Upcoming changes to BBC Homepage
Executive Product Manager
I’m Executive Product Manager for the BBC's Homepage.
This post outlines some changes we’re making to this page’s design over the coming weeks, starting with a refresh of the mobile experience in mid-February. A more in-depth look at the decisions driving the technology and designs will be published in a few weeks.
Three million people visit the BBC’s Homepage each day. Our team of editors seek out and promote the best BBC articles, clips, programmes and more and display them in collections you can view at a glance - for instance, News, Sport, Entertainment and Lifestyle. On the desktop version of the Homepage, you can also provide a favourite location to receive the latest weather and headlines local to you.
It’s been three years since we last updated the look and feel of the BBC’s Homepage. In that time, most of the BBC’s websites have adopted a responsive web design approach that optimises the layout for any screen size. Have a look at responsive web design in practice on the BBC’s search, which our team also produces.
The BBC’s Homepage team has, however, had to maintain different versions of its application - one for mobile phones, and another for the traditional “desktop” and tablet devices.
A mock up of how the new Homepage will look on mobile
By moving to a single, responsive website, we can improve the audience’s experience more quickly and easily across all platforms. The new website’s layout will automatically resize and reflow its content to best suit your screen’s dimensions. And with the latest class of smartphones filling the gap between traditional mobile phones and “fablets”, there are even more screen sizes to contend with. It’s important the BBC Homepage looks brilliant on any device that comes along without our team having to re-code to accommodate each new phone’s specification.
So what is the new mobile website going to look like? In brief: bolder, more image-led, and less cluttered. The page is divided clearly into sections that correspond to the types of stories we know our audience look for most - the latest news and sport headlines, a snapshot of the most talked-about TV and Radio programmes, and curated collections of the best stories from around the buzzing BBC Online website.
When we placed our emerging designs in front of people as part of our research, their feedback was clear: keep things simple, and don’t clutter the view with unnecessary links - especially in the smaller mobile viewport. So don’t expect an encyclopedic assortment of links; the new mobile design is still a succinct ‘taster menu’ of the best of the BBC.
There are several useful features just around the corner. You will be able to share and save individual stories from your Homepage, watch and listen to clips, and discover more of the content that interests you.
The ability to add and remove sections of the mobile Homepage will be temporarily deactivated, as we update the technology that drives this feature. We will be replacing it with a much more flexible way to personalise your Homepage in the near future.
Looking further into 2015, the road starts to move away from the web Homepage as the only place to discover a unique collection of stories just right for you. We’ll be building out our proposition through a new mobile app, as well as exploring ways to promote those stories when you’re on other parts of the BBC website. It’s all part of a wider drive to make the BBC Online much more personal, and much more relevant to all of our audience.
I hope you love the new Homepage as much as we’ve enjoyed designing and building it. We will continually monitor how people use the new website and improve it based on what we find. If you’d like to lend your view to the new designs, please do leave a comment here on the blog, and I will aim to respond to everyone.
Andrew Pipes is Executive Product Manager, BBC Homepage
Please note: to view the new website when it launches, you will need to visit m.bbc.co.uk (note the ‘m’ prefix).