media company and know how hard it is to please everyone with this sort of redesign. The moaners can get you down!

    My main comments would be:
    - Now playing - My biggest issue. The design of this bit is not distinct enough to stand out and the showname doesn't look like it relates to the words "On Radio 4 now" . In fact, as I type the show is Feedback so it looks like the word Feedback is just an independant link to give feedback!

    Also with now playing it would be much better to have the time of the show on it so you knew how long there was to go. If you have 10mins spare to listen i don't really want to hear the latter 10mins of a play but maybe i would stick around if the play had 1min to run and i knew that XXXX was coming up next.

    Also, i know you can go to the schedule to find out what's on next, but it's rather cumbersome when you could just put that info very tidily above the fold on the homepage. Another problem with this is that when you actually do click through to the schedule it doesn't indicate what is on right now. So unless you're on UK time it's all somewhat of a palaver to simply find out what's on right now, how long it will be on for, and what follows.

    Other than that, flash panel a little bit on the big side for my tastes, otherwise good job! The old page was looking old and cluttered.

    Cheers.

  • Comment number 100.

    I can't really comment on the redesign becasue the layout is all over the place! Why? Because I set my Windows default font size to 125% to make it easier to read.

    This is perfectly standard practice, and has been a feature of Windows for as long as I can remember. I imagine that, given the age profile of Radio 4 listeners, many others do this.

    Surely allowing for this is just good technical practice and ought to be catered for by any professinally-produced website! Please can your programmers do the business and sort this out!

 

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