BBC BLOGS - Sport Editors
« Previous | Main | Next »

The fresh face of football

Lewis Wiltshire | 13:10 UK time, Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Regular users of the BBC Sport website will be aware that we re-launched our front page and the design for our individual story pages at the end of March. We also promised at the same time that our other indexes would all follow suit, over a gradual period. Today the next big index is getting that makeover.

So users of our main football page will today see it change to be more consistent with our front page. We know that some users bookmark the football page or subscribe to it, and for those users the design will be brand new, but for anyone who goes through to get to football, there should not be too much by way of a surprise.

Ben Gallop, the Head of BBC Sport Interactive, blogged in March about why we were changing the front page of the site, and he blogged again at the start of May to update on some of the changes we had made to that design based on feedback from our users. It's worth checking out both those blogs to get a feel for why we're making these changes to our pages but I will re-iterate our reasons here and also give a rough guide to when some of our other sport-by-sport pages are likely to change.

BBC News and BBC Sport are determined to keep refreshing this website to stay ahead of the game - BBC News changed when this site did, in March, and the BBC homepage also had a major re-design recently.

In Sport, we wanted to make more of the space available on our pages, now that 95% of people have their screen resolution set to 1024 pixels or wider, so the story pages were stretched and the "index-level" pages will be too. We wanted to make more use of pictures, to capture the drama and excitement of sport, and we also needed to showcase our best feature content in a more striking way. We think the Sport front page has been able to do that since the re-design, and we are looking forward to the football page doing the same.

We also wanted to make audio and video more prominent, given the BBC's strong portfolio of rights including Euro 2008, the Olympics, Wimbledon, the Six Nations, live radio commentaries of the Premier League and Test match cricket, and from 2009, Formula One and the Football League in video. We have been able to use audio and video across the whole front page recently, where it is editorially relevant, and not tucked away in its own section, which seemed increasingly anomalous.

It's worth adding also that the March re-design co-incided with us launching video as embeds in pages, rather than launching in separate windows. This has dramatically improved the traffic to AV, even though a lot of our rights to show live action are restricted to the UK only.

So our football page will now get this makeover, in time to showcase our Champions League final coverage, and Euro 2008 in video and audio.

One important point about the football page - we promise to make sure the Gossip column is still present and obvious. It's one of the most popular pieces of content across, never mind the Sport site, so we know lots of you will want to know exactly where it is. It will still be on the right-hand side of the page, roughly midway down, and it will not move around. For those of who subscribe to Gossip (or indeed this blog) on feed readers, nothing will change (except we'll continue to keep thinking about how we can improve the content within the Gossip column ...)

From there we will look to roll out the re-design to all our pages, with the sporting calendar in mind. So it was vital that the football page was overhauled before Euro 2008 (and even better that we've done it before the Champions League final) and we'll be aiming to do the tennis page before Wimbledon, the Olympics page (and the athletics page) well before the Beijing Games, the cricket page before England's Test series against South Africa, golf before the Ryder Cup, the rugby union and rugby league pages before the autumn (when Union kicks off again and League will be preparing for the World Cup), etc.

These dates might yet change, and in the meantime we'll also keep iterating the re-designed indexes we do have. For instance, as well as bringing back the list of headlines at the foot of the Sport homepage, we're also re-thinking the mastheads at the top amongst a host of other iterations.

So please keep giving us your feedback - for instance, how you feel about the Sport front page now two months on - and we'll keep listening.


  • Comment number 1.

    I am still very much partial to the old version of the site, and until today the football index was one of my last few refuges from the new design. Not any more unfortunately.

    At least for now the individual division pages still retain the old look - although I assume they will soon follow the indexes.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good work with the changes - certainly positive steps are being made.

    In terms of the gossip page, I'm glad that such has been given consideration. It's the one article on the website that guarantees me a few minutes of little girl giddiness each morning.

  • Comment number 3.

    One problem I have with the new design is that none of the section banners seem to work. So I get a big black BBC banner at the top, then an area of whitespace, then the main page content.

    If I view the background image, I get a 43K 1x1 GIF image, which doesn't seem to make any sense.

    Have tried this in various browsers, from work and from home, always with the same result.

    The news page works fine.

  • Comment number 4.

    Sigh. Feedback, Feedback, Feedback.

    No! Have a bit of confidence in your decisions. TELL us, don't ask us.

    Lots to do here. We haven't the time for constant hand holding.

    However, since you asked...adequate.

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    I much preferred the old layout. There appear to be fewer pages available to access from the homepage.

    Also, the headlines no longer appear to be in any sort of logical order.

    Previously you could read 2 or 3 headlines under the SPL page, which I find more useful than a bunch of headlines about English lower league clubs in which I have little interest.

  • Comment number 7.

    So, some good reviews here and some that are less good. But nothing like the reaction we got when Ben first blogged about the new Sport frontpage, which I take as a real positive.

    Clearly the design can still be improved, and will be tweaked as we go along, but maybe the initial shock of what was, after all, a fairly radical re-design, has now dissipated and people are finding their way around the new lay-out(s) more easily.

    In terms of the banner, Mabuzzer, I agree it's not ideal, and is absolutely one of the major things we're looking at currently. I appreciate your input.


  • Comment number 8.

    Overall I like new designs but one thing I would suggest Lewis is sorting out the headline summaries of the other stories, i.e. the bit where it has a list of other stories with the team name in red then the title in blue. I feel at the moment it looks a bit out of place and messy.

    I would prefer them to swap places with the "Features and Comments" bit and to be layed out better.

    Overall the website is improving though and I especially like the extra use of images and the video/audio.

  • Comment number 9.

    I've become much more used to the new style now and I like the extra width, and the use of video of which I certainly watch far more now than I used to.

    I'm still not totally convinced by the layout of the index pages, though. Things have got a lot better since you introduced the headlines by sport at the bottom. However, I still sometimes find it difficult to cope with the lack of any kind of horizontal allignment between the two columns. For instance, one day the Gossip Column link appears quite high up, above the fold - then other days, like today, I have to scroll most of the way down the page to reach it, depending on how many secondary stories you have (and how many video and audio links you attatch to it). I suppose its just me, but I like those kind of permenant links to be on the same place on the page each day. At the moment I find myself having to look for it, rather than just instinctively 'knowing' where it is.

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm really pleased that you are both looking at more video now, Rexel and AnApple. We've certainly found that traffic to our video content has gone up enormously since we started embedded it in pages and since we simultaneously began to use video more prominently on our index pages.

    The BBC is one of the most famous producers of video content in the world but we were underplaying this on the website before - we're not now, which is good when you think about the rights portfolio we have - this website will have French Open tennis, Wimbledon tennis, Euro 2008 football, the Olympics, golf from The Open, Moto GP, and loads more this summer. We can do more justice to that now.

    I take your point, Apple, on the Gossip Column's position. We made sure it was in the same place but that can move up and down according to how busy the news agenda is. One for us to keep in mind.


  • Comment number 11.

    Actually, once you get used to it, it's not too bad.

    However I don't like the team names next to the headlines down the right of the screen.

    They look a bit messy and it makes it hard to distinguish the actual headlines. Most of the time you would know which team it involved anyway.


  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.

    Not impressed to be honest. The club heading next to the story is quite pointless and looks out of place. The main stories need to be higher up the page as well and the videos moved down to form a logical order. I'm all for positive change, but it's hard to argue that this has actually improved the site.

  • Comment number 14.

    What's the point of asking for feedback? It's well known that the Beeb ignores any feedback it doesn't like. But for the record, I agree with the remarks already posted on the lamentable state of the site. It's turned into a right dog's dinner!

  • Comment number 15.

    I really don't like the new layout. I've given it some time before commenting, but my opinion hasn't changed one bit. In fact, I probably dislike it more.

    Why not allow us to customize the layout, like we can with the main page? Because if we could do that, the very first thing I'd delete would be the 'team name in red, headline title in blue' down the right hand side of the page. I'm sorry but that's horrible and completely unnecessary.

    Also, on a lot of other websites, when they re-design it all, they allow the users to choose between the new layout or the old layout. We have an option for an International version. Couldn't we also have an option where people can choose to view the site the way they're used to? I can't see it being that difficult to implement such a feature, and all you'd be doing is giving us more choice, which is obviously better.

    I much, much, much, much, much preferred the previous layout - and I honestly can't see myself ever getting used to this new layout.


    Appreciate the effort and stuff, but sometimes it's a simple, old case of 'if it's not broken, don't fix it.'

  • Comment number 16.

    I dislike the fact that there isn't a little list of features like there were before the football page has been redesigned.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    The more I visit the football homepage, the more I think what an absolute mess it is. It really is horrid. It's all over the place, like it's been thrown together in two minutes. Think I'll turn to Sky for my football fix online from now on.

  • Comment number 19.

    Why does the website have innane comments, probably lifted from the 606 boards, plastered all over it. They are not constructive, just an irritant. Newspapers don't have readers quotes scrawled in the margins.

    There is a time and a place for amateur comment - on the myriad of message boards and blogs.

  • Comment number 20.

    You can get used to changed fonts etc. but:

    1. There's only one headline under every league, it used to be three,

    2. Chick Young disappeared from the front page,

    3. I can't see Robbo column, I can't even find Fun and Games link on the left.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.