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BBC Minute CatchUP: Global news in just 60 seconds

Marlon Parker

Founder, RLabs

BBC Minute CatchUP is a player that sits on your web browser and provides a 60 second news bulletin every half an hour. It’s the first pilot to come out of the Connected Studio, World Service partnership programme and is available to try now on BBC Taster. Marlon Parker, who created the pilot, explains the development process from concept to launch.

BBC Minute CatchUP was conceptualised by RLabs at a BBC World Service and BBC Connected Studio development studio in Cape Town. The two-day event featured 12 teams formed of a diverse group of local technology and design experts, with a brief to devise and develop solutions that could assist with the distribution of BBC audio content using digital tools.

Teams developed solutions on how to distribute BBC audio content

RLabs is a social enterprise and innovation hub that provides educational programmes, technology and entrepreneurial support to community members. Most of its innovation hubs are based in peri-urban areas and rural towns. CatchUP was created by a group of young people who are part of the RLabs team and that have a passion for using technology for social change. The opportunity to be part of the event was an incredible experience, and the innovation process from idea to pilot allowed the team to develop and build something that could potentially be scaled across Africa.

The CatchUP team always knew that the best way to develop their solution would be to keep it simple, with a clear focus in mind. The team believed that the BBC Minute offering would be the perfect content to share, especially to a young audience who would just need a quick update on the latest news. The widget that was developed changed as the team started exploring what would be the most meaningful way to share the audio content.

The BBC Minute CatchUp widget provides quick audio content that is easy to share

Although the CatchUP team had done some basic user-testing on other projects prior to the BBC Minute CatchUP pilot, the experience with Origin Interactive (the user-testing company) allowed us to learn how to gain a deeper insight into how the widget would be used. After multiple testing environments and different users giving feedback, the BBC Minute CatchUP widget was refined to reflect this valuable feedback. The CatchUP team also had the opportunity to explore new technologies as part of the pilot using web components and Google Polymer. This technology enables an easy integration into any mobile and web browser.

A highlight was working with the incredible BBC Connected Studio team. They supported CatchUp from the beginning; from forming the idea, through development and on to the pilot launch on BBC Taster. They were not only supportive for the delivery of the objectives of the pilot but also equipped the CatchUP team with skills that will be valuable for our future development.

You can try BBC Minute CatchUP now on BBC Taster and find out more about the BBC World Service and BBC Connected Studio partnership in this blog