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Your new BBC Home: Introducing the new bbc.co.uk homepage

Andrew Pipes

Executive Product Manager

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You may have noticed a new look BBC Homepage on your screens today, as an updated version of bbc.co.uk launches. Executive Product Manager Andrew Pipes explains the thinking behind the new homepage, the new functionality that will allow a far more personalised experience for users, and what lies ahead for bbc.co.uk.

Did you know BBC Online publishes thousands of articles, and pieces of video and audio each day? From topics as diverse as Bake Off recipes to batting heroes. Timelines that make you rethink history. Live reporting from the most entertaining events. And of course TV and radio programmes that can bring you to tears - both kinds.

With so much great content being produced each day, it's easy for people to miss things they'd find fascinating. That’s where the BBC Homepage comes in.

Today we're launching the new BBC Homepage. In a nutshell, it will offer:

  • New design shown to all Homepage visitors from today.
  • Signed-in visitors can choose from an additional 40 editorial collections, including local and national editions.
  • The BBC Homepage is changing to become more personal, and more relevant.

The BBC Homepage exists to bring the best of the BBC to visitors of bbc.co.uk. Of course we bring you the breaking news stories of the day and the don’t-miss programmes and clips from around BBC TV and Radio. But there’s so much more on offer that might surprise you. And from today, we'll also let you pick and choose the topics you're interested in - all part of how we're making the BBC a more personal place based on the things you love.

Homepage visitors registering with us can now choose from more than 40 new collections

We want the BBC's Homepage to be a lot more helpful. To be your personal boredom-busting assistant, equipped with a shortlist of articles and programmes that perfectly match your tastes. That guesses how much time you've got to catch up. Understands where you are and adapts to that location and what device you're reading on. Which learns about you, getting smarter over time.

Today marks the beginning of that journey to become more helpful, more intuitive, and more, well... you.

The journey so far..

The BBC Homepage provides a snapshot of what's important for around two and a half million people each day. Since February, we've been running a 'Beta' service for the new BBC Homepage. So far, 1.3 million people have opted in to the new service.

We replaced the old mobile website in February, as the Beta was optimised for smaller screens. Gradually, we've widened the page, to take in tablet and desktop screens too.

In that time, we've had 67 releases of new functionality. Some would have been invisible to users, but we hope most improved your experience along the way. Like presenting signed-in visitors with unique suggestions for iPlayer programmes based on what you've watched previously.

At each release, we've used both usage data and survey responses to better inform the next raft of features. Over 10,000 respondents contributed their thoughts and ideas in our survey. Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to feed back.

We've run some A/B tests to confirm our design decisions too. We compressed the information at the top of the page on mobile devices following the first test, for instance. The last test shone light on whether having "share links" on every promo distracted users, or complemented their experience.

Making your Homepage yours

Until recently, the Homepage editorial team lacked the tools to pull all the rich variety of BBC content together for our audience. But today, visitors registering with us can choose from more than 40 new collections - each tailored to their interests. Those hand-picked collections update throughout the day, so whenever you dip in, there will be something relevant to keep you occupied.

Simply sign in to your BBC ID, and click ‘Customise your Homepage’. If you’ve already signed in elsewhere on the BBC website - for instance on iPlayer - you won’t have to do a thing. Once you’re on the customise screen, set a location using the search field, or press the “cross hairs” icon to use your current location.

Sign in to your BBC ID and click ‘Customise your Homepage’ to make it your own

If we detect that you're in a region that receives national content, we’ll pull in a relevant mix of stories into the top of your Homepage. You can also choose some collections curated by our teams in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For those after a purely national flavour, we've also overhauled our Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, ALBA and Cymru Homepages. They now take on the new look, and their editorial teams benefit from many of the new features we've built for the main UK Homepage. So if you're after the best bits of the BBC from your home nation, head over there and have a look.

For UK Homepage visitors who’ve signed in, you get dozens of curated collections from topics in News, Sport, Entertainment, Culture, Living and Science & Technology to add to your Homepage. You can also remove sections you’re not interested in. Soon, you’ll be able to reorder which collections appear where on your page, but for now, the order is fixed.

What’s next?

The future BBC Homepage is going to get even better – and over time, more personal to your tastes. That also means that even if two people both 'follow' the same topics, they won't get shown the same things necessarily.

That's because we'll start to remember what kinds of content you click on, to better surface things that might be more relevant to you.

If you’ve got a fear of missing out, don’t worry - we’ll always present the biggest stories of the day to everyone. For more on how our editorial team chooses the content to include in Homepage collections, there'll be a post soon from my colleague Clare Hudson.

Of course not everyone has time to watch, listen to and read all of their Homepage in one sitting. So we'll offer ways to add items from your collections for easy retrieval later on. Soon, you’ll also be able to watch and listen to clips right on the Homepage.

Those are just some of the many ways we’re making the new Homepage smarter, more personal, and more useful. We hope that over time, more of you will make it your home for the best of the BBC.

As ever, we’d encourage you to have your say about the new design in the comments below, on Twitter using the #bbchomepage hashtag, or by taking part in this short survey.

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