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New mobile homepage launched

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Ulyssa MacMillan Ulyssa MacMillan | 15:40 UK time, Thursday, 2 April 2009

Today we relaunched the BBC Mobile homepage. Devices that store cookies will get a homepage with the customisation options that we have been beta trialling for the last month, and devices that don't store cookies will get a redesigned non-customisable version. Users who want the desktop rather than the mobile version can go into the preferences section of the site and choose to always get the desktop version. We'll be making another update soon so that cookies will store your chosen preference.

The full list of content and functionality is on the previous blog post about the beta version of the page. Additionally, devices connecting over Wifi will be offered podcasts and the latest BBC iPlayer content.

We've used your feedback about the beta to make improvements to the homepage, including tightening up the design and customisation features, losing some confirmation screens and streamlining the user journey.

Who can use it

The customised homepage will work on iPhone, iPod Touch and Google Android; handsets running the Opera browser; all Nokia N Series and high-end Nokias; Sony Ericsson and Samsung running the Net Front 3.3+ browser; Blackberry 4.2+.

To get it, type bbc.co.uk/mobile into your device browser, or text MOBILE to 81010 to receive a link to the site. Text messages to the BBC cost 10-15p, depending on your network

What's next

This is only the first phase of our plans for the BBC mobile homepage. While it's a vast improvement on the current offering, we'll continue to review the content, functionality and design, and we'll continue to listen to users about what they want to be able to do with their homepage.

We'll make it possible to customise the mobile homepage from a desktop PC and, in the future, to share preferences between mobile and the fixed line (where appropriate to do so). We'll also introduce an element of implicit recommendation - telling users about more content they might be interested in that they may not be aware of. We'll widen the range of handsets and browsers supported, and build on our new dynamic device-intelligent architecture to offer the best possible experience, whether you are on a low-end, high-end or touch-screen device.

We're exploring ways to let users to add more content whilst being mindful of page weight. We'll tie this into device detection too, so that users can get the best experience possible for their handset's capabilities.

Many users want to be able to add favourite football teams or to follow the latest sports news and results direct from the homepage, We hope to add these options in the very near future.

At the moment, these changes only affect the homepage but, if someone spends time and effort telling us about their favourite subjects and UK location, it makes sense for this to shape their experience across the whole BBC mobile site. Over the next few months we'll be looking to offer a more customised experience across other areas of the site too.

We'll also be looking at other ways to help users find what they want from the vast range of content on the site - mobile search, using dynamic navigation and links, and looking at how we can use location-based technology.

Users of our international site will see their homepage change later this year - making it more customisable using the functionality we've developed for the new homepage.

We'd appreciate any feedback you have about the new homepage. We'd especially like to find out what you think of the functionality, user experience, design and the speed at which it loads on your phone. It's a little heavier than the previous homepage as it has more content in it. And if you have any other comments about the features you'd like to see on the homepage, we'd love to hear those too.

Ulyssa MacMillan is executive producer, mobile browser.


  • Comment number 1.

    Re-design is great, however why no Blogs section on mobile site?

    ...I rather disappointingly had to read this post on my desktop!

  • Comment number 2.

    Wouldn't it make sense to extend the "homepage" revamp to the OTHER home pages, or main sections to make navigation easier there too? I mean I hit the link for "more top stories" in the sports section and was met with a very old style WAP site list, where there was no real distinction between each headline.

  • Comment number 3.

    "While it's a vast improvement on the current offering" - it seems quite a bit slower here :( I'm going to change my bookmark from the BBC front page to the BBC News front page, sadly. And regarding comment 2 from HighburyGhost, I like the fact the list of stories is just a list - I'm on my mobile, it's quick to load, I can read everything quickly and pick which I want more details on.

  • Comment number 4.

    The customised homepage will work on [...] handsets running the Opera browser

    Are you sure?
    Opera Mini's traffic is routed through proxy servers (pages are compressed to make them load faster). Whenever I try to access BBC Mobile with Opera Mini on my SonyEricsson K800, I get shown the international version - complete with advertisments, and no customisation - presumably because these servers are outside of the UK.

    Perhaps something to look into? :)
  • Comment number 5.

    On my iPhone, if I create a button to launch the new homepage, for some reason it doesn't launch in Safari and opens in a cutdown mode. This is ok until you click on a link when it then opens the next page in Safari... quite disconcerting.

    Generally, although it is a lot better than the previous offering, I still don't think it makes enough use of the iPhone interface (you say the version is personalised by phone). At the moment, I tend not to use it and go straight for the BBC page I want on my phone - the full BBC News homepage.

  • Comment number 6.

    The new mobile site is great, loads quickly etc.... but I still prefer the main site for a full 'experence' and my Nokia 5800 handles this well in landscape mode. I've been been able to customise most bbc sites back to full mode but can only get the mobile version of bbc news frontpage ! Please help

  • Comment number 7.

    Went to the mobile site today on my iPhone and found that by customized settings were wiped. Assumed that it was the phone so reset them only to find the weather was for Bristol not Derby. So changed the weather location and found that settings were wiped again. But I did notice that more content has been made available under News and Sport and the font size is smaller. So tinkering by the Beeb?


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