Changes to international pages
Across the BBC website we are making a change to the way we present content for audiences inside and outside the UK.
Up to now, people outside the UK who visited the website could select a UK version and those within the UK could select an international version of the site.
A radio button in the "set location" section at the top of the BBC homepage and on the left hand side of News and Sport pages allowed you to switch between versions.
From now on this won't be the case. The button is going, so if you are inside the UK you will simply see the UK version, outside the UK you'll see the international version.
But - and I'm resorting to italics here to stress this - all the same content will be available as now so you'll still be able to get both UK and international news wherever you are.
The UK front page of the News site will still have international stories amongst the headlines of the day, and of course the usual links to all the world sections of the site.
The international version will have links to all the UK sections, along with a new, expanded area for UK headlines. We're not taking away any of the content you can already see. You'll still be able to get to popular indexes like England, Scotland and Magazine by following the UK link on the section navigation at the left of the front page.
Here's how the change will affect the main BBC homepage - my colleague Ian Hunter explains:
"The new customisable BBC homepage at bbc.co.uk and bbc.com launched in February 2008. It was significantly different from the previous version and gave users the ability to shape content on the page to suit their personal interests. With this in place, there was less need to offer fixed editorial versions.
"The only significant exception is the main feature of the homepage (which differs between the UK and the rest of the world). Anyone abroad investing a few moments customising their homepage can set up a 'UK-flavoured' international page for themselves - not to mention one aligned more with their personal tastes and interests. Do you want the latest tennis results? Technology news? Great - we can do that too."
So why bother with the change? Because the option allowing you to choose "site versions" (which relatively few of you actually chose to use) has started to lead to some potentially frustrating experiences for you, as well as some significant technical complications for us.
One of the reasons for this is the growth in the amount of video and audio around the site which, with the "versions" set-up we've had in place so far, has led to a growing number of potentially confusing results.
For example, international users selecting the UK version might follow prominent links from front pages only to find messages saying things like: "Currently BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only". (The BBC doesn't have the legal rights to show content on the iPlayer abroad though that may change in future).
Other content too may only be available to some audiences, for rights and legal reasons. Some sports coverage on the BBC, for example, is restricted to the UK, whilst the BBC World News TV channel is produced for international audiences.
The change also means that the advertising which you can see on our pages if you are outside the UK can be integrated around our pages without the need to change page formats for the UK version of the site.
We hope the change we're about to make will mean things are simpler all round. Front pages will be optimised for wherever you are, and content throughout the site should be simpler for us to produce and easier for you to find your way around.
UPDATE, 18:07, 11 June: Thanks for all your comments. Here are some responses to the main points you've been making:
Several of you mention customising pages - don't forget this only applies to the BBC Homepage where customisation has been an option for some time already. You can find out more about making changes to the BBC homepage here.
The News and Sport front pages aren't customisable in this way. But a simple way to get straight to the content you want (other than following the "UK" and "World" links on the left side of the page) would be to bookmark the page you want to visit most often - whether that is UK news, world news or another section of the site.
There is also now a dedicated UK headlines section on the international-facing News front page, so those of you looking for UK headlines from the front page internationally will see them there.
And, to repeat what I said in my original post, all the same content will be available as now so you'll still be able to get both UK and international news wherever you are.
For those of you with your internet access routed through a non-UK server (for example if you're in the UK and work for a company based overseas) you might look to our servers as though you are an international user, so you will see the international versions of pages. We recognise this may not be your preferred version, but there's the new UK headline section on the front page of the international version, as well as the link to UK news.
Some of you are saying you are viewing the website from within the UK on a UK connection and you can still see the international edition, in which case please use this form to let us know.
We really do need to make these changes to allow the site to work better, so we will try our best to work through and resolve the issues you are raising. Thanks again for the feedback, it is appreciated.
UPDATE, 17:29, 12 June: My colleague John O'Donovan has written about the recent (now resolved) issues affecting video/audio playback, the ticker and the picture galleries. You can read more and comment at the BBC Internet Blog.
UPDATE, 11:04, 13 June: Some users in the UK are seeing the international edition due to the way their internet provider connects them to the web. We are working closely with those companies on a solution to correctly identify which of their subscribers are in the UK and to serve them the correct edition.
More on customisation: some of you who have been using the ability to customise news, weather and sport by postcode from the UK front page will have lost that if you are outside the UK. Ideally, we would not have taken that away, it's just that it wasn't possible to maintain it and still carry out the changes we had to make. It was used by a relatively small number of you, but if you were one of them - I'm sorry, and please bear with us while we work on developing the site. We'll be looking at how to make the site customisable in other ways as part of that work.
UPDATE, 15:17, 15 June: There's a new post on the changes here.
UPDATE, 15:57, 19 June: The active post with open comments on the changes is now here.
Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website.