BBC Radio 4
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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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  • Comment number 81. Posted by Ziessen

    on 23 Oct 2009 14:20

    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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  • Comment number 80. Posted by joeffmartin

    on 3 Jun 2009 09:23

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

  • Comment number 79. Posted by Steve Bowbrick

    on 15 Apr 2009 08:25

    @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 78. Posted by hepbura

    on 12 Apr 2009 00:08

    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

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  • Comment number 77. Posted by aka-zohra

    on 7 Apr 2009 10:47

    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!

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  • Comment number 76. Posted by IL

    on 7 Apr 2009 08:50

    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?

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  • Comment number 75. Posted by DewiMac

    on 7 Apr 2009 07:33

    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.

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  • Comment number 74. Posted by mrsjoeblogs

    on 7 Apr 2009 06:03

    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.

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  • Comment number 73. Posted by Wendygo

    on 7 Apr 2009 00:12

    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.

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  • Comment number 72. Posted by Bandy Kneesborough

    on 6 Apr 2009 16:03

    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

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