The Choice is Yours  permalink

Designing the new R4 web site

This discussion has been closed.

Messages: 1 - 20 of 91
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by kleines c (U11163346) on Monday, 9th March 2009

    As Interactive Editor for BBC Radio 4, Leigh Aspin is responsible for the content of digital services. He is joining the Radio 4 blog this week to tell listeners about a relaunch of the Radio 4 website scheduled for the end of March 2009:

    www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/...

    If you have any comments for Leigh, I would suggest that you post them directly in his blog in the link above. As users of the Radio 4 website, including these message boards, it may be useful for all of us to discuss what we think of the website, how it changes at the end of this month, and how we would like to interact online with Radio 4 in the future. Any thoughts?

    :)

    Report message1

  • Message 2

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by kleines c (U11163346) on Monday, 9th March 2009

    Perhaps I ought to write something about website design. The temptation is to put as much as possible on the homepage, so it is interesting to compare the BBC homepage, for example, with the BBC Radio homepage, with the BBC Radio 4 homepage:

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

    www.bbc.co.uk/radio/...

    www.bbc.co.uk/radio4...

    My own preference is for something really simple on the homepage. Google, for example, has virtually nothing on its homepage:

    http://www.google.com/

    It is a search engine, so that helps explain the simple design. I guess that Radio 4 has to fit in with the rest of the BBC, so that really constrains how the website should look.

    In terms of use, the Radio 4 website should make it really easy for me to find out what is on Radio 4, and to listen to the programmes. As for (digital) interactivity, make it simple. If 'The Choice is Yours', for example, let us choose. If the choice is not ours, explain whose choice it is.

    ;)

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by anonymous2009 (U13793126) on Tuesday, 10th March 2009

    Thanks for the link to the blog entry - I had seen 'another' name (I had been glancing from time to time to see if there was the promised blog entry about 'trailers' [MD suggested it would appear in February - no sign yet])

    For my own part, one thing I noticed recently (having seen a link to a lengthy thread on the BBC 7 MB area about a redesign of the BBC7 site) was the lack of some of the 'standard' links.

    For example on the R4 pages, there are a small number of, for want of better description, 'key' links such as A-Z, Listen Again, What's On, Message Boards, and the 'gentre' entries re Arts, Science, etc.

    One of the 'key' links, to my mind (based on websites having dozens up to hundreds of pages) is a link to a 'parent' page, not just the 'home' page. R4 pages to date have a link to 'BBC Radio' rather than just to the BBC 'home', but I see the BBC 7 pages have only that 'home' link, plus the BBC 7 'home', and whilst I am capable of typing the /radio/ or clicking once again, it's the sort of needless removal (because some designers think 'pretty' before 'functional', and are not acting like real 'users' of the site when they [DON'T] consider the design from the user perspective).

    I've also noticed there is the assumption that one has a browser window of 1000 pixels - tough if you have an older, non-widescreen, PC with 800x600 screen size. Again, this is a designed-optimised feature, not based on the USER need.

    Will have to check the website on an iPhone (OK, lots of other mobile devices, but if the website cannot be viewed easily on a screen 800 pixels wide, fat chance it will look good on a portable device)

    Report message3

  • Message 4

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by anonymous2009 (U13793126) on Tuesday, 10th March 2009

    Ooops - designer-optimised

    Incidentally, while I happen to use Google for some features, such as mail, there are plenty of other search tools around - might want to see www.metacrawler.com... (it uses a number of search engines, and there's already far too much promotion of the Google search on the media - I remind presenters that 'other search engines exist' and suggest they say to 'search for xxxx' and not say 'google for xxxx' - I must remember to send feedback to Mr Rosen...

    Report message4

  • Message 5

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by anonymous2009 (U13793126) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    Crumbs - looks like no-one else gives a dingo...

    I suppose, given the rest of the radio service sections have already been transformed, it's a "done deal" and probably the case that no comments or suggestions from users will be considered anyway (those darn web designers, writing as one, I know it's common to think the designer knows best!)

    Report message5

  • Message 6

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by kleines c (U11163346) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    In all fairness, anonymous2009, it is probably sensible to reply on Leigh Aspin's blog, as he is at least trying to engage with listeners and users. He is even following this particular discussion thread. If I may quote Leigh directly:

    "Thanks very much for your comments. To answer your questions:

    Kleines c asked about the sort of feedback I'd like to receive. I'll be grateful for comments (on the blog, messageboard or via email) with constructive feedback about the new site and how we could improve it for you.

    Russ asked about the rollout plan. Most of our programme pages will change at this relaunch although not all of our mini-sites (eg The Archers, Woman's Hour) will be fully revamped at this point. The mini-site development work is underway and we are working on the timescale to introduce new minisites one by one throughout the rest of this year.

    And Russ, Briantist and Moz have asked about screenshots or a Beta version.
    I'd like to have been able to launch a Beta version but with the volume of content being created for the site each week, this wasn't feasible. We're changing the way that we produce content (moving from static html pages to dynamically published content across most of the site) and to run two versions of the site, we'd have had to double the workload of all those who produce Radio 4 web content, for a couple of weeks at least.

    But we are going to publish some sample pages next week, once the work is complete, to give you a preview of the new site. We won't be able to respond to all of your comments before launch but we do intend to develop and improve the service in the weeks and months that follow and your feedback will help to shape those changes. The user-testing that we performed last week was a manageable way of sense-checking the work that we've done so far." 


    www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/...

    <ok>

    Report message6

  • Message 7

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by anonymous2009 (U13793126) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    In truth, I was not expecting a reply from Leigh A, here, just other MB users (though Leigh did mention the message boards, just probably not meaning this particular one.)

    I might go back and ask that the individual radio service pages have a link back to 'radio home' - that's at least keep them in work, having to amend all 10++ sets of coding.

    (No, probably a 30 minute job, except it will need several meetings of t'Committee, to decide on colour scheme, positioning, and what gets moved to fit it in, one meeting for each service - you know, 1, 1Xtra, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, etc!)

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by kleines c (U11163346) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    One problem for the web designers of BBC Radio 4 is to what extent they should consider it as part of the larger BBC website, anonymous2009, and to what extent they should consider it purely in terms of Radio 4 programmes, listeners and interactivity. As quite a lot of programmes are broadcast non-linearly (radio, television and online), 'Darwin', for example, it is sensible to take a cross-platform approach:

    www.bbc.co.uk/darwin...

    Nevertheless, if I click on the BBC Radio 4 website, I generally want to be able to find out what's on Radio 4, select what might be worth listening to again, and possibly even write something here (if only to wind up Anna)!

    <laugh>

    Report message8

  • Message 9

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by Alsdouble (U524298) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    kleines you could bore at Olympic level.

    Here is an example of the NEW R4 page:

    ...............Radio4....................

    This what's on: etc etc................


    The end.

    Job done, money saved. Where's me office?

    (And secretary.)

    Report message9

  • Message 10

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by kleines c (U11163346) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    I am in training for 2012, alsdouble - over evolved. ;)

    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by Alsdouble (U524298) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    You need no training. Don't burn out.

    Report message11

  • Message 12

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by kleines c (U11163346) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    <cool>

    Report message12

  • Message 13

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by Andrew (U12804312) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    anonymous2009 said (sorry, I don't know how to quote previous messages on these boards):

    "I've also noticed there is the assumption that one has a browser window of 1000 pixels - tough if you have an older, non-widescreen, PC with 800x600 screen size. Again, this is a designed-optimised feature, not based on the USER need."

    All the BBC's new websites are designed to be 1000 pixels wide simply because the vast majority of users have screens that are wide enough (in some cases much wider). According to one set of statistics, over 93% of users have screens that are at least 1000 pixels wide ( marketshare.hitslink... ). Unfortunately, there are still some users with screens smaller than this (800 x 600 is listed at 4.21% in the statistics I linked to above) who will have to scroll, but for the huge number of users who do have a big enough screen, the wider layout works much better.

    Also, note that you don't need a widescreen monitor; setting your resolution to 1024 x 768 will work fine on a 4:3 monitor.

    And just on the point about the iPhone, remember that it shows you the whole page and then you can zoom in, so the width that a web page is designed to doesn't matter too much.

    And lastly, on your point about the link to /radio/, remember that there is a link to the main Radio page in the masthead when you click the Explore the BBC button on redesigned pages (such as the Radio 7 homepage).

    Report message13

  • Message 14

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by U2294240 (U2294240) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    In the forlorn hope that anyone will take the slightest notice heres my 2pennyworth.

    The biggest irritation for me is inconsistency.
    I realise that its an R4 webpage thats getting a makeover but as its part of one of the largest websites there is and that that site represents a 'communications' entity with recourse to every skill, artistic and technical imaginable, its a pity the resultant website is a bit of a dogs breakfast in terms of design and function.
    For instance can we PLEASE have a consistent and sensible way of displaying the schedule? R3 does it differently to R4 etc etc.
    If I access the BBC radio website while listening to the radio I (and I should think nearly everyone else) am overwhelmingly doing so because of what I am hearing. So, can we have clear relevant supporting info on the current prog and a working, yes working link to the progs own page?The messageboards are another incosistent feature.
    Again R3 does it different to R4, the hilighting of new contributions on a 'my discussions' page is the opposite way round on R3/R2 and the POV hiliting is hardly noticable.
    And while were on the messageboards, is it beyond the wit of man or woman to have the most recent contribution at the top with the chronology going down, instead of having to continually scroll to the bottom to see what the most recent post says?

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by kleines c (U11163346) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    I quite like the idea that Radio 3 should present its schedule in a different way from Radio 4, sonofkoko. Why conform?

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by U2294240 (U2294240) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    Sigh!! theres always some clever sod.
    Look the fact that different BBC stations can have their own look, colour schemes, typefaces logos and all is fine, even on the schedule, but when dealing with a function, like presenting its schedule, doing it in the same functon format is a service to the user. Instead of it being the ego trip of that particular designer and commissioner.
    You might like to sod about looking for stuff, but I don't, I want an infomation page to give me infomation quickly, clearly and consistently.
    There are plenty of opportunities on other pages to indulge in fancy design.

    Report message16

  • Message 17

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by kleines c (U11163346) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    Here is the BBC Radio 4 (FM) Schedule:

    www.bbc.co.uk/radio4...

    Here is the BBC Radio 3 Schedule:

    www.bbc.co.uk/radio3...

    Here is the BBC One (television) Schedule for London:

    www.bbc.co.uk/bbcone...

    Report message17

  • Message 18

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by U2294240 (U2294240) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    Very nice, instead of trying to undermine my argument just try this.
    R4 Home page, the word 'Schedule' doesn't even appear. Instead, there is 'Whats on listings' one of a group of words in a sidebar on the left.
    Click on that and you get a long page, text listing the days schedule with various other choices as graphics near the top offering different days, or a weeks listing or last weeks or what. No attempt to flag up or automatically display the current programme within the list.

    R3 Home page. 'Schedule' is one of a series of tags running across the top of the screen.
    Click on this and you get a dense page array of the weeks programmes that looks like a train timetable. No attempt to show you the current prog.
    See what I mean?
    The pages you gave links for are commendably similar, I've no idea how you get to them from the home pages.

    Report message18

  • Message 19

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by kleines c (U11163346) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    I must admit, sonofkoko, that the BBC website is quite labyrinthine. ;)

    Report message19

  • Message 20

    , in reply to this message.

    Posted by Andrew (U12804312) on Friday, 13th March 2009

    I want an infomation page to give me infomation quickly, clearly and consistently. 

    I think the schedules that kleines c linked to fulfil that criteria perfectly. They are styled a bit differently, sure, but not enough that it impedes the functionality.

    Report message20

Back to top

About this Board

This was the BBC Radio 4 messageboard.

or register to take part in a discussion.


The message board is currently closed for posting.

The Radio 4 messageboard is now closed.

This messageboard is reactively moderated.

Find out more about this board's House Rules

Search this Board

Other BBC Messageboards

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.