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BBC Homepage Three Months On

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James Thornett James Thornett | 10:40 UK time, Thursday, 22 March 2012

Looking at the homepage on a white laptop in a cafe, over the shoulder of a blurred patron. There is a cappucino on the mock marble tabletop.

The new BBC Homepage launched on 30th November 2011

It's now over three months since we re-launched the BBC Homepage in the UK and I'd like to share with you how the page has been performing and what the team have been working on during this time.

Since the launch last year we have made six releases of new code to the page, the latest being on last Monday.

These have included the following particular enhancements:

  • Local radio and regional/national television programmes now appear in the drop-down menus of the What's On module.
  • Accessibility improvements have been made, in particular making it easier to read if you are accessing via a screenreader.
  • A number of bug fixes and performance enhancements to ensure all of the modules on the page load correctly each time the page is accessed.
  • Visual design and styling changes to improve the overall appearance of the page.

However, the majority of our work has been laying the foundations for a number of significant improvements that are not yet visible.

These include the availability of more local and national content for users who have set their location preference and the addition of multi-variant testing to allow us to trial different feature changes with small groups of users at a time.

We have also been working on a new UK mobile edition of the homepage for users accessing bbc.co.uk on a mobile device and my colleague Eleni Sharp blogged yesterday about the launch of the beta version.

Lots of you have posted comments on the old blog post asking for some data.

Keith asked:

Are there any statistics available comparing the number of visitors and referred traffic to other parts of the site from the old & new version of the home page?

Others have predicted the outcome, including Josh who wrote:

I think the visitor stats are sure to plummet even further after this goes live. What a shame...

With three months of data now available on how people are accessing the new page I have been able to look at the impact of the re-launch.

Around nine million users accessed the old UK homepage every week. Three months on and we have seen no significant change to this number, around nine million users are still accessing the homepage each week.

One of our main objectives with the new homepage was to change the balance of user referrals to the rest of BBC Online - the old homepage sent around 70% of click-throughs to our news, sport and weather sites.

The figures show that referrals to our news site have decreased but referrals to sport have significantly increased - maybe because sport is now significantly higher on the default page - and therefore our overall referrals to news/sport/weather have remained static at 70% (70.3% to be precise!).

We've also had some interesting feedback from user research that we conducted in February.

Testing revealed that users do not always readily recognise or thus appreciate what's available on the new page but that activity and interest increases once researchers show how much exploring you can do.

Looking at the data available from user clicks on the homepage we can see that a relatively small number of clicks are taking place on the lower half of the page, and particularly on the genre filters underneath the carousel.

This is important information that helps us to identify ways in which we can better enable people to find content that appeals to them.

The team are now looking at how we can improve the visibility and usefulness of these content filters and, as I have promised in earlier blog posts, we will be looking to reintroduce customisation options to the page this year which will allow users to have more control over the content they access on the page.

Plenty of people have blogged about the homepage and commented on the change in style; this recent example from Design Week is a good example of the interesting analysis on our use of different forms of navigation.

I am also very pleased that the page has been nominated by the Design Museum for their Design of the Year Awards in the digital category. The Design Museum are currently hosting their Design of the Year exhibition which includes this short video on the new BBC Homepage.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

My team is now based at the new MediaCityUK site in Salford - we moved in December shortly after the launch of the new homepage - and we have some new faces on board who are looking forward to delivering many more improvements to the homepage during the course of the year - keep an eye on this blog for further announcements.

James Thornett is Head of Product: Homepage, Search and Navigation, BBC Online.


  • Comment number 1.

    So, no growth of views despite the heavy advertising, and plugging of this super-dooper new homepage.

    That's a fail then.

  • Comment number 2.

    "our overall referrals to news/sport/weather have remained static at 70% (70.3% to be precise!)"

    OK, so the distribution of "gross" referrals is unchanged, but surely the relevant question is _how many_ people use the new homepage and _how_ do they use it. My stats request for "old vs new" would be for the following:

    - the total volume of referrals (not just distribution between targets)
    - number of unique user referrals (ie has the total user base changed)
    - number of referrals per user (ie do users use it for multiple referrals or do just use it as a one-use doorway)
    - distribution of clicks to "homepages" (eg news homepage) vs direct to articles
    - time spent on the homepage and "time before click"
    - distribution of referrals across all pages as a whole (ie, how many _different_ pages within news, for example, does the site regularly link to)

    The last one is a key question for me - I feel that the fewer number of links that I can see actually results in a small number of "promoted" pages getting more hits, reducing the general depth of access across the site.

    From my (albeit singular) viewpoint, the new structure across the site seems to be promoting a continuous wander through "corridors" linking one article page to another without any central starting point. Personally, I find an "index" type approach much more intuitive, where I know I can go to a base homepage which links to a wide range of targets from one place, ie a homepage.

    On an unrelated point, the Design Week link talks about mobile users being able to "swipe" at content. Slightly ironic then that the beta mobile homepage is about 3 times more vertical than the old one, with all signs of the old-style "banner" carousel removed!

  • Comment number 3.

    I have to say the new front page is okay - if a little messy. However the Sport and News section layouts are extremely 'challenging' to look at and to make sense of. I frequently retreat back to my Blackberry for the much clearer, more simple mobile approach. The new look mobile site is not as ugly as the main version, but so much larger, more graphically intense (not everyone in the UK enjoys London & Manchester standard of mobile internet connections) and difficult to navigate than the current one.

    I think more to the point of this blog, you need to judge success by the attitude of the users, which is much harder to quantify. The BBC is unique in that it is the BBC - people will come to it no matter how awful the page looks because the reputation and brand is far bigger than the design of the site. The question your research needs to ask is 'Is it easier to use than it used to be?' or 'Do you dislike the old site enough to spend a lot of money on a revamp?' It does seem to be responding to a need that didn't really exist outside of the BBC tech corridors?

    To put my comments into perspective, I'm a 37 year old IT professional more or less wedded to a PC or Blackberry keyboard, I run my own IT company and consider myself a highly skilled technology user.

  • Comment number 4.

    Any chance of getting someone to update the masthead so that the Sport and Weather links have the current URLs instead of pointing to the old news sub-domain?

  • Comment number 5.

    Three months on and just as dreadful as day one of release, you lot have had your heads in the sand so long I’m surprised no one has suffocated.

    As Andy wrote At 11:10 30th Nov 2011, post 1


  • Comment number 6.

    Wow you neglected to mention that your nomination had attracted such negative comment AGAIN!

    Don’t think this will win anything in a hurry
    10 Responses to “BBC Homepage Version 4, London, UK - BBC”

    1. Comment made on February 15th, 2012 at 6:25 pm by Ross.
    Surely you are joking. This site is an annoying mess. What possible criteria can you have used to nominate it for a desgin award?

    2. Comment made on February 15th, 2012 at 10:14 pm by Ben.
    This has got to be a joke. People used to use the BBC as their home page but since it was updated most people have stopped. It is the worst home page ever.

    3. Comment made on February 16th, 2012 at 3:17 am by Matt.
    This homepage design is an assault on the eye, the navigation is unusable, the available space is wasted and under used, this should be nominated for worst design no best what a joke, who nominated it the bbc?

    4. Comment made on February 16th, 2012 at 11:14 am by Bede.
    Seriously!!!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!! The whole roll out of BBC redesign has been a disaster.
    5. Comment made on February 16th, 2012 at 6:31 pm by Jess.
    The BBC Homepage which this ‘re-design’ has replaced was an almost universally recommended and used entry point to the internet, being reliable, simple and clear to read and most importantly, customizable by the user.
    The very wretched replacement is confusing, time-wasting and ugly, providing little more than a profusion of unrelated pictures that cannot be edited down by the user and that do not lead directly to the information that one wants. It does not work properly on a number of popular platforms/browsers, either.
    The news that this has been nominated for a ‘design award’ is laughable.

    6. Comment made on February 16th, 2012 at 8:24 pm by David D.
    Now I have seen everything! This is by far the most despised webpage on the net, from the thousands of comments left its REAL users, the only page worse than this is the BBC Sports homepage. It may be pretty ‘in white”, but its a real dog’s dinner to use. The old homepage, now that was real class.

    7. Comment made on February 17th, 2012 at 2:38 pm by Brian.
    I agree with Ross but suspect this is typical of the web designers clique who praise their own work and ignore the users and those who actually pay for it.

    8. Comment made on February 17th, 2012 at 6:54 pm by Ian.
    Nominating the new BBC Homepage for a Designs of the Year%

  • Comment number 7.


    8. Comment made on February 17th, 2012 at 6:54 pm by Ian.
    Nominating the new BBC Homepage for a Designs of the Year award devalues your whole awards scheme. The redesign has been almost unanimously seen by users as a retrograde move, changing a useful and intuitive site into a design nightmare. Have a look at the BBC’s Internet Blog on https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2012/01/bbc_homepage_localisation_acce.html to see what users think.

    9. Comment made on February 25th, 2012 at 12:42 pm by Alex.
    Well the picture above says it all, because that is not how the new BBC Homepage looks. Only less than 50% is actually visible at any time through a browser and the whole page twitches left to right constantly. This is a joke right? It is like going back to MySpace, it is such a mess.

    10. Comment made on March 5th, 2012 at 3:37 pm by Kirk Figo.
    The BBC Homepage Redesign is so offensive, it ruined my marriage, as I type this on an aging, yellowed keyboard in my local library – I can only glimpse my former life, when version three was online, a successful carpet salesman, nay, magnate, I had the most successful carpet supplying warehouse in the south east, a wife, and two children, I can’t even remember their faces now, they are but faded relics, sitting in my memory. Upon the launch of the new homepage, I glimpsed an interface, so terrifying that I could no longer look Marjory in the face I became a shadow, lurking in the corners of the warehouse, wrapped in samples of knitted woven poly/wool – stone - instead of clothes. The money ran out, and I discovered that Marjory – using the homepage as her landing site , found love with none other than my arch rival – Lino Pete. Shame on you Design Museum. Shame

    How about reporting the whole story, shame on you!

  • Comment number 8.


    bbc co uk website today has fascinating Russian photos in a slide show
    - is it because I am in Spain that I cannot see the blowups?

    - After 5 hours, is there someone to help about the blow-up "pictures" which are meant to "appear" above the slide show? Surely "Start the slide show" means in the large space above the thumbprints?
    Cadiz, Spain.
    22 / III / 2012

  • Comment number 9.

    @Matt (6 and 7) And the negative commenters are probably the same people that posted to the BBC site. There are too many posters to these blogs that seem to want to deny that some people (perhaps a few million) may well be liking the new site.

  • Comment number 10.

    I had some snags accessing the BBC website from abroad but all in all I'm really loving the new layout. I think the BBC still has a way to go with respect to more effectively integrating social media and newsrooms though - especially in terms of engaging news consumers with interactivity.

    James, I would be curious to know what kind of bounce rate you would consider 'best practice' for a news site like BBC - does BBC set such a target to measure stickiness? (Is the 70% figure you mention in your post considered acceptable?)


  • Comment number 11.

    I have been listening to the BBC through satellite radio for the last 10 years and appreciate the quality of the programming and the continued advances in the use of the available technology. It is good to now how the website upgraded.

  • Comment number 12.

    maybe james you and ben gallop should heed the words of the Ray Muzyka in dealing with negative feedback.
    In a blog post, Bioware co-founder Ray Muzyka described the feedback as "incredibly painful".

    "Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics - but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility," he said.

  • Comment number 13.

    DBOne wrote: 9.At 18:58 22nd Mar 2012,

    I have to admire the commitment by one poster to insist to the many thousands that the BBC have done a good job but all your efforts are falling on deaf ears just like the comments of the many thousands of posters of negative comments are falling on deaf ears of the BBC staff.

    I once used all the sites that were conveniently linked to by the home page now I only use the news site, when that’s changed I will be gone for good FACT, I only wish I could get a refund on my licence fee.

    DBOne, when you're done, do the lights!

  • Comment number 14.

    "I am also very pleased that the page has been nominated by the Design Museum for their Design of the Year Awards in the digital category"

    Please look at the museum's own website. Does it look familiar...could it look a wee bit like the BBC's own website?

    The BBC website is a "me too" website - nothing original, nothing inspiring, nothing to be proud of. I have suggested to the museum that they need to consider ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 websites within the same category - let's face it they all look the same.

    Spent £x amount on delivering a website that has achieved nothing but static growth! and truth be told I don't like the way the BBC can report the figure in an almost dishonest bias slant towards the work of it's employees.

    The BBC have placed a very large handbrake in their approach to media content and web design and I would suggest that copying others is not the correct approach.

    I would suggest, IMHO, that the failure of the BBC website redesign has only enabled some people within the BBC to line their back pockets with over inflated wage packets supported by irrational arguments based on delivering poor work........Please do not allow this madness to continue!

    I welcome the day when the BBC becomes accountable via having to fight for their revenue and stop sponging off the TV licence fee payers.

  • Comment number 15.

    Please can the a link(s) to Museum for the nomination for the BBC website be changed?


    The link above takes you directly to the bit of the museum website that refers to BBC nomination and the current links are just general/random links.

    Many thanks

  • Comment number 16.

    @Bill Plumtree (#8):

    Thanks for your comment, but this post is about the homepage. A BBC News slideshow isn't on-topic, so you won't get an answer to that question here.

  • Comment number 17.

    Some of the comments are getting mean-spirited ("suffocating") and #14, in particular, drifted off-topic onto the broader question of the way the BBC is funded.

    Marcus, I've added a link to the digital award category on the Design Museum website.

  • Comment number 18.


  • Comment number 19.

    It is my first post on this BBC blog system. I have registered to tell you that since the change I moved away from this homepage. It looks like everything has been put in a bowl and was tossed around. I miss the simple things what a homepage should have: structure to navigate around the site.

  • Comment number 20.

    It's still horrible to look at & use, it's still getting complaints about how horrible it is to look at & use, and it's being regarding by the BBC with rose tinted spectacles as the best thing since sliced bread, rather than as the Emporer's new clothes that it's users have continually declared it to be since beta testing.

    I saw this morning with horror on my iphone, that the mobile homepage is being replaced with a "Hollyoaks" homepage of it's own, which is just as confusing, jumbled & horrible to look at.

    Well done BBC, as I've stated before, If I'd produced a piece of work that was as unpopular with my customers, I'd probably be claiming unemployment benefit by now.

  • Comment number 21.

    @17 Ian McDonald

    Apologies for comments and they were not meant to be mean spirited or off topic.


  • Comment number 22.

    It would be super if you could use the same BBCid login on the mobile and Android app versions of iPlayer and BBC News.

    It's really annoying have one set of favourites on the desktop, including your list of BBC Weather locations and having to set them up again on your phone and tablet.

  • Comment number 23.

    Just read this latest blog via the Points of View forums, and have had a look at the Homepage.

    I can see no improvements relevant to me - it still doesn't display correctly on Firefox, is still a morass of unrelated pictures jerking from side to side and is STILL uncustomizeable. Sport apparently features prominantly and is not removeable. Since this is something in which I've absolutely NO interest, it shall NOT be my computer's home page as was the old BBC page until it was mucked up.

  • Comment number 24.

    I now hardly ever visit the redesigned BBC homepage, weather, sport, programme or radio pages due to their continuing poor design. Can't believe they have been left online for so long in such a poor state, very embarrassing for the BBC. Nominated for an award? Was that in the worst design or the poorly handled customer service category? I have complained through the official channels and just get fobbed off with a standard automated answer. Was this a comercial site I could go elsewhere without having to worry that I was paying for this shambles of a web page. However I am forced to pay for something I no longer use. Please supply details of how to claim back the portion of the licence fee for the BBC's now 'shoddy' online presence.

  • Comment number 25.

    Sorry James but I don't believe you on your stats.

  • Comment number 26.

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

  • Comment number 27.

    Really like the homepage. Looking forward to the future enhancements - the user customization sounds good. Any chance of adding keyboard control to the page to enable scrolling left and right like the 2012 page?

    @25, @26 So James posts some stats that don't show the massive drop in numbers using the page that you predicted (hoped?) and so you question them...

  • Comment number 28.

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

  • Comment number 29.

    Hi James,

    Can you provide the site usages for the BBC homepage for the month on month,year on year and previous month?

    The BBC radio website does


    Maybe this will answer all the people that don't believe the figures?


  • Comment number 30.

    Could I also point out, that web traffic to the BBC 'News' website is 25% below normal.....

    https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/live_stats/html/map.stm (as of 17:30 25/3/12)

    Also on https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8562801.stm reports the number of unique visitors to the BBC website for Jan 2010 of c35million. So please post the Jan 2011 and Jan 2011 (provided by AC Nieslon) and this answers everyone's concerns over the BBC deliberatively hiding information.

    Without the data we can only hunt for some glimmer of insight into the facts.

  • Comment number 31.

    "Accepting critisism and feedback with humility" ??
    This is how the thousands of complaints about the new homepage were summarised on the bbc complaints homepage

    ""Finally, changes to the homepage at bbc.co.uk initially led to complaints from some users of the site who were disappointed with its new look."

    comments James?

  • Comment number 32.

    James Thornett don't kid your self with the stats. People will visit the BBC for its quality journalism however bad you make the home page.

    I have to agree with marcus1972 "Spent £x amount on delivering a website that has achieved nothing but static growth!" and at a time when people are being made redundant !

    The vast majority of comment be it on the internet, in the office or pub is negative. What will it take for Auntie to be man enough to admit a mistake ? Having looked at the beta mobile site it seems you really aren't listening as you're making the same mistakes with the mobile page !

    James, if you're so confident that everyone loves the new home page put a "vote" button in some of that wasted white space - I bet you wouldn't report the stats on that !

  • Comment number 33.

    Good to see the new masthead on the BBC News site, as the transparant version.
    Strange that the links on the masthead are for the Sports and weather site to the old news subdomain sites.
    Is it so difficult to change two things at once? That is by the way a proper question for which I would like to see an answer.

  • Comment number 34.

    As there is no weblog open to send feedback on the new Sports Online website, could you pass to them that they should use the same transparant masthead (as the new one for BBC News) for the Formula 1 subpage. Now that F1 masthead is still flickering black to white.

  • Comment number 35.

    I just read the hosts message above (#16/17). My remark of #34 was not meant to be off topic, but there is no other place I can place my comments. I have been looking, but they have closed all but a few blogposts for comments. Hope the host will not mind. Maybe good to open new blogpost on the subjects I mentioned in my post #33 and #34?

  • Comment number 36.

    Would it be possible to shift the top line (of the bbc.co.uk homepage) over to the left a bit. Then make the search box on the right a more reasonable size, as it is on other (eg: THIS) BBC pages?

    Just a thought... (Which is very much ON-TOPIC I think.)



  • Comment number 37.

    Now OFF-TOPIC but reactive... ;-)

    ""My remark of #34 was not meant to be off topic, but there is no other place I can place my comments. I have been looking, but they have closed all but a few blogposts for comments. Hope the host will not mind.""

    James, you may like to read this:


  • Comment number 38.

    At a recent show Daniel Kitson was saying when falling in love it happens so gradually that it is only when you look back you can see how obvious it was. That feeling came over me today when I realised how good the bbc online used to be ..the 606 fans forum etc etc the interaction ..the thousands of users .... it made me very sad to see the quality of what is left now.

  • Comment number 39.

    Would it be possible to shift the top line (of the bbc.co.uk homepage) over to the left a bit. Then make the search box on the right a more reasonable size, as it is on other (eg: THIS) BBC pages?

    I have seen on the new BBC News masthead that the small search box is only temporary due to the HUGE Olympics logo they put on the homepage masthead. On the other "new" mastheads the search box is better sized.

    @37 thanks for the link
  • Comment number 40.

    ps to #38. and what is even sadder is that many of these posters who have gone away were passionate supporters of the bbc. However certain elements within BBC online decided they were the enemy and no doubt sees it as a triumph that hundreds of the best posters to bbc online services have gone as has much of their support for the bbc.

  • Comment number 41.


    Hi James. There is an open post; and you can use the feedback link on every bbc.co.uk page. But not only are your comments off-topic, but there's no reason for anyone in the BBC Sport website team to be reading comments on this post.

    The Sports website team do know about the issues you raise.

  • Comment number 42.

    Thanks for your comments, @masterville, but further off-topic comments will be moderated.

  • Comment number 43.

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

  • Comment number 44.

    @27 & @30

    According to the Nielson site, stats for January 2012 ( https://www.nielsen.com/uk/en/insights/top10s/internet.html ) show the unique audience as being 20.479 million. If the basis is identical to the figures quoted in Marcus' link then the drop in web traffic isn't only massive, I would argue it's collosus - a 42% drop in 2 years!
    Perhaps James would like to comment. I'm not a statistician, but this seems to be statistically significant to me....

  • Comment number 45.

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

  • Comment number 46.

    @44 I'm not so sure. The 2011 source would seem to be comparable to the 'top' set of numbers in the 2012 page (using the 350,000,000ish google users as a basis) but not the second set of numbers (which contains the BBC total) - the google number is only 35,000,000 in that grid.....

  • Comment number 47.


    "Testing revealed that users do not always readily recognise or thus appreciate what's available on the new page but that activity and interest increases once researchers show how much exploring you can do."

    Have you created an oxymoron? The homepage should be intuitive, easy to negative, a place to come and find information about the BBC. But your seem to admit that it doesn't......well not without having someone who is trained in the mystic art of navigating the new homepage.

    Or as an alternative, can you provide me access to a 'researcher' that can elevate my knowledge to the high plain of design and end user acceptance? or is this to be found in the 90% of negative space (sorry white space) on the homepage?

    Many thanks



    "there's no reason for anyone in the BBC Sport website team to be reading comments on this post" - is this because they are dealing with their own 'car crash' design? (just a joke hehe - trying to keep it light hearted!)

  • Comment number 48.

    #46 and there you go...James gives completely unsubstantiated stats which you accept no questions asked. A poster uses objective stats and you try and find fault.Funny.

  • Comment number 49.

    @47 What are you trying to say? James admits they've got it wrong - its not as intuitive as it should be.

    @48 Hardly - the stats posted were not comparible so no better at answering the question than the stats provided by James. It is not implicit in my response that I therefore accept James' stats although I have to ask why you think he would lie.

    The funny thing is that how you attack/distrust anything that does not support your view. It appears that if James had posted that numbers had dropped you would have been happy.

  • Comment number 50.

    My second sentance was intentionally conditional, that's what the IF was there for. My comment was posted to get a reaction, unfortunately it wasn't from James.
    At no point did I state that the figures were directly comparable. I was using the only data I could find. James on the other hand has, I'm sure, full access to all the stats he could ever want. I believe the BBC will only ever share figures that paint themselves in a good light so it's doubtful we'll ever have a definative answer to the effect of the change. My stats posted may be no better than James' but as the quote goes there are lies, damn lies and statistics. I have provided a figure that on the face of it may show a significant change in site usage. For every stat the BBC provides, someone else will find one to contradict it.

  • Comment number 51.

    #49 So I see. You are accusing me of what I suggested you were doing. And I have to say I find the tone of #49 quite mean spirited, so watch out that ian mcdonald doesnt read it.
    Serious point if the figures are in your opinion not comparible then should someone who actually works at the bbc respond?Also going past experience stats which dont suit the bbc online changes are hidden and those that do are of the dubious nature like the infamous 2000 testers of the new sports site. "@ 9 million" gives quite alot of scope for spin.And one last point I am unhappy with the changes the bbc are making you are taking the view that anyone horrified with how the bbc are handling all this is the enemy rather than someone genuinely concerned that the bbc will have lost all its good will when a govt decides to pull the liscence fee.

  • Comment number 52.

    I had been wondering about reaction to the homepage further down the line, found this blog today. I had used the BBC homepage as my browser homepage for a good few years, the last iteration suited me perfectly. Proper customisation - I could remove what I wasn't interested in, and populate the page with what interested me, and what might interest me. Unfortunately this service has gone, and I couldn't find a substitute that suited me. At the time I (and others) suggested a possible solution could be to introduce a myBBC/Hub page, which would fill the same function as the old style homepage.
    I work in web design/development, and fully understand the reasons the BBC had for changing the design of the homepage. But it seems an opportunity lost to completely ditch something that was, at least as far as I could see, working perfectly well.
    The BBC news page now functions as my browser homepage. I still miss noticing intriguing science stories, or a recipe that I might use, popping up on my homepage to pique my interest and send me to another part of the site. Alas, without this, I end up looking elsewhere on the web for items of interest.
    I prefer to have a level of customisation above that of the current homepage. Looking at it now (for the first time in a couple of months admittedly), it strikes me that near enough every article, bar the news and sport, is in relation to a TV or Radio show. I realise this is a very important market for the BBC, but on the old homepage I didn't feel like I was looking at the website of a TV channel, it felt like an all round information hub. Unfortunately this has been lost.
    Any chance of that myBBC page?

  • Comment number 53.

    Ok, so I'm getting used to the new layout now. There's only one thing now annoying me and that is the sports headlines on the home page. I have tried to see how I can change it like I could on the old site but have given in. I don't even know if this is the right place to ask but I'm willing to try. I don't want to see football headlines under the main sport headlines as I detest football. Can I change this?? If so, how?? If not, why not?? Thank you

  • Comment number 54.

    I am abroad for work today and see that international viewers see a different masthead from us. They have some "Travel" and "Future" option in the nasthead leading them to some commercial part of the BBC. Oh, how cheap the BBC looks to its international audience. Have they no shame?

  • Comment number 55.

    Was the redesign even tested on an iPhone? BBC Sport is now without a doubt the hardest website to read on my iPhone. Double tap an area of the page to zoom in and you get a collection of font sizes, paragraphs off the edge of the page, breakout boxes that zoom to the wrong zone of the element. Every article starts with four different font sizes in the first four paragraphs. Tiny touch targets. Was this tested? I could go on.... Call me when you want to do mobile properly.

  • Comment number 56.

    @54 The International pages are funded by BBC Worldwide which is commercial. This is because the license fee is not payable by overseas users and therefore the site is funded on a commercial basis.

  • Comment number 57.

    I used to have the old BBC homepage set as my homepage, and referred to it often each day. It was my primary first point of call on a lot of my journeys into the web.

    The new homepage is still set as my homepage, but only for want of something better which is equally unbiased and free of advertising.

    I'd customised the old homepage as my personal Internet portal, but the new one is impersonal and not relevant to me. Therefore I'm part of the survey sample that visits the site less often than they did before. Judging by what I've read elsewhere on the site, the BBC is content with this state of affairs.

  • Comment number 58.

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

  • Comment number 59.

    James & Angry Beads (@54, @55):

    James has blogged about the UK-facing Homepage. The Sports mobile site is off-topic for this post; the international facing site is off-topic for this blog.

  • Comment number 60.

    Three months + on and I wondered if there was any movement on changing the dreadful new homepage. So I typed "BBC homepage complaints" into google and found this blog. I don't know if I should laugh or cry at the news that the new page has been nominated for an award. I was hoping to find that by now there had been a move back towards to far superior customisable previous design, or at least give people the choice.

  • Comment number 61.

    I used to visit the homepage several times daily (as in, every hour or so I was sat at my computer I'd go through the cycle of email, BBC and Facebook). I haven't been on it since the redesign. I have separate bookmarks for the iPlayer and the news page but I have been spending significantly less time on the BBC as a whole because the homepage used to send me off to interesting other places. Now I only go to the iPlayer looking for a specific programme probably once a day (the homepage often showcased something interesting that day) and the news site I visit once or twice, quickly scan the top rated stories and then move on. The new page just doesn't work for me and I'm still missing the old one.

  • Comment number 62.

    I can't see the new homepage. I've tried all class A browsers. I am in the USA... are you serving a different homepage to foreign IPs?

  • Comment number 63.


    Thank you for your question. Yes, non-UK IP addresses see a different homepage.

  • Comment number 64.

    No fundamental change to the way users use the site would suggest that maybe 70% of users want to visit the Sport and News! A failure of understanding your market from the outset. I am not opposed to change, but I would like to have seen progress and the new site, for me, is not progress. I have a harder time locating alternative areas. I now only click sport and news if somehow I end up on the homepage.

    The reason why I don't scroll down is that there is nothing there - OK you can click explore and then click a section and maybe you'll find something? There is no content - only titles. If I want TV catchup then I load the iPlayer webpage - the BBC homepage shouldn't be where I go to see what my neighbours are watching! The "Most Popular" takes up a disproportionate area of the page. The "What's On" is too small and only shows two programs on one TV channel and one radio station. The "Explore" is the smallest section and yet you claim this is on of the fundamental areas you wished to improve visits too?

    The old page is lost, whilst I don't like the fact it wont be back, I have to put up with it - I just want a clean, simple menus where I can quickly go to a location based on some indication of what I'll find.

    One final note: the Alexa page: https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/bbc.co.uk appears shows that there has been a negative impact on the number of users to bbc.co.uk over the past 3 month.

  • Comment number 65.

    It seems that your customers have given up, you had >1400 posts in 12 days for your 'Homepage feedback 2' blog and now only 64 in 38 days for this blog! Externally generated statistics show a huge decrease in views for the homepage with a knock on negative impact for the rest of your, in my opinion, brilliant site. Yet, all of your 'passionate customers' constructive criticism falls on deaf ears, Why?

  • Comment number 66.

    Just been back to the "new" home page to see if you've listened to any customer comments. Doesn't appear so as its still a confused mess. I'll be sticking to the News home page as my entry to the BBC - that is until you ruin them as well.

  • Comment number 67.

    Re. post 66 from Nick: My experience exactly. I now use the BBC News as my home page just as verification that I'm online. I might read the first headlines, scroll down to the lowest depths to see the little pictures telling me if it's raining outside, then go elsewhere, as there are too many subject areas of no interest to me.
    Having used the old customizable BBC Homepage for years, on which I could keep a check on main news, local news, weather and what was on TV and radio - instantly and without scrolling, clicking and waiting interminably, I'm now missing all that information. Just to get a basic schedule for, say, Radio 4 now takes too long to bother most of the time. Seems the BBC is quite happy with this.

  • Comment number 68.

    I haven't been to the homepage intentionally since about a week after it was redesigned. Tried it for a week and we didn't get on at all (it doesn't even load properly on my laptop, although seems to at least work on other pcs). Unfortunately it is very easy to accidentally click something to take you back to that page... I have like many others switched my homepage to the bbc news homepage, which while far from brilliant, is vastly preferable to the new page. It does mean I haven't looked at the BBC science/nature pages, recipe, "wierd and wonderful" at all since the old homepage vanished.

    I, like many others, am amused and unsurprised at the statistics, which seem to show no growth in use, and no growth in looking at pages other than news sport and weather. I wonder how much this redesign cost... I'd wager hundreds of thousands...

    It is a pity, because as many have noted the quality of journalism, and other aspects of the BBC are indeed world class!

  • Comment number 69.

    I have to be careful here and rephrase, as my post was deleted in the past:

    So, James, for ignoring all the beta public feedback, and for brazening out the feedback when the site went live; for ignoring the most negative feedback I have ever seen on the web I think....(this is where i need to be careful) you should have kept your job, been given a pay rise, and had friends give you an award for the whole thing.

  • Comment number 70.

    Hi Four_Winds,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Irony does make your personal attack within house rules. Some other commenters have criticised the new home page, but without getting angry or mean-spirited. The house rules protect James as much as any other member of this community.

    By the way, the homepage was nominated by the Design Museum; James didn't mention being given an award.

    Future comments that break house rules on this post will be deleted.

    Let's disagree politely,


  • Comment number 71.

    I used to have the BBC site as my home page because it gave me all the news and programme information I needed in a compact form. I switched away from it after it was updated because I couldn't see anything useful on it. I've just looked at it again and I must say I haven't changed my opinion. There is no useful news, you can't get a sensible list of what's on the TV. I just don't understand why it should be put up for an award!

  • Comment number 72.

    Since your vomit-inducing revamp to the BBC website, the site has from being the 45th most visited website in the world to the 49th. From those figures I would say that the website revamp has been a total failure and a waste of the licence fee payers' money.
    I used to visit the BBC sports webpages several times a day, but now I do not use it at all, furthermore none of my friends use it either. The sports pages are appalingly designed and so difficult to navigate through, I have no idea how to find the radio coverage of any of the football games that you cover and just how on earth do you find the Falkirk FC webpage (to use an example)?? There may be a way, but personally I find it easier to go to The Sky Sports website.

    You have destroyed a once exemplary website and driven off , SHAME ON YOU!!!

  • Comment number 73.

    I can only speak for myself, the new home page has meant I now ONLY go to news, because that is where I start my BBC web session now. When the old homepage was up I used to read other things as they were advertised there, but because the homepage is so hideous to use I now miss all the other interesting stuff. For me personally, this homepage has had the exact opposite effect than intended. Without doubt the worst website I have ever discovered is BBC homepage. OK perhaps MySpace was worse. One almighty improvement would be to stop the carousel twitch, I notice the twitch has not been employed on BBC Radio beta or the Sport sites.

  • Comment number 74.

    So the BBC backed down and now write their webpages in HTML5, about time too. The BBC (or at least some BBC lacky) said they could because of copyright infingment or something, so finally iPad users can watch video on their site. However, the new site still has that vomit-inducing yellow plastered across the site, it's really off puting don't you know, oh you don't.

  • Comment number 75.

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


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