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The new Radio 4 web site

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Mark Damazer Mark Damazer 10:44, Tuesday, 31 March 2009

R4homepageNew.jpg

The Radio 4 website was in need of an overhaul and today - after a lot of work and audience research - comes a new one. The disappearing site was rather cluttered and things were often difficult to find. Under the surface the edifice was kept together by increasingly frayed technology. So I hope you find the new one easier to use, that you use it more often and that you can find what you want more quickly.

There's one new feature in particular which I hope you will find rewarding - the topical subjects area on our new homepage. You can choose one of the individual subjects/topics listed - then click and you will be linked to current R4 material on that subject (Try Barack Obama or Recession). Similar links will appear on many of our new programme pages. At the moment we can't do that with as many subjects as we'd like - but we intend to build on what we have and add many more . Doubtless there will be some problems - but we will iron them out. But for the time being - enjoy it and I know that R4's interactive team would welcome constructive feedback.

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  • Some photographs from the morning of the big day.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    It's generally great, much better than the old site, which does seem to make reappearances at times, such as http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/

    I'm having problems with the "Choice of the day" box in Chrome 2.0, sometimes it displays correctly, others it appears broken into three parts.

    Also in the Choice of the day, programmes are listed that can't be listen to yet (such as "Britishness"), surely this box should take you to things to actually listen to?

    Also getting "[an error occurred while processing this directive]" on the odd page, such as http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jb1sp

  • Comment number 2.

    I think you could do with pushing the new css out as I'm getting lots of layout issues until I refresh

  • Comment number 3.

    In general: thumbs up! Much nicer than the old site was.

    But: I have to scroll up and down more than I used to (without scrolling I can see only as far as the 'Choice of the Day' title), and I liked being able to see a week's worth of 'Choice of the Day' without having to scroll through the days.

  • Comment number 4.

    Much, much better look and feel. Though, like others I am also having problems with the "Choice of the Day". It's not displaying correctly on my Mac, using Safari.

    Screenshot here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/markaw/3400817051/

  • Comment number 5.

    I think the new site is looking fantastic.
    Really nice design, strikes me as really clear and user-friendly; a huge improvement on the old site - even if the shock of it is momentarily disconcerting. Who did the design work?

    Anna in Edinburgh

  • Comment number 6.

    #4 That's exactly what I get with Chrome 2.0 on XP.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'd like to see a listen live button for Radio4LW (long wave) on the website, or have this included in the "live radio" section of the iPlayer; the world service 24 hour news channel should also be included in the iPlayer instead of having to search for this on a seperate website.

  • Comment number 8.

    I live outside the UK and enjoy listening to programmes. I understand that some of the programmes are restricted by copyright and are therefore not available on iPlayer. Please would you mark these programmes somehow so I can be sure to listen to them live. I've been disappointed a few times recently when I've tried to listen to something and it's not available.

  • Comment number 9.

    Will you ever stop tiddling things about? It runs very slowly and I can't get things to play!

  • Comment number 10.


    The hierarchy looks good to me, clean and should be easy to find the programmes I like. The promotes selected upcoming programmes well. I hope this is helpful:

    I would like to see a live radio 4 link from the Radio 4 blog page back to to the Radio 4 home page, the logo refers right back to this page right now.

    Still a glitch or two for me in Safari, with text in Find a Progamme by Genre out of alignment. I'm also seeing the header for The unbelievable Truth running over the Radio 4 logo and link, which works as a back button and is only a bit visually confusing.

    A reload problem in Choice of the Day, loading unreliably.


  • Comment number 11.

    Really like.

    Same issue in Chrome re 'Choice of the Day'

  • Comment number 12.

    Sorry to go against the grain. I think it is vile. The old one was clear and easy to use. This one is not. I don't want lots of information just a simple one or two click process to get to what I want. It has taken me hours to even find somewhere to complain about it!

  • Comment number 13.

    where's the listen live button gone? it used to be right there...

    I'm sure I'll like it when I've got used to it...but haven't you heard all the complaints about new facebooks? Too much innovation all at once...

  • Comment number 14.

    Well in general I like but what I dont it is that you move things that I thought were important such as listen live button or message board.

    I was looking "messageboard" up down, up down until at last I discovered at the bottom of the page with small letters.
    is Message board not important for you?
    I thought dialogue and comentaries were for you !! (I aclare, message boards not blogs).

  • Comment number 15.

    The new website is appalling, difficult to use and where is the listen again facility? If this is meant to "replace the old cluttered site" then you have produced one of the most cluttered sites I've ever seen. Abysmal - please bring back the old site.

  • Comment number 16.

    Why the obsession with "most popular" programmes? Put as much as you can cram on the page and let me decide what I want to listen to.

  • Comment number 17.

    In general the info architecture is pretty good. However there's far too much blow the scroll line. I think that you can afford to be much more dense with the information as this is a predominantly repeat use site. Smaller fonts and loose the big Welcome panel...

  • Comment number 18.

    I am (trying to!) listen in S Africa - the new page is very slow to load and doesn't appear complete.

    I can't believe that it doesn't actually tell you what is currently playing by the Listen Live button??? Nor what is coming next as on the old site. I sincerely hope that this is a problem of incomplete download - rather than intentional??

  • Comment number 19.

    I can't see a working link to the main radio page - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/

    Is there one?

  • Comment number 20.

    On the old site you could see from the initial list of podcasts whether there was any current content under that programme heading ("none" was shown). On ther new site you have to click on the listed programme before you are made aware of whether there is a podcast available. Surely a backward step. In any case why is a programme listed in the podcasts at all when there is no current content?

  • Comment number 21.

    Were my previous comments not used becasue they failed to praise the new website ?

    Or becasue one of them contained the word "tit"

    Oh alright - it is really good and worth paying the licence fee for and Torin Douglas is great and so is the BBC all the time

    And so are all the people who do things with computers at the BBC and they are worth all the money they get and everything.

  • Comment number 22.

    Ouch! It does not render well on my PC due to my font and screen resolution settings. While I see obvious benefits to the new site's organization, the look is inferior. I would be happy to send screen shots if the website programmers are interested.

  • Comment number 23.


  • Comment number 24.

    Have to go with the anti's

    Far too much wasted space at the top reducing the interactive space and forcing use of scroll buttons. Good [bad] example..list of the 'latest' with the option to expand the list to all available at the BOTTOM of the list. Needs to be at the TOP.
    Who needs 'the latest' anyway? We know what we want to listen to.

    Cram as many links to real content into as little space as possible [check out the phone book for some good ideas] and let our fingers do the walking.

    Good web pages require the lwast clcicks and least mouse movements to arrive at desired content. You are moving in the wrong direction.

    Try using the site on a small-screen lowish resolution laptop next to the bed, bleary-eyed and one handed, propped on an elbow with the varifocals slipping. Your designers might appreciate where I - and many other- listeners are coming from.

  • Comment number 25.

    the redesigned site is great. i would disagree with Richard_PA_USA: the new look is not inferior but is less cluttered and much more legible – and the site as a whole is easier to explore. if i have one visual quibble it's with the 'spirograph' backdrops at the top of the pages. what are they about? do they mean anything?

  • Comment number 26.

    Thanks to everyone for your thoughts so far, I've left a long comment about the feedback so far here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radio4/2009/03/the_team_that_brought_you_the.html

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • Comment number 27.

    [Also blogged here: http://tinyurl.com/dylzds%5D

    So, I mentioned on Twitter (@fjordaan) that I was disappointed in the redesign. Don't get me wrong, it looks attractive and contemporary, and I'm by no means nostalgic for the old site (it was terrible). But the redesign didn't do the things that I hoped it would, and also does several things that I don't agree with.

    My usage of the Radio 4 website (almost daily) is like this: when I'm stuck in one place, like washing dishes or ironing, I go to the website and try to find, as quickly as possible, something interesting to listen to. I'm not really loyal to any programmes in particular. I am aware that there are wonderful treasures buried in the site, but it's usually a waste of time to click around. So I usually scan the homepage, especially Choice of the Day. Often I can't find something that seems interesting, and I listen to the latest news broadcast. (I also have a similar use case when looking for podcasts to load onto my mp3 player.)

    I was hoping for 2 things:
    1) Many more recommendations on the homepage.
    2) Generally better discovery features.

    From what I've read, and @djones655321 assures me, the tag system will help a lot with point 2, e.g. to power "More like this" and to surface older material. That sounds promising.

    But my main problem is with point 1: the homepage. Despite the huge increase in screen real estate, it offers no more recommendations than before. I was hoping for a "Choice of the Day" of at least twice as many items, drawn from all programmes available on iPlayer, not just that day's. Moreover, I was hoping for cleverer ways of recommendation. Editorial recommendations and "most popular" should be augmented by social recommendations -- what people are listening to now, what people are bookmarking, what people are commenting on, what else those people listen to. Something like Radio Pop perhaps, but it can use anonymous data.

    I want to be overwhelmed and surprised by listening choices, from recently-broadcast to ancient, without first having to decide what subject or genre I'm interested in.

    The enormous old Listen Again page is close to what I'd like, but it completely failed because it lacked teaser descriptions, offered only A-Z grouping, and gave no sense of which things are most interesting or popular.

    I'm a little skeptical about your system to find similar programmes to the current one. "More like this" requires you to click on genres and formats (and on some, subjects), but this is not nearly as likely to yield discoveries as a listing of programme names.

    The most noticeable addition on the new design is thumbnail pictures for everything. I'm a designer myself and know their value in helping the eye scan the page (and make it prettier), but I would gladly have forgone them in favour of more text-based content. (More links, more teaser descriptions.) They add absolutely nothing, content-wise. In an elementary interaction design error, they're often not even clickable. (I hope this is a teething problem that'll soon be fixed.) The central carousel is not an appropriate navigation widget for this content; it makes it less scannable and is wasteful of space.

    Other minor errors are:
    - Radio 4 logo not linked to homepage
    - Link areas extend into whitespace on some pages (e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/genres/factual ) -- due to block-level links
    - Layout problems here http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/genres/factual/player

    Don't take my response as wholly negative. I decided to focus in this post on the things that disappointed me. The site is an improvement in many respects. Especially at the programme level things are better. (Integration with the broader Programmes system was necessary and helpful.)

    I do not know how typical I am of Radio 4 website users, but I hope you take these comments to heart in the site's continuing evolution.

  • Comment number 28.

    Oh where is the "what's on now" feature and the "what's coming up" feature. Other than that your new website is well, pretty much indistinguishable from all the others.
    Please don't let the content of your programs go the same way, here in the USA we depend on you for news, real news, not speculation, and of course for entertainment.

  • Comment number 29.

    The old website was annoying but at least functional. After reading just a few of the responses I would say the majority of the traffic coming to this website is looking for some of the fantastic content created by radio4. I either know what I want to listen to, or I am looking for suggestions for things to listen to. If I want to listen to a play I don't want to have to jump through a bunch of hoops via genres etc.. just show me what is available to listen to. There are after all only the 5 plays, plus the Friday and Saturday play. A minimization of mouse clicks would be nice. Kind of humourous, using the afternoon play example that I end up at the old page for the site.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/afternoon_play.shtml
    to finally peruse the available plays.
    A daily list of what has been listened to most would be nice.
    If a program hits a magical number would be nice to keep it around a little longer than a week as other radio stations do.

    Why is it the podcast for a program is available before the streaming version is up and running? The archers annoying is a case in point.

    You have the best content in the world.. if only people can find it.

  • Comment number 30.

    Of course, it is not better. It's as if the public is only here to pay you to congratulate yourselves as you play with your IT toys, and then we have to tell you how clever you are. I particularly object to censorship of criticism. However, if you can get it right, I do approve of the "text only" option. Simple words and none of the leering faces, preferably in black and white. Thank you for this. But I had to go to the "graphic" display to comment here. So if you could fix that please.

  • Comment number 31.

    I like the new web page BUT (and there's always a but!) Can you please bring back the list of Listen Again programs. As you have it now is great if you know what you want to listen to, but so many times I just want to scroll down the complete list and play whatever catches my eye at the moment. This way I've found many progs that I'd never have seen any other way - 5 Numbers and the excellent Material World - are just 2 that I've found by accident

  • Comment number 32.

    Sorry - but there's far too much scrolling, and you only seem to use half of the page/screen. Oh, and where's the 'Jump to' gone - I used that all of the time.

    Shouldn't the schedule page be the default ? Like so many of the other comments, we know what we want - let us get to it as quickly as possible.

    I would also prefer the link on the Schedule page to go straight to the Webpage, like it used to, instead of that interim page which is a waste of space.

    Why is it that, just when we get used to something, can find our way around it without thinking and are blisfully happy with it, SOMEONE throws it all up in the air, simply to justify their existence.

  • Comment number 33.

    It's rubbish. Instead of going to say Comedy and getting straight to the list of what I can listen to again the new site just gives me a selection (based on god knows what mysterious criteria), I then have to go to the A-Z and trawl through that to get the rest. And where have you hidden the Archers omnibus? It's not under T, or A, or O (I was getting desperate). A search finally brought it up (not that it mattered, as it was "not available at this time", as most things seem to be half the time).
    I found the old site simple and intuitive, you got what you wanted without having to spend half a day getting your bearings first.
    Just another change for change's sake, it seems to me.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm sorry to comment twice, but this is Day 2 and I still can't find Listen Again. Where is it? I don't want podcasts, I want Listen Again. So does my 76 year old mother, who had just got to grips with the old site and is now utterly baffled and, once again, excluded from a vast amount of BBC output (not to mention the benefit of her licence fee).

    Do you give no consideration at all to your older users, who find it difficult enough to come to terms with modern technology without your imposing random, unheralded and, from their point of view, entirely unnecessary 'improvements' to a service which makes is ever more difficult to use?

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't like the new Radio 4 website.

    I would like to be able to find the daily schedule - it seems to have disappeared.

    It's a silly idea to make people mouse-type the title of the programme they want. Many of us (not me sadly) are touch typists and they will be properly peed off. Even I would prefer to type than to mouse around the onscreen keypad.

    The way I listen to R4 is to have a look at what's coming up this evening - to see if I want to listen. I need not jusr 'coming up' but the whole day at a glance.

    The look of the new page is not to my eye particularly attractive. It looks smart. But my R4 is not smart, it's comfortable.

  • Comment number 36.

    I have now glanced over the other comments.
    Listen Again before?

    very disappointed - Tres Decu
    It occurs to me that what you may not have done was:

    CONSULT YOUR CUSTOMERS BEFORE YOU MADE CHANGES ????

    If you didn't, that seems pretty arrogant. If you did, how did you do it? and did NO-ONE ask for .

  • Comment number 37.

    @33: You don't have to go via the A-Z to find a comedy programme. On the Radio 4 home page to the right of the features panel is 'Find a Programme' with links to the different genres. Clicking on the comedy link will take you straight to http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/genres/entertainmentandcomedy and on this page are links to listen again to programmes.

  • Comment number 38.

    @36, there were two blogs on this, explaining the reasoning behind the changes, and for weeks there has been a large pink button saying "LOOK AT OUR NEW SITE" soliciting comments.

    Also, what do you mean the daily schedule has disappeared? There is a link right at the top to the schedule pages showing whats on today and giving a calendar to consult for days in the future in the past, or do you mean a different page?

  • Comment number 39.

    I mostly use the radio 4 website to catch up with The Archers when I get in late, there used to be a direct link, now it seems I have to fiddle through alphabeticised programme lists to get there, please bring back a direct link or else I suspect I'll stop bothering.

  • Comment number 40.

    @warriorlizzied, there is a direct link in the "popular programmes" panel on the bottom left. As the archers is popular, it's rather likely it'll often be there.

    If this is no good, instead of using the A-Z, why not click the large Drama link in the top right where The Archers is the top of said list

  • Comment number 41.

    It wasn't in need of an update - change for change's sake.

    Still whilst the rest of us are suffering I suppose it keeps you in work.

    As for me - well from visiting almost daily - sometimes for just a minute at a time - I'll probably stop using.

    Any website that has a 'tour' to show you how to navigate it surely has missed the point.

    BBC bigwigs understand this - evolution yes, revolution no - this is (after all) radio 4.

  • Comment number 42.

    Looks good, but can't find anything. Too much scrolling, not clear which shows have current podcasts, apparently no listen live button.
    Can't find quizzes.
    Much better when everything was on one page and I could choose what I wanted to listen to, rather than track things down.
    It's so difficult, I have actually registered to use the blog to complain!

  • Comment number 43.

    I am quite sad that the new site appears to be just another example of the dumbing down that is taking place in the BBC in general, but Radio 4 in particular. The old site was VERY easy to use, contained news headlines that were easy to access. It was informative. The new site contains no news headlines on its opening pages, but lots of links to 'celebrity' opinion blogs, where Radio 4 'celebrities' and their fans can air their opinions. Information this is not. If I want an opinion I can go to the bar. The irony of using your 'blog' to give you this information is not lost

  • Comment number 44.

    Some other things are missing. Where is the 'Listen Again' button? Do you still have a 'Listen Again' schedule?
    I agree with a lot of the comments already in that something that doesn't need changing should not be changed. The site looks rather 'Hello'-ish, and the mouse-typing is simply silly.

  • Comment number 45.

    What a dog's breakfast you've made of the drama section of the R4 website. The old website was easy to follow with the current week's plays listed with transmission dates and last weeks plays still available to listen again. The new website is much less informative and not easy to use. Why couldn't you leave well alone???

  • Comment number 46.

    This must be seriously bad - I have never been tempted to actually follow through with signing up to any blog/comment site on any issue until now, so upset am I!
    Oh dear, where do we start?
    Where is everything? I am not anti-progress, but I have been trying to find out what programme is actually playing now (without listening live through my computer) - used to be very clear on old site - but no chance!
    I see by previous comments that I'm not alone, much of what I was going to say is already there.
    Do you really have so little idea what kind of people listen to Radio 4? I am amazed at your ignorance!
    I wonder how much it all cost to set up? Let me tell something - you wasted your money!

  • Comment number 47.

    Yes a listen live button would be brilliant.

    Also, you used to have 'now and next', now all you have is 'now playing'. I'd really like to know what is on next too!

    The big picture on the home page is too big for so little information.

  • Comment number 48.

    No wait! I've found the listen live button, hurrah! Jolly good.

    Getting used to the site now too.

    Looks quite pretty :)

  • Comment number 49.

    @37: If you're lucky your comedy's right there - if not, it's the A-Z, or you can always try the four subcategories. Now, you can't decide whether it's satire, sitcom, etc - worst case scenario, 5 clicks. With lots of scrolling around because the programs are not in an alphabetical order.
    The old site - one click on comedy and hey presto, everything that's on right now is there in a simple alphabetic list.
    Just as well I'd subscribed to many podcasts before so can keep getting those without hassle, but the beneficial laughter I was getting from my weekly dose of comedy will now be to some extent offset by the annoyance generated looking for it.

    I expect I'll get used to it - where I come from we say that one can get used to anything, even to the gallows.
    Now, can someone tell me where the Archers omnibus is buried, please?

  • Comment number 50.

    Like another blogger I don't usually sign on to comment but felt strongly about this one....I may be slow to pick up changes but I can only see the programme that's on at this particular moment, for today's programmes. If I want to find out the rest of today's programmes I need to click 'schedule' which produces a long, same-colour list. In fact I agree with nearly all the criticisms voiced so far, sadly - you have to scroll down or use buttons or redirect yourself to "genre' sections.....the former home page was actually more user friendly in that you could see at a glance what was on that day and then timetable your day around what you wanted to listen to!
    Good that you can easily see Listen again programmes.
    I 'd also like to add that I have many friends and relations who have been brought up since babyhood on Radio 4, and are addicts too, and don't want change.........it was designed to be the more intellectual station, so why try and change things when it seems it's for change's sake, or dumb it down - the BBC has created many 'genre' radio stations for other tastes.....
    Please keep (and even develop?) our "intelli" radio ! What is there to be ashamed of ! We should be deeply grateful we CAN have Radio 4 - try other worldwide radio stations !

  • Comment number 51.

    I've noticed a lot of people seem to have trouble finding the listen live button. I dismissed these people at first for not looking properly but it's since occured to me that the layout perhaps breaks the "new visual language" and thus is why it might be confusing,

    On every other site in the Barlesque design it has a BBC masthead, then the site banner.

    Radio 4 has the listen live bar in between these.

    Perhaps it would be better - and more obvious - if it was underneath the logo like on the other radio sites. This might be why people seem to be missing the thing.

  • Comment number 52.

    Nope - don't like it - nothing to do with change for change's sake.

    Far too much scrolling, a dumbed down visual version with L A R G E "Can you read it??" type.

    - Same with the schedule.

    I don't require flashy visuals

    - I AM HERE FOR THE RADIO

    - Please, please, just tell me what's on, what I may have missed and is choice, and common links. This is too, too much IN MY FACE and I do NOT appreciate it!! - and Yes, I AM shouting in type.

    It ain't broke - so don't fix it!

  • Comment number 53.

    This new Website is really awful.

  • Comment number 54.

    Initial reaction, don't like it , too much visual stuff, and I couldn't find the Archers messageboard right away as of old, so big demerit there!

  • Comment number 55.

    i had a play around with it for a couple of days now...and i still dont like it.

    i agree with previous comments about large fonts and wasted space at the top of the page, and too much scrolling neccessary.

    the old site worked. this one is too different.

  • Comment number 56.

    Oh, how I agree with most of the criticisms voiced so far. We want quickly accessible info. on what is available and when. Not pictures!!!! or hoops to jump through. Give us a list of programmes with quick links to info about them.
    Lets have less chat and pictures about what the creators of the new website have done, and give us a site that was as user-friendly as the old one.
    arlatan

  • Comment number 57.

    For all those poor souls who hate the new site - ignore the picture that dominates the first page - look at the tool bar above it.

    Click on "schedule" and you get the day's programmes.

    Click on "programmes" and you get a list which is revealed alphabetically. Click on "A" and you get all the programmes beginning with "A" etc. The list is long but efficient considering the length of the total list of programmes.

    Otherwise, if you can decide the genre of your programme you might get to what you want, faster.

    I think if the pictures and razzmataz had been less evident we would have all found the new web site easier to use and less upsetting.
    arlatan.

  • Comment number 58.

    The new layout is fine by me, the only thing I miss is the *Today's Weather* pic and info (configured for London) which was the first thing I always looked at after logging on in the morning. Rather a weird habit I'm afraid, seeing that I'm more than 9,000 km away in São Paulo.

  • Comment number 59.

    Liked old website. Don't like new website. Have to scroll new website too much to see the content. You say old website was cluttered - well I didn't have a problem with it, but if one of the aims of the new one was to be un-cluttered - well you failed that one completely.

    And yes I really did want to press the back button during the blog registration process - it's a standard way of going back to the previous page. Most websites can cope with it - why can't yours?

    Unhappy of Norwich...

  • Comment number 60.

    ...and I neglected to say, I signed up with the blog especially to say I don't like the new website.

    Can we have the old one back please?
    If not, I don't think I'll bother coming back much...

  • Comment number 61.

    I don't like the new web page layout for Radio 4.
    I feel it looks sterile, uninviting, and boring. I also find it difficult, and not user friendly in finding programs I'd like to listen to again.
    Maybe it just takes getting use to, but I don't think first time users will find it inviting. I don't know why the last one had to be changed. It was much easier to use. I use this website everyday.

  • Comment number 62.

    I agree with 'HateNewWebsite'. I also signed up for the first time to complain about the new website.

  • Comment number 63.

    My opinion on the new website?Rubbish.
    I want the facility where I could look up the news headlines quickly.
    The old website gave me details of the subject matter discussed on factual programmes such as Home Planet

  • Comment number 64.

    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 65.

    I wasn't aware of the change to the site until today- that shows how effective your coverage is, does it not! Having said that, my first thought on seeing the new layout was "Wow! I like that!" Visually, it's much better- less cluttered, pleasing on the eye and, at first glance, much easier to navigate.

    My initial enthusiasm turned to disappointment, however, when I saw what you'd removed, particularly on the "Prayer for the Day" website. We used to have the choice of either listening again to a particular prayer on the familiar "Last 7 Days" format of i-player, or reading transcripts of prayers going back over a long period in the archive. Now, the archive facility has been withdrawn, it would seem. Why?

    I have often found the Prayer for the Day helpful in my own devotions, and it's been very useful to be able to save certain scripts to look back on how, I believe, my faith was strengthened by them or I got guidance for a particular situation. This facility was a long time a-coming, but when it did, it was very useful.

    Now, you seem to have regressed rather than progressed, and I've lost a very useful resource. If it's at all possible, please bring it back!

    Otherwise, I can't find a lot to complain about- so far.

  • Comment number 66.

  • Comment number 67.

    personally I thinks it`s a step backwards and am therefore not an advocate. Unlike the new site I had no problems navigating the old site or downloading prograns. I`m encountering many down load problems on the new site, whilst trying to use the listen again function, I regularly use this feature - I`m also having similar problems with the new R7 website.
    Hugs `n sloppy ones
    Mrs Trellis, N Wales

  • Comment number 68.

    Everyone's at it, the National Lottery's at it, now the BBC. The 're-design' that's what. Before you start congratulating yourselves
    on a fab new 'fresh' look, think about what you've taken away. I hate it. Not because of its 'look', because you've made it more difficult to use. Don't designers ever think of the user? Where's the 'listen again' button? WHY did you remove it? It has made my navigation needlessly difficult -and the same has happened on BBC 7. BRING BACK THE LISTEN AGAIN BUTTON NOW!!!!!!

  • Comment number 69.

    I have been an avid listener of all BBC Radio 4 programs from New Zealand for the last six years, with particular interest in Science.

    I have to say the new web site is appalling, with a significant loss of functionality and accessibility.

    What have you done ?!!

    If reducing clutter means getting rid of nearly all the useful information and links then you have definately achieved that. You really don't understand how people have been using your site and the value of all that so called "clutter".

    Have some big money web design consultants taken over ? You've been duped.

    For example, where is all the useful information describing program content, and where are the simple to navigate archives ? I don't want a telephone directory of program names which I have to navigate into and then out of just to find out what is available.

    The original Radio 4 Science home page provided an easy to digest starting point with enough information to start selecting from, all I now get are fancy icons and a couple of words for each program.

    In summary, very poor quality, definately a step back from a previously superb service and site. Hope someone comes to their senses and brings back a balance between slick "uncluttered design" and having a usable and fully functional service and site.

  • Comment number 70.

    Oh dear!
    Radio 4 has gone tabloid.

    You see, it's just like the newspapers.
    The tabloid papers plaster their front pages with big pictures and big text but print very little information on the front page.

    The 'broad-sheet' papers have much smaller pictures and text and put a lot of information on the front page.

    The radio 4 website have gone tabloid.
    Lots of big text and pictures all over the place.

    Why do we need to have a picture for each of the "Popular Progammes" and "Popular Podcasts". Is this for people that cannot read?

    Before, there was a lot of information available without having to click or scroll.
    For example, the "Popular Programmes" section used to take up around 2 square inches. Now it takes up around 10 square inches. It's just not a good use of space.

    I guess we're stuck with the new website now. Even though the majority prefer the old site I guess it would be too much for the BBC (and Mr Damazer in particular) to admit a mistake has been made.
    If you won't listen to your listerners then please at least improve the website so it's more usable.

    And finally, please do not insult our intelligence by telling us you had to change it because the old site wasn't working very well. You know that content and layout are mutually exclusive.

  • Comment number 71.

    Having been using the BBC7 site, I like the congruity between the two. Looks slicker and generally more user-friendly than the previous one.

    My greatest quibble with the previous site was that I wanted a clickable link to find out more information on what was currently on air. Now that information is accessible, though I have to admit, it took me a moment to work it out from the little 'more' button at the top. I think the Radio 7 version, where there is a hyperlink from the title of the show, is better.

  • Comment number 72.

    I am as unimpressed as the rest of you with the pathetic shadow of the Radio 4 website and commend you all on your remarkably restrained comments: well done, R4 listeners!

    But perhaps I can make a useful contribution; if the same point has appeared elsewhere on these multi-threaded Blogboards, then I apologise for wasting your time.

    Here's a tip for all those mourning the loss of the Listen Again Button: there is a (very well-hidden) link to the Message Boards which is located at the bottom right-hand corner of the Home page - teeeny font, white on black. I'm guessing it's deliberately low key to encourage us to use the blog instead (?).

    Click on the link and you will be transported almost magically to the old Message Boards page, albeit very washed-out presumably to conform to the new lack of colour scheme of the re-vamped mess under discussion, BUT see the top left corner? Can it be? Yes! It's the old set of links including Listen Again and A-Z directory of programmes. And, you know what? They still work. Yay!

    Hurry everyone: use it while it's still available.

    Bandy

  • Comment number 73.

    When I first started using the Radio 4 website, I needed no instruction.

    Now the website has changed, it is no longer intuitive.

    Navigating the new website is a pain in the proverbial.

    I need not go into specifics as everything I dislike about this new website has appeared in the complaints I have read on this blog but I implore you to act quickly on recitifying this unpopular new layout.

  • Comment number 74.

    Still having a lot of problems with the site. So many links just tell me they are "unavailable at this time" but this goes on for days....

    I live abroad and relied on the Listen Again service being clear, straightforward and easy to follow. Now I'm lost.

    In the end I usually just give up, after about 10 minutes of trying to find anything I want to listen to that actually works.

    This is all hugely disappointing.

  • Comment number 75.

    I liked the old web page, it was easy to use and the low graphics meant it worked on just about any computer anywhere in the world.
    The new web page is too busy, high graphics content means it won't load when I am abroad using low band rate connections.
    I can't find the function I liked the most "Listen Again".
    I feel the old web site was easy to use for those with few computer skills, you have to know the jargon to use the new one.

  • Comment number 76.

    Is there any way the main picture could be made smaller? So that more of the rest of the page can be seen without needing to scrolldown?

  • Comment number 77.

    I am generally disappointed. The ease at which you can now navigate through the site is no compensation for the lack of information when you get there. I went to the site to find the correct spelling of an author's whose book was discussed on A Good Read only to find the following description: "Kate Mosse and guests discuss their favourite books....". Both the "Archive" and "more" buttons provide the similar non-descript information. Please can we have information specific to the programme? I would have thought it obvious that those that visit "A good Read" site are generally interested in books, not just the celebrities!

  • Comment number 78.

    I think I';ve finally worked out what the new radio4 site is about. When the iplayer was introduced I found it unwieldy, clumsy to use with at least 25% of the links broken or non-functional. The old radio4 site made the iplayer look and feel dreadful. Clearly this could not be allowed to continue. Solution? Redesign the Radio4 site so that the iplayer now looks streamlined and easy to use. Ensure that many more links on the radio 4 site are dead or take the browser into a stange hinterland of error messages - and, lo and behold the iplayer is now first choice to try and find a program, not the last choice! Wow. You've done it. In the radio4 site you've created something so functionally useless that even the iplayer with it's useless pretty pictures and slow load times seems good.
    OK - I give in - I get the joke. Now listen to your customers. Dump the Radio4 site and the idiots who built it and give us back the, granted rather ugly but beatutifully functional old radio 4 site. If you can't actually fire the incompetent cretins who put the new site together than put them onto to something that they can hopefully accomplish - like making asure that all the links are live and functional. I heard Daunt and Dervish pts 1-4 (Woman's hour drama) but the episode 5 link never worked no matter where i accessed it from. Similarly, the new woman's hour drama - Restless- episode 1 link doesn't work - so I guess I'll never know how it all starts (until Radio7 repeats it in a year or two.)
    Have you got the message yet? Read the new issue of E-week and it's article about how to set up a web site. Every crucial rule they cite has been broken in developing the radio4 site. (too many ckicks, too many layers, lack of useful grouping, irrelvant or pointless graphics. Back to school please. I expected better - I am deeply disappointed.
    Angus

  • Comment number 79.

    @hepbura You make a couple of interesting points.

    First, iPlayer really is fundamental to the new site. It's a pretty important piece of kit for the BBC as a whole, in fact. It's hooked in, at one end, to the old broadcast systems that deliver programmes to transmission masts and satellites and, at the other, to web sites (like Radio 4's) and to devices (like mobile phones and set-top boxes). So the BBC's got a lot invested in iPlayer and it will inevitably be of vital importance to the R4 site into the future. There's really no way around that.

    You've highlighted a couple of obvious recent failures: Daunt and Dervish and Restless and your frustration just highlights the importance of iPlayer as a tool (I'm going to ask if there's any possibility of making these two serials available for a bit longer because of the lost episodes - but don't hold your breath).

    Second, clicks. This is really fascinating. I can't really offer a comparison with the old site but I've been totting up links: on the home page right now I count about 20 programmes accessible by one click, at least 150 accessible by two and the balance accessible by either three or four clicks.

    The new programme catalogue means that all those clicks are pretty predictable - one click to the alphabetical listing, one more to an individual letter, one more to disclose further programmes and a last one to get to a programme page.

    By the way, if you can dig out that e-week link it might be useful to share it with other readers.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

  • Comment number 80.

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

  • Comment number 81.

    I recently listened to a repeated play, a black comedy about a retired home for murderers, the authoress's surname began with a B. Can someone please tell me the name of pay and playwqright,
    Many thanks.
    MZ

 

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