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New carousel for the BBC Homepage

Eleni Sharp

Product Manager

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Changes to the BBC Homepage highlighted - a new flavour bar and a simplified carousel

Hello, I'm Eleni Sharp, Product Manager of the BBC Homepage.

I'm delighted to tell you about a development on the Homepage which the team and I have been working on and which went live yesterday.

We have been developing the following new features to the carousel which takes up the top half of the page. The changes are based on how we can see the audience have been using the page and also what people have told us about the page during audience feedback sessions.

From today the Homepage has changed in the following ways:

. There's a revised content mix in the carousel

. There's a new flavour bar in the middle of the page

. News and Sport are no longer grouped together

. Carousel rotations are no longer dependant on interaction with the flavour bar, hopefully making it easier for people to see more content

There are also lots of additional features coming in the next few weeks which the team are busy working on, including more Entertainment headlines and Twitter modules.

Why make these changes?

The role of the Homepage is an important one. It is often a visitor's first impression of BBC Online and the start of their journey with the BBC. The Homepage's purpose is to ensure people can find what they are looking for as quickly as possible and also encourage them to browse to discover something new. So everything the team does is focused around these themes.

In August alone the Homepage produced 142 million referrals to other areas of the BBC such as News, BBC iPlayer and CBeebies. Helped by the Olympics and the start of the new Premier League season, Sport alone received over 64 million referrals from the BBC Homepage.

The development of the Homepage is an on-going process. We are continuously analysing how the audience is using our product and working with our colleagues in Marketing and Audiences, UX and Editorial to improve our service.

Since the launch last year we've been exploring how people have been using the new page though analytics and user testing sessions which were ran across the UK.

Some of the most interesting things we noticed were

. People aren't engaging with the Flavour bar: the filtering tool, that sits in the middle of the page. We want to make this easier to use.

. The content mix on the page is feeling limited for audiences because they aren't using the filtering mechanism

. There is too much content, and sometimes duplication of content. We want to make the experience of the Homepage more focussed.

. We want to add an increased sense of 'liveliness' to the page.

. We want to explore how the Homepage could increase referrals to other areas of BBC Online.

What did we learn from the analytics?

The BBC Homepage is the third most popular Homepage in the UK behind Yahoo and MSN, we are notably the only page in the top four without an email provider (Neilsen Reach ranking).

Since the relaunch last year we have seen our weekly visitors remain stable at 9 million, although during the Olympics we saw this peak at over 10 million.

Whilst mobile and tablet usage are increasing, 75% of the homepage's audience still visit on a desktop device so it is important that this page is as efficient as possible.

On a monthly basis 40% of people who come to the Homepage are interacting with the carousel in the top half of the page. However, only 30% of total users who come to the Homepage are clicking on a piece of content in the carousel, so I wanted to look at why and find ways to increase this.

The BBC Homepage development team at BBC North in MediaCityUK, Salford

As always we would love to know what you think. Please use the comments area below or alternatively tweet using the hashtag #bbchomepage.

Eleni Sharp is Product Manager, BBC Homepage, News & Knowledge, BBC Future Media.

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