Music Showcase now live for testing
The section brings together all of the BBC's audio and video music clips and allows you to browse them in collections compiled by presenters and staff.
You can also search by artist, most popular, recently added choices and last chance to see/hear. You can play clips whilst looking for others, find out more about the artists you are enjoying and explore similar clips.
This is an alpha release and we hope to capture your feedback and incorporate improvements as we move towards beta and final production, and as such you may notice a few bugs or issues with the service. Please check out our FAQ for known issues before notifying us of any problems.
This alpha follows extensive user research (interviews & concept testing) conducted in the autumn of 2009 to find out what audiences wanted from a BBC music site. Key asks were;
more audio/video clips of music sessions and interviews
a highly accessible, immediate and intuitive interface
more control over the playback experience through custom views, and powerful search and recommendation tools
for content to be organised into editorially curated collections to provide ideas, inspiration, context, influences and other facets of good storytelling
By aggregating all BBC off-schedule short form clip content into a single hub or 'showcase', we hope we've met some of those needs with a new offering also that brings the following benefits:
Use of the new BBC GEL (Global Experience Language) design that puts the AV centre stage and emphasises accessibility and distinctiveness
Choices around how you view content (grid, expanded and list views)
'Browse while Play' lets you watch/listen continuously while browsing
A Play Bar and Play Queue which manages your playback experience while you browse
A selection of Collections made by our own DJs and Presenters
Powerful 'Artist Quick Find' and Browse tools that enable you to look for interesting content in a number of ways
'More like this' feature provides clips from same and similar artists promoting extended listening
Lots of linking to related BBC content including news, reviews and blogs as well as relevant info from /programmes and our radio network brand page
Around 2,800 clips at launch with more to come, content is regularly refreshed
This is an early build so we see this alpha as a great opportunity for the development team to get your thoughts, either via the blog or via the feedback form and to us help shape the product you want.
Image: Screenshot of the BBC Music AV Showcase design
Technically speaking, the Music Showcase has a lot going on under the hood. It's built top to toe on the Forge (Zend, Java, PHP, JS, MVC) technology stack and I think it's the BBC's first all-AJAX site for clip serving
The aggregation and publishing model is also quite sophisticated; music production staff across the UK will use a tool called iBroadcast to tag and encode clips. The website then uses a Java service layer to query central data repositories to acquire, sort and publish clips into the correct views on the website.
Over the next few days some of the team will be posting more details on design choices, technical implementation and content production and workflows behind the product, so come back later in the week if you're interested in getting more technical info. To find out more about the great content and editorial thinking behind the Music Showcase click here.
We're trying to put the music centre stage while providing discovery, search, sharing and participation tools that bring the music to life without being overly distractive or intrusive.
We hope you like it, and whether through posts here or via FAQs we'd love your feedback.
Matt Coulson is Executive Product Manager, Radio & Music Player Services, Programmes & On-demand, BBC Future Media & Technology