Frequently Asked Questions about the BBC Homepage

Frequently asked questions

What's new?

The BBC Homepage
  • New Navigation: Get easier and faster access to the most popular sites across the BBC through our new navigation bar at the top of the page. If the site you're looking for isn't listed, simply choose from the 'More' drop down menu, or type what you're looking for in the Search box.
  • Media Zone: One of the strengths of is that we have depth and breadth of online content; indeed far too much for us to try and fit onto the homepage all at once. The new Media Zone will help us showcase this range of content, and help you discover more of the BBC. Simply roll your mouse over the thumbnails to scroll through the content.
  • Design improvements: The new homepage also includes many design tweaks which you'll find makes it faster to load and easier to use. For example the iPlayer and Music module carousels now use simple left and right arrows to scroll through the carousel content. The addition of time stamps for the top news stories shows you the latest updates at a glance, and we've used a refreshed colour palette to simplify the page experience.

What's changed?

We had to make a bit of room at the top of the page to introduce the new Media Zone and improved navigation bar, so we've changed how a few things work:

  • 'Add more to this page' and 'Reset Homepage' buttons – if you've closed a module and you want to get it back; or you want to add new modules to the page you can now use the 'Customise this page' panel at the bottom of the homepage. This is also where you can change your page colour preferences. The 'Customise this page' panel
  • 'Set your location' - you can now set your location for news, weather, TV & Radio by selecting the option from the 'Edit' button on any of these modules.

Why did you build a new version of the BBC Homepage?

At first you might think the new version of BBC Homepage seems pretty familiar, with its modular customisable layout. But take a closer look and you'll notice we've made a number of significant improvements as described above.

Most of the work we've done for this update of the BBC Homepage has been to move the site to a new technical architecture. Back in May 2008 the BBC announced plans to build a new service-oriented architecture, to help us scale our products and services, keep up with ever evolving web technologies and to deliver new features more quickly. The BBC Homepage is one of our first sites to be moved to this new infrastructure.

Where did the clock go?

The new navigation bar will appear across the entire BBC web site - not just the homepage. In order to fit the most popular links onto the navigation bar and allow for consistency across all BBC web sites, we had to keep its overall size down. As a result we have removed the clock from the BBC Homepage header.

However, during the public beta of the new BBC Homepage we had feedback from many users that the clock was sadly missed. So we've built a new and improved Clock module. Like its predecessor the new Clock module takes its time from the clock on your PC. Additionally the new module shows you the time-zone that your clock is set to, and it can also be collapsed to a slim-line clock.

The Clock module is on the right hand side of the BBC Homepage just below the Media Zone. If you prefer, you can remove the Clock module from your homepage by clicking the 'x' at the top right corner of the module.

What is Topic Tracker?

Topic Tracker is a new module we are trialling, which gives you a unique way to keep up to date with the topics you're interested in. Topic Tracker allows quick and easy access to the breadth of BBC content tailored to your personal interests - from your favourite shows to hot topics and stories. Simply click on an image from the hot topic panel, or search for your own favourite topics. Then select the best match from the list provided and you're set to get frequent updates on your interests.

The Topic Tracker module

For example type 'Barack Obama' in the Topic Tracker, choose the best link from the options provided and 'Barack Obama' will go into 'Your Topics' list. Then next time you visit the homepage you'll see the latest BBC content about 'Barack Obama' in the Topic Tracker. If there have been no new stories about Barack Obama in the past 24 hours then the topic will appear at the bottom of the module in the 'Also Tracking' section.

You can add as many topics as you like, and you can expand or collapse the number of stories you see using the arrows next to the topic name. Topic Tracker already offers more than 11,000 topics from across the BBC, and we'll continue to add more topics over time. One of the benefits of Topic Tracker is that we'll be able to see the most popular topics across our audience, allowing us to create a real-time zeitgeist of the hottest topics, as determined by our users.

To add the Topic Tracker module to your BBC Homepage go to 'Customise this page' panel at the bottom of the homepage, tick the checkbox for the Topic Tracker, and hit Save. The module will appear in the top left hand corner of your BBC Homepage, and you can move the module to a different location on the page by simply 'grabbing' the top of the module and dragging into to your preferred location.

What happened to the Blogs and Teens modules?

Before we started work on this version of the BBC Homepage, we reviewed the content of each module to decide which should be rebuilt on the new homepage. We decided not to rebuild the Teens module on this version of the BBC Homepage as very few people were using the module. Instead we are rethinking how we can better deliver targeted content for the Teens audience on future versions of the homepage.

The other module that is no longer available on the BBC Homepage is Blogs. The former Blogs module on had a few problems – not all the BBC blogs were available, and some of the blogs coming through the 'featured blog' section of the module were out of date or not updated regularly. Instead of rebuilding the Blogs module as it was, we are making BBC Blogs available through Topic Tracker. This gives you greater flexibility to follow the blogs that you are interested in, rather than relying on us to program the blogs into a separate module.

To add blogs to your BBC Homepage, follow the instructions above to add Topic Tracker to your homepage. Then add your favourite BBC blogs by searching for the author (e.g. Chris Evans, Stephanie Flanders, Nick Robinson etc) and add them to your Topic Tracker.

How do I customise my BBC Homepage?

There are several ways for you to customise the homepage, including selecting topics of interest or rearranging the layout by dragging and dropping modules.

If you don't like certain modules you can get rid of them by clicking on the X at the top right hand corner, or you can collapse one by clicking on the grey arrow next to the module title so it'll be available in the future. It's easy to add more options to individual modules by clicking the Edit buttons and saving your preferred layout. By using the +/- buttons you can choose to add more or less content to suit your needs.

You can also add or remove modules by going to the 'Customise this page' panel at the bottom of the homepage and then click on your preferred modules to add or remove boxes. When you've chosen your modules, click the Save button. Alternatively, you can use the 'Reset homepage' button in the 'Customise this page' panel at the bottom top right of the page to remove all your previous settings.

After customising the page, save any changes and if cookies are enabled the page will remember all your settings. For more about cookies, see the BBC's privacy & cookies policy.

Why has the new homepage cleared all my settings?

You may not have realised it, but we've actually rebuilt the homepage on a brand new technical infrastructure, which will allow us to bring you new features, more easily and quickly. However by changing the underlying technologies of the homepage, we weren't able to move across any personalised settings to the new page. On this new homepage you'll start again with the full default homepage experience. But we hope you'll be eager to customise the new page and make it your own. Any changes you make to the new homepage will be saved (via cookies) and will be visible the next time you use the page, just like before.

I've made changes to the new homepage, but when I return it is not the same as I left it. Why?

The homepage uses cookies to store each user's settings. If settings are not stored, it may be because cookies are not enabled on your computer, or that they are automatically deleted at certain intervals for security reasons.

Your cookie settings are:

If the list above changes from showing ticks to crosses after you restart your browser, then follow these instructions to make sure cookies are enabled.

See WebWise for more information about cookies and how to enable them. The BBC's privacy & cookies policy includes details of all cookies used on BBC Online.

More questions?

Take a look at the full BBC Homepage Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) site. Here you'll find answers to questions on a broad range of topics for all BBC online products and services.

If you can't find what you're looking for, you'll be given the option to contact us with your query. Unfortunately, we won't be able to respond individually to all emails received, however we will read these and will use them to help inform and improve the content of the site.

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