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BBC News website redesign (3)

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Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 15:20 UK time, Thursday, 15 July 2010

Day two of the new-look BBC News website and we've had lots of feedback - here on this blog at yesterday's post, in messages via our feedback form and on Twitter, Facebook and the wider web.

Taken together, it's a mixture of responses - some pleased, some unhappy and many simply taking note of what's different and getting used to using the site.

There have also been lots of detailed queries, which we're grouping together and answering as many of as we can in this page of Frequently Asked Questions. There is also a new post giving a lot more detail on the design from my colleague Paul Sissons, Creative Director of the project, at the BBC Internet Blog.

A lot of the comments at this blog have been from people who aren't fans of the new design - the "it wasn't broken, why did you try and fix it?" point of view. As I noted in my earlier posts, we set out to make it easier for you to find, use and share our content wherever you are on the site. In doing this we researched carefully how people were using the site and identified quite a few things that could be improved on. We felt it was important to address these.

Some of you don't like the fact we've moved away from a design which had become very familiar, having stayed more or less the same for years. We hope that you get used to the new look in time. Others have suggested that the site now resembles CNN, the Sun and, perhaps, other websites with red banners. One of the key principles in the design process has been to make sure it feels like a BBC website.

If you are interested in what other people have been saying, a very early tweet from Stephen Fry kicked off the micro-blogging reactions; Jemima Kiss at the Guardian gives an overview and asks readers for their verdicts and Adam Sherwin has a post at Beehive City with a focus on the social media aspects.

Screengrab of BBC video from TibetHere in the newsroom, we've been getting to grips with the new formats and tools; an example of our new higher-quality video is Damian Grammaticas's report from Tibet and you can see an example of our larger picture galleries here.

So, with lots of help, I've pulled together some of the main questions you've raised and we've updated the FAQs: here are some of the latest additions.

Mobile devices: We're hearing from some of you that the redesign and changes in how the web addresses of stories are made up have caused some problems on certain mobile devices. We are actively looking into this - we think we have sorted many of them already, and aim to sort any others we discover as quickly as possible. The details and screengrabs you have been sending us have been very useful in this process. As with any other technical problems you experience, please let us know the details, providing as much information as possible; this will help us fix any problems you've spotted.

Facebook Recommend button: This feature is not appearing on some stories. We have identified a problem with this function that has been affecting some pages. We have reported the issue to Facebook and are working with them to resolve the issue. Once resolved, the button will reappear on all affected stories.

Accessibility: We've completely redeveloped the code that makes up our pages, and accessibility has been a key consideration every step of the way. We believe that you should find it even easier than before to navigate the site using accessibility tools such as screen readers and to enlarge the type on our pages. However, if you are experiencing problems with a particular piece of accessibility software and the new site, let us know, and we'll do our best to help you. This summer, we are also expecting to roll out an additional suite of accessibility tools which we hope will make your experience on the site even better.

Localisation: Some of you have told us that you have come across problems or received unexpected results when finding your area in our new "Add My News & Weather Location" box. We are aware of these problems and are taking action to fix them as soon as possible. We hope to have the majority of these sorted within the next few days.

Navigation bar: As well as moving our navigation bar, we've also changed some of the things that go in it - which some of you are finding inconvenient. Paul Sissons describes the thinking behind the changes to navigation at the BBC Internet Blog.

Kaspersky security software: Some people using this tool have had problems accessing the BBC website. We are in contact with Kaspersky and they are expecting to release an update later today.

White space: Some of you feel there is too much white space on our new pages. Over the last day, we've been rolling out more of the components that make up the story pages, so some of them have appeared with more space than will be typical. Paul Sissons explains the thinking behind this element of the design in his post.

Browser/operating system-specific issues: We want the site to look great, regardless of which browser or operating system you choose to run. A small number of you have let us know that the site doesn't look quite right in certain combinations of browser and operating system. We believe we have resolved a problem affecting the typeface you see, which should be standard non-bold non-italic Arial by default. There are some other issues we are still working to resolve. Again, your feedback has been invaluable and please let us know the details of any other such problems you experience, providing as much information as possible.

As my former colleague Martin Belam has spotted, we are trying hard to keep across as much of your feedback as we can - so please continue to explore the redesigned site and send us a message or leave a comment below; we will continue to update our Frequently Asked Questions.

Update 1814: I quite agree with those of you who are pointing out that most of the comments at this blog are opposed to the redesign. I was not trying to suggest otherwise. As I said, there are a lot of you who clearly aren't fans of the new design. I was also conveying that across all the feedback we've seen, including e-mails, social media and elsewhere on the web, the overall picture is more mixed. Given that there are several million users of the site, gauging overall response is more complicated than adding up the numbers of comments here - but it is something we will be watching closely and trying to gauge as accurately as we can in the coming days and weeks.

Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Well, if you're thinking of doing a touch-up, one suggestion I have is to offer the ability to 'vote/recommend' for or against comments on Have Your Say, and a way to list the comments by most recommended as well as chronologically.

    Maybe even allow comments for every single article. I'm interested in reading what other people think of the articles I look at.

  • Comment number 2.

    "Taken together, it's a mixture of responses - some pleased, some unhappy and many simply taking note of what's different and getting used to using the site."

    I think that's an unfair representation of the feedback you have received. I have read through about 200 comments to your previous post, the overwhelming majority were negative - "hate it", "horrible", "a mess", etc.

    Don't ignore this legitimate feedback.

  • Comment number 3.

    "Taken together, it's a mixture of responses - some pleased, some unhappy and many simply taking note of what's different and getting used to using the site."

    You couldn't get further from the truth!

    Should have said

    "Taken together, it's a mixture of responses - a few pleased, most unhappy and the odd one or two simply taking note of what's different and getting used to using the site."

  • Comment number 4.

    Please try and sort out some sort of left hand margin... I've i've not got my browser window maximised, the text of the story is right tight up against the window border - very, very hard on the eyes.

    Can we also have an option to get rid of the eye sore that is the purple location box off the front page?

    Also, any way of getting rid of the Watch / Listen box - it's really rather annoying, i'm not going to use it at work, and it takes an age to download.

    Apart from that, please, please, can you try and shrink things down... The 'most popular' box seems to scream out at me.

  • Comment number 5.

    Which Planet is Steve Herrmann on??? , I have examined the feedback and 98% of all responses say they really dislike the new News site and would like the BBC to revert back to the old site . Face facts Steve the people who pay your wages do not like the site. Just bring back the old site, whats the problem ?? . We are the people who pay for and use the new site and we do not like it. Listen to the people Steve !!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    It would be more honest of you to acknowledge that the great unwashed gave you a good kicking yesterday rather than trying to put a rather unconvincing gloss on things by claiming a mixed response. Still, I am pleased to hear that someone is working on the localisation problems and I look forward to the county town of Wiltshire being restored to its proper place rather than marooned somewhere between Somerset and Bristol. If you could see your way clear to then taking it out of the ugly black box that the local links now sit in, that would be great.

  • Comment number 7.

    Interesting to see the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man listed as a region of England...

  • Comment number 8.

    Change the layout back! We demand it! It's clearly the popular opinion!

  • Comment number 9.

    "Taken together, it's a mixture of responses - some pleased, some unhappy and many simply taking note of what's different and getting used to using the site."

    I like how you put that, completely papering over the fact it was overwhelmingly negative with little consultation with your core users.

    If I was cynical I would think that given you're funded by the tax payer I guess you have little need to give the customer what they want, you'll still get paid...if I was cynical of course...

  • Comment number 10.

    It's a shame the author is utterly delusional. 1% of the responses (if you're lucky) are positive, they certainly are not equal as you are trying to make out. Like quite a few posts I have seen now, I register today just to voice my displeasure. Thank you for pointing out that Stephen Fry thinks he might like it though, that should almost certainly change our opinions...

    The BBC news website, the best thing to happen to newspapers since the invention of the printing press.

  • Comment number 11.

    I still am not convinced. The new website design is diabolical, I can't see myself using this BBC service as much as I used to. Poor form.

  • Comment number 12.

    "Taken together, it's a mixture of responses - some pleased, some unhappy and many simply taking note of what's different and getting used to using the site."
    What arrogance! The responses are overwhelmingly negative Mr. Herrmann, so I assume you haven't read any of the responses, or perhaps you are choosing to ignore them.
    I gave feedback on the beta version of this redesign a couple of weeks ago. I'm disappointed to see none of my points addressed.
    The new site is simply appalling. But its worst feature is the damage it's doing to the reputation of BBC news online.

  • Comment number 13.

    I felt the few tweaks made to the links and section titles here -
    vastly improved the balance of the front page and makes it more distinctively 'BBC'.

    I have to say I'm getting used to it and appreciate the large photo galleries and videos, but this is still a work in progress and I hope you address some of the aesthetic issues. Lots of people in the previous blog post mentioned the single sentence paragraphs looking like bullet points. I think you've always done this for news stories, but perhaps it's more obvious now you've removed the left menu bar.

  • Comment number 14.

    How dare you sir. Your response to the feedback received is a perversion of the feedback received. It was mixed it was overwhelmingly, crushingly negative.

    Your user base doesnt like the changes and all you have done is put up a posting attempting to downplay the feedback and twist it along with some banal self justifications for what you were "trying" to achieve.

    Just accept that you have made a mistake and move back to the old format please. That is what I want as your customer and your ultimate wage payer, full stop, the end.

    Clear enough for you ?

  • Comment number 15.


    So how much has it cost?

  • Comment number 16.

    "it's a mixture of responses - some pleased, some unhappy and many simply taking note of what's different and getting used to using the site."

    Wow. The evidence is there to see! I'd say 95% of the comments were extremely negative.

    I think you should accept the new design is a failure, particularly as many people who didn't like it had specific reasons and not just general complaint that you would always expect.

  • Comment number 17.

    p.s. and if you're really taking suggestions, I'd give my left pinky finger to have the grey side borders back and to slice the sides of the giant red header at the top. It would make it much neater.

  • Comment number 18.

    Ahahahahahahahahahahaha, reading through the 2000+ posts I would say that the vast majority hate the site.

    Why not, instead of spending yet more money, admit you were wrong and put the old site back.

  • Comment number 19.

    The feedback was overwhelmingly negative.
    Most users are saying there is too much scrolling and too much
    Do you just plan to ignore all these complaints?

  • Comment number 20.

    To me the new layout has become very strident, the large blocks of "more from" and huge photographs are very much like LEAVING THE CAPS KEY ON. All in all, a very cluttered effect.

  • Comment number 21.

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

  • Comment number 22.

    I cannot, in this heavily moderated site, satisfactorily express my anger at such a bias, ignorant and downright untruthfull reporting of the facts and whats worse is that you know full well that everyone can read the 2k+ comments and see that the overwhelming majority are against the changes.
    And to tell us in not so many words to suck it up, we'll get used to it, is unbelievable

  • Comment number 23.

    Steve, accuracy, please:-

    You wrote "some pleased, some unhappy".

    More accurately:-

    "some pleased, MOST unhappy".

    Please listen to your customers.

  • Comment number 24.

    I suggest all commenters who are annoyed about the inaccuracies head here

  • Comment number 25.

    Will you ensure that odl stories ppear with the new look, rather than the oen that was in place then? Every time the website gets a re-design, old storiesd get left behind. Surely it's possible to import them into the new database?

  • Comment number 26.

    Really hate the new design, it looks a mess. Will be looking elsewhere for my news if we are not given the option to revert back as I just don't find it clear at all.

  • Comment number 27.

    I suggest that you re read the comments to date and rephrase "it's a mixture of responses". I find your summary of the comments totally distorted, get your head out of the sand ! You have destroyed a world class site. Congratulations.

  • Comment number 28.

    Also, as an international user, I would love an option to pay a monthly fee in return for an advert-free site and being able to view the high-bandwidth videos that are currently blocked for cost reasons.

  • Comment number 29.


    Not an entirely successful revamp. Unfortunately whoever styled this for you has neglected some key rules of good design.

    There are too many different colours, styles and fonts on the page, the styles used do not make it easy for the user to distinguish stories/links/text from neighbouring ones, the strongly red colour scheme is well known to be psychologically inflammatory and the ease of use appears to have been neglected.

    I think that some significant tuning will need to be done.

  • Comment number 30.

    Yay! I found this part of the BBC! And it looks like the old version?

    Text is too large. My browser, and all others, can zoom these days with losing your pixel perfect layout.

    As someone else said, the left whitespace margin is too small and should not collapse.

    Epic fail. Epic waste of money. Content is king, not the presentation.

  • Comment number 31.

    It's such a shame that the BBC have blatantly redesigned the news site specifically for iPads. I mostly read the BBC on my PC and it now looks baggy and I have to scroll for miles.

  • Comment number 32.

    Remember all those political scandels where the cover up is deemed much worse than the original mistake? Well, Steve Herrmann's response to the overwhelming viewer complaints is darned similar.
    Shame on you BBC. I expect much better from an organisation with such high standards of reporting and distinguished track record battling lies from unsavoury regimes around the world.

  • Comment number 33.

    "Facebook Recommend button: This feature is not appearing on some stories. We have identified a problem with this function that has been affecting some pages. We have reported the issue to Facebook and are working with them to resolve the issue. Once resolved, the button will reappear on all affected stories."

    Leaking personally identifiable information to facebook is it? My IP no is PII and your pages tell facebook what i'm reading.

    You did this last year with Omniture tracking cookies and had to stop because of charter violations.

    How much money has facebook made by selling on UK users browsing history to advertising networks? Do you get a cut?

    Or was this just supposed to happen outside the UK?

  • Comment number 34.

    Must agree with the majority of the feedback that the new layout and design of the News pages is a retrograde step. Featuring one major story in the manner you have is like a tabloid newsite. The old design was infinitely better. It worked so why fix this aspect?

    The new technical enhancements probably pass the majority of visitors by but they are probably for the better.

  • Comment number 35.

    Mixed response ?

    I didn`t see a mixed response, all I saw was everyone but a handful of posts absolutely slating the new website...

    It looks like it was built by a 5 year old schoolboy !

    It crashes my Blackberry and forces a reboot, doesn`t work on windows mobile 6.5 or 6.1, what a waste of time and licence payers money.

    Still, as long as Stephen Fry quite likes it then that`s ok, tough for the rest of us that used to use the site all day every day !

  • Comment number 36.

    "Taken together, it's a mixture of responses - some pleased, some unhappy and many simply taking note of what's different and getting used to using the site."

    Oh come on - how disingenuous!! I have looked at the comments from all the relevant sources and it is patently clear that the overwhelming majority response has been negative. To put it simply, most people do not like it and prefer the old version. Please do not be in denial about this!!

  • Comment number 37.

    The new BBC wesite looks deplorable, and resembles a cheap and nasty "tabloid" site, rather like those dreadful American news websites

  • Comment number 38.

    Absolutely hate the redesign - why are the bbc wasting more of our money "fixing" a site that wasn't broke. Just save yourselves weeks of trying to justify it and put it back to how it was. Oh and did i tell you how much i really dislike the new look ( just so there is no confusion and i'm not included in the "getting used to it" camp ) ....

  • Comment number 39.

    frankly its AWFUL

    for those using netbooks with a limited pixel count and widescreen ratio display, the relocation of sidebar navigation content to the masthead gives an impression of LESS available space not more

    likewise for smartphones - I could easily navigate the old website on a desire in landscape mode; alternating between the default double tap zoom and full page width view, now I have to constantly zoom and scroll to achieve the same, or rather I would have to if it weren't so utterly tiresome and disengaging that I gave up after five minutes

    And heaven help anyone who is deaf - your increased use of video and audio will just exacerbate the existing problem of having to wait around for hours on end for transcribed versions of stories. Congratulations on making them feel even more like second class citizens.

    If you genuinely believe the overall view from yesterday was predominantly positive, then you're delusional.

  • Comment number 40.

    "Taken together, it's a mixture of responses - some pleased, some unhappy and many simply taking note of what's different and getting used to using the site."

    Who are you trying to fool with your PR speak? A majority of your regular readers are extremely unhappy with these changes, and I think it's only fair if you accurately represent their feelings. Anyone reading their comments can see for themselves just how much this redesign is unpopular.

    We're your readers--we make it possible for you people to have a job. The least you can do is hear us out when we feel that something just isn't going to cut it with the services you're offering.

  • Comment number 41.

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

  • Comment number 42.

    New design..moving forward.. I wonder if anyone sees the parallel to the horse an buggy days? If they didn't try something new..we would still be Riding behind a stinky animal.
    New things bring progression.
    The new site is a work in progress- but I like it.
    Good Job BBC

  • Comment number 43.

    Have logged a complaint to - hope others do so to.

    However it will take up to 10 days to respond!

  • Comment number 44.

    I don't like it. It feels cluttered and clumsy. I don't feel at home using it. It's too clunky. The colours are like someone whose clothing are disturbingly loud when one is on retreat. What was the point of the change except the idea that change was needed?

    This is my second nag.

  • Comment number 45.

    Why would anyone give a flying fig what Stephen Fry thinks?

    And as one who earlier commented that I'd wait to get used to it before passing judgement, I have to say your suggestion that "Taken together, it's a mixture of responses - some pleased, some unhappy and many simply taking note of what's different and getting used to using the site" is saying "la la la can't hear you" to the vast majority who took the time to post.

  • Comment number 46.

    BBC News used to be something of which the UK could be very proud. Now, I feel like I'm looking at a once-beautiful and intelligent friend after a terrible accident.

    This redesign is a flawed, buggy, gimmick-laden, inaccessible, video-heavy, poorly-structured, ill-conceived, amateur-looking, dog's dinner of a web site, that can only display a few lines of the top story, flush to the left of the screen, in a tiny letter-box near the bottom of my browser.

    It's all about oversees advertising revenue isn't it Steve?

    TV Licences holders pay for the journalism, and so effectively own the news stories. At present the BBC acts as the guardian and curator of this national treasure. However, it seems that they are putting their own interests before those of the readers, by forcing these useless and irritating changes on us.

    Let readers set their own preferred text size, font and visited-link colours in their own browsers. Don't break these standard features of the web. If readers want to share stories on social networking sites, let them install the relevant bookmarklet (as I have for Hootsuite, Google Reader, Posterous etc.) or install browser add-ons (like AddThis or CoLT).

    Perhaps it is time that the BBC were forced (by Act of Parliament? - hmmm, maybe I will suggest it to, to make the source material freely available to the open-source community (providing they are not-for-profit, and carry no advertising or external editorial content). I'm certain they would present the stories in a multitude of innovative and reader-friendly ways.

    Freeing up content may give us genuine choices in how BBC news stories are served and packaged. Different groups could wrap the content in styles optimised for different readerships, hardware, operating systems or browsers. Clearly, your one-size-fits-all, Auntie-knows-best approach can no longer be trusted.

    Shame on you for the lamentable way you have conceived of, tested and introduced the changes and your lame attempt to sidestep genuine criticism (by nearly 99% of commenters).

    Sorry for a long post (and I resent having to register to post it), but I feel strangely upset by your act of senseless vandalism. I really hope the previous, classic version returns. Until then, I'm out.

    MostUnhappy :>(

  • Comment number 47.

    I accept that when we see a new design it takes time to get used to it, but some things jusy seem wrong at the start and no better as time passes.

    I remember when the Beed changed the weather maps on TV. Looked awful initially, looks awful still - a lump of grey/brown mud for the UK, surround by faux waves and a kaleidoscope of rain colours while a former WWII searchlight operator chases around the screen looking for the regions on the map while I sit wondering if there's enough time to blink my eyes before my area appears then disappears.

    And no customisable section on the website news page for my fave sports and my post code overlaps two counties too?

    The Beeb never listened last time I moaned about the weather on TV, sure they won't be too concerned about the "Tabloid-lookalike" website easier.

    Still there's always Sky I guess....

  • Comment number 48.

    Once again a situation of unneccessary redo just because it is not current. Seems like it was done as a justification of a worker without
    anything to do.

    This new formate is too spread out and not well organized. I really
    hate this new format. From my point of view it could be the breaker
    of not using the BBC news website due to the extra time and effort
    to scan it. Who ever designed it had no idea of what the user wants.

    Bernard Siegal Dallas TX

  • Comment number 49.

    hmmmm, I think you're mistaking "lack of familiarity" with "having an un-intuitive format/navigation"

    It's a mess.

    Sky did this a few years back and I deserted them afterwards because their site was unscannable after their revamp. Now, despite hating the unscannable nature of the sky website and the fact that it's insanely blocky/tabloidy, their site is still better than the completely unusable mess that the BBC has now created.

    BBC, please take note; we're not unhappy just because it's changed; we're not luddites; we're unhappy because it's now completely unscannable and impossible to find what you want.

    Was it designed by a 10 year old who's into twitter but who doesn't understand anything about how content-rich sites work?

    Maybe the BBC should have looked at some of the newspapers' websites to get some ideas; they're content rich, and even the tabloid news sites are more scannable than the BBC one.

    This annoys me more than the sky revamp did, because this time it was my money being wasted, and the BBC news site is paid for by all of us. I pay for it, and it annoys me intensely that I can no longer use it to scan the latest news.

  • Comment number 50.

    The new design is horrible and so similar to other news websites like reuters with menus at the top. It's an utter mess.

  • Comment number 51.

    Don't mind the new site, but where have the rss feeds for weather gone?
    Help still says they're there, but they're not.

    Also, today (15th) the first time I load BBC news in a new browser session, I'm waiting up to 30 seconds. After that, response is quick.

  • Comment number 52.

    Our house literally crosses the border of two counties and we have an interest in what goes on in both counties.
    The old website enabled you to have more than one local feed but the new one does not. Can this be changed please?

  • Comment number 53.

    Not content with ruining Have Your Say, you have now done the same to the News website. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

  • Comment number 54.

    "Taken together, it's a mixture of responses - some pleased, some unhappy and many simply taking note of what's different and getting used to using the site."

    The vast majority of the 2000+ comments yesterday were negative. It's disappointing to see the tactic of denial and spin being brought into play. Unfortunately that is always corrosive to any department/company's integrity and ethics. I now have to question how many "facts" that I cannot easily check are being mis-reported in the news articles themselves?

    Since yesterday's frustrating experiences I have not bothered with trying to plough through the new format today. The "Guardian" is now my online news source.

  • Comment number 55.

    Less is more. I really like it. It's cleaner, more minimalistic and everything is easier to access. It is also less artificially compacted on desktop browsers. Please leave it alone now!! :)

  • Comment number 56.

    An overwhelming majority hate it. How can you even try to state otherwise?

  • Comment number 57.

    "New design..moving forward.. I wonder if anyone sees the parallel to the horse an buggy days? If they didn't try something new..we would still be Riding behind a stinky animal.
    New things bring progression."

    Sure they can *sometimes* but its not a given

    In this case I'd liken it to the horse pulling from the front being replaced by two donkeys pushing it from behind.

    That's not progress just ill-considered novelty for the sake of it.

  • Comment number 58.

    There seems to have been a lot of progress concerning the white space in articles since yesterday. It looks far better now.

    Plus Points:
    Better Video, Images and social integration.

    Minus Points:
    Forced Localisations, since it's stated that all content is the same I don't see why we aren't given the option to choose what version of the front page we want to see.

    Still looks a bit tabloidy.

  • Comment number 59.

    what happened to local sport or the option to have new & weather from different areas?

  • Comment number 60.

    1) 2130 comments on yesterday's post and 98% of them were negative. Is that a record? If 1000 people complain about an advert on ITV it gets pulled. But 2000 people have complained about the website? Shouldn't that tell you something?

    2) I think you did several things wrong:

    a) The design JUST-ISNT-GOOD typographically or from a UI point of view
    b) After all the Facebook fuss in the last few months here you are getting into bed with it. Bad timing for a public service.
    c) Your brief for this. I havn't seen it but you've obviously got a brief which is to push some content even if we don't want it. That's really annoying and a bad brief.
    d) Managing change. Look, if you're going to change one of the world's best websites then do it gradually. Don't lump a font change, more scrolling, font size change, navigation change, colour scheme change, UI layout change, shouty backgrounds, unneccessary whitespace and ludicrous layout elements (ie the grey lines) together all at the same time.

  • Comment number 61.

    Lets not beat about the bush, MOST comments have been highly critical NOT some.

    Ordinarily a website changing it's format would not bother me, but then I remembered in this case I was actually paying for it!

    I doubt people who have posted here give two hoots about what Stephen Fry thinks. Chances are he was drooling more over the fruit-shape corporate log on his device just above the BBC site, rather than the site itself.

  • Comment number 62.

    People seem to have forgotten that the BBC's online budget is to be slashed by a third (remember, it was all laid out along with BBC Radio 6, Asian Network, etc being dropped). I can only assume THAT is the main reason behind this "revamp", so why can't the BBC be a bit more honest about it? If it weren't for this budget constraint, I doubt the BBC would be messing with a site that otherwise works perfectly well.

    As for the site changes, I've only just this minute noticed them (I haven't been online for 2 days). My first impression is 6/10.

  • Comment number 63.


    You don't listen very good do you?

    More than 98% of the comments are negative!

  • Comment number 64.

    I agree wholeheartedly with those who think this is very much a backward step. A glance at most web design texts would have have avoided some of these errors.

    I don't suppose you'll listen to your customers and reverse the changes, but I see three major problems.

    There is far too much scrolling, especially if you're using anything other than a widescreen monitor. The left margin needs to be wider to ensure it isn't hard against the display edge, especially for small monitors. The red top is garish on some displays and looks overly aggressive.

    Personally, I dislike horizontal navigation bars, particularly if there is no clear division between one item and the next - vertical navigation layouts usually take care of that.

    I'm sure this is the result of a lot of diligent effort and thought by skilled and motivated people. But it's still a mess. And pretending users don't overwhelmingly think so does the BBC no credit.

  • Comment number 65.

    Like most people i find this update of the BBC News website a backward step, very bloated. The old one was much more concise and efficient at finding relevent news. It was the same with the BBC Weather update which became bloated, which i've now had to stopped using.
    As others have said you are funded to do this by the population for the population, therefore can you instigate a vote to decide whether to stick with the update version or revert back to the old one. Listen to your clients.

  • Comment number 66.

    You seem to have mastered the three "I"s of public involvement; invite, inform and then ignore. You invited comment and then brushed it aside to a great extent pretending that we didn't really even say that overwhelmingly we didn't like the new site. Tweak and fix the new site all you like, it looks cheap and tacky; and in doing so greatly reduces the authority of the content. Your the BBC, once the greatest, most informative, and most dependably of news gathering organizations; now you look as cheap and tacky as a tabloid newspaper, presumably the content as being reduced to the same level.

  • Comment number 67.

    It looks garish and unbalanced, I definitely preferred the old page. The scale of things just looks to me to be all wrong. I personally think this redesign is a mistake, and probably one without clear objectives resulting in a mess

    I come to your news page, why is the most prominent thing I see now a large picture of Andrew Marr? He is not the news.

    As an aside the layout does not work right in Firefox if you enlarge the text size.

  • Comment number 68.

    I'm sure you have good reasons for all the changes but:

    1)The front page is very spread out. So I'm scrolling loads more and thus losing the overview.

    2)The "UK News/World News" grey box breaks the front page in 2 halves. I think the Themes (Business, Technology...) belong 'above' the Grey box.

    hope this helps.

  • Comment number 69.

    So - I am not alone in loathing the 'new look'.
    But, as usual, the BBC never takes any notice of it's readers, only it's 'experts'!

    If we can't have the old, user-friendly format back, at least PROOF-READ the pages more effectively, There have been silly mistakes in everything I have read since the new look. It is no use using a spell-checker if the original does not make sense - Spell checkers only check spelling not stupid mistakes in sense!
    Let me repeat -


    I cannot watch the news in three counties where I have contacts as I used to.
    Finding things is MUCH more difficult and the new pages are TOO bright - making them too tiring to read.
    I gave you up as my home page when you dropped the excellent search engine -
    I will not follow anything on Facebook as you are just giving them free advertising and makeing them richer.
    I can't get DAB -
    So it will not be long before I give up on the BBC completely

    You really are lowering the standards we have come to expect from the BBC

  • Comment number 70.

    Excuse me, you're having a laugh right. At least 98% of the comments were dead set against the changes you've made.

    Speaking personally. I don't mind changes that actually bring tangible benefits and improvements. In fact I love having things updated. Your last update was great. The new navigation bar that the rest of the BBC still use was great. The new iPlayer beta site is great. You get the idea. But the new design of your news site doesn't bring even one tangible benefit or improvement to this user, quite the reverse. And judging by the over 2000 comments that expressed similar views. I am not alone.

    Get a grip!

  • Comment number 71.

    I guess the idea of beta testing your new 'look' was missed by idiots behind this mess.

    First rule is you have 2.5 seconds to make an impression. You put your site out without all the features in place, not a good impression. You harp on the high resolution video - not good for people who don't have high speed download. You claim to have fixed browser appearance problems, but the fact is this should have been done before you changed.

    The new look is horrid and unpleasant to try and navigate. If it doesn't improve, I'll look for a new news source. Google and Yahoo maybe.

  • Comment number 72.

    Disappointing. The BBC must have spent much of their time (and therefore our money) on the revamp. What we get is what seems like a lot more red and much additional scrolling. You didn't need to make it easier to navigate around the site, we've been using it for the best part of a decade and we knew exactly where everything was. And more video means less detail, although since you can recycle clips from TV it's presumably cheaper.

  • Comment number 73.

    Sometime ago, BBC changed format of HYS, Iused to post and read HYS a lot but not anymore since the new format sucks.

    Many similar things can be said about the new website but I am not going to waste my time as BBC never listens.

  • Comment number 74.

    Personally, I think it's dreadful to use - way too much scrolling, and as others have said it ignores many basics of good web design - and yes, I do know what I'm talking about. As an added annoyance, the top menu bar is displaying using MS Sans Serif, which is an appalling font and adds to the overall tacky look and feel of the site - everything seems too big and shouty. The original was at least compact and presentable, even if not the most wonderful site in the world.

    By moving the menu from left to top you have inadvertently bumbled into the design problems that a wider text area presents. Usually this design is best suited to sites that are largely picture / video based, otherwise text just looks too jumbled and spaced out, and incoherently presented.

    Still, I expect you will say this reaction is 'mixed'.

  • Comment number 75.

    New layout is dreadful. Will find alternative source for my news. How you can quote "mixture of resposes etc" when the response was overwhelmingly against, beggars belief.

  • Comment number 76.

    My 2nd comment.

    I am amazed at the brass tacks that the Beeb has to state incorrectly what they believe the feedback response has been.

    " some pleased, some unhappy". The bbc journalist whose articles on mis-representing figures in the media would have a field day with that statement.

    I'm not going to trawl all the comments, but I'd wager that 80-90% of comments have a negative bias towards the re-design.

    If you are confident of your new site, why not stick a poll for the public to truly decide. Then we shall see the "mixed" response.

    Despite the re-design, I still return to the bbc to try and get my news "fix". The more I trawl the more difficult it seems to navigate your site.

    Different isnt always better. Look at Microsoft and Windows Vista!.

  • Comment number 77.

    BBC. I love you! And I use you every day ALL every day but seriously.... This website is just horribly ugly. Not easy on the eyes at all. Hard to read and it is hard to tell what is news and what is not. The advertisement is huge and the writing so small. Also the images on the front news page are so small.... Please have another go.

  • Comment number 78.

    "Taken together, it's a mixture of responses"

    What an arrogant idiot! 95%+ don't like it, but its ok Stephen Fry likes it! Stephen Fry loves style over practicality - look at his iPad love affair.

    But more importantly - I participated in the beta a few weeks ago. All of the issues that are now being raised I raised then, and I know others did then.

    So Mr Herrmann, a couple of questions

    1. What was the outcome of the beta trial?
    2. What changes were made after the trial?
    3. Was the trial just to keep the governors happy, but deep down you were gonna push this through regardless?
    3. How much did the trial/survey cost?
    4. How much did the new design cost?

    Also - the iPhone and Accessibility issues. Why were theses not spotted before live. Some of these issues are fundamental.

    Also - Why are we still on one sentence per paragraph?

    Change it back to the old style now. Clean up the new one, add some graphics and features - ok - but leave it the same as before.

  • Comment number 79.

    What's happened to the location section? Previously I could have two counties (I live right on the border) and nominate a football team. This really personalised the news page and I used the links a lot. Now the service seems poorer. I especially miss the access to both counties. Or have I missed something and simply haven't discovered how to set it up properly.

  • Comment number 80.

    My view is that the change was unnecessary and the result terrible. It is not user-friendly, wastes space and is a further example of the dumbing down that besets BBC News. Perhaps it's a cover up of how thin BBC news coverage has become.

    Paul Sissons wrote of the 1997 launch site: "It had tiny images, no breaking news, no Magazine and certainly no live streaming video". Now that sounds my sort of site. I don't want large and frequent pictures, I don't want video (unless moving pictures are essential to the story). I don't want links to Facebook, blogs or heaven knows what. Why not? I am an adult of average intelligence who wants to read news. I want well laid out, accessible news stories. This design fails abysmally to provide that and is a major turn off to this licence fee payer.

    There is much too much white space. I am scrolling all the time. Navigation is less logical with links across the page rather than down. Actual content on section head pages is thin with relatively few headlines. It is much harder work to use in an ergonomic sense.

    I will be going elsewhere for my news.

  • Comment number 81.

    I am so cross at Mr Herrmann's characterisation of the overwhelmingly negative feedback (as above in his intro and mentioned in several posts), and to the changes to the website, that I have now lodged a formal complaint. I would encourage other like-minded individuals to follow suit.

    Go to:

  • Comment number 82.

    I think you missed the point about the new site looking like CNN or The Sun. Yes, the bright red banner is a big part of why people are comparing it to CNN rather than, say, Fox News. But it's not just the red; it's the entire design - the fonts, the layout, the huge graphics. The difference between the old site and the new site is the visual equivalent of the difference between a news anchor talking in a normal indoor voice and a trashy talk show host shouting at the audience.

    There's an ad on your site for the BBC News broadcast that promises "No shouting!" That's your brand image. Well, now your site is visually shouting at us.

  • Comment number 83.

    "Taken together, it's a mixture of responses - some pleased, some unhappy"

    That is not a reflection of the truth is it?

  • Comment number 84.

    If you didn't know that you were not representing the facts in a fair way then I am very worried.

    Thousands, yes - thousands, of people have commented on the new look and I believe the vast majority have been against it for a whole wide range of issues.

    I have been very impressed with the feedback actually, I have hardly seen any comments that I feel have been written by people who simply were against the look because it was a change.

    "If it isn't broken don't fix it" doesn't mean "never move forward", as you seem keen to make us believe. The internet is constantly expanding, and the BBC should too, but was it necessary to redesign the BBC news website completely? I don't think so.

    However if it was a brilliant redesign - ok, then I accept it. But it's not. It's a poor redesign, as your feedback shows.

    Please don't ignore these valid comments and I hope to read a Part 4 blog message that admits to more faults and explains how you will fix them.

  • Comment number 85.

    The new site is terrible and it's obvious that the vast majority of readers don't like it. Just another indication that the BBC is going down the tubes.

  • Comment number 86.

    The previous design gave abbreviated headlines from all regions of the UK and from various continents. Where has this gone? Don't ask me to put in my post code for "local" news; something from any region may be of interest. I will not know until I see it. You are the experienced journalists; you should be keeping me informed using your judgement of what is very significant, which will be on the main page, and what may be important in a regional context, whether in the UK or elsewhere, but is now "lost".

  • Comment number 87.

    Not sure why you've chosen to change the website. The BBC News service should pride itself on being an advertisement-free source of journalism, and whilst it retains that title you've chosen (for some unknown reason) to copy the formats of Reuters and CNN. Without their commercial banners filling the gaps however, the website now looks quite cheap and unprofessional.

    If you wanted to make a significant improvement on functionality rather than aesthetics, you could have improved the search engine, or spent money on expanding your mobile RSS feeds to more than a four line synopsis.

  • Comment number 88.

    · 43. At 5:01pm on 15 Jul 2010, isdoo wrote:
    Have logged a complaint to - hope others do so to.

    However it will take up to 10 days to respond!


    From past experience you will be lucky to get a response within 10 weeks, when it arrives it will say that the BBC has taken advice from experts and the website matches the desires of the public, the majority of comments support the new site and that the BBC is perfect and the 80% of people objecting don’t exist

    You may as well speak to the “man in the moon” as to complain to the BBC.

    Head and Brick wall??

  • Comment number 89.

    Please please please change it back. The new layout is terrible.

  • Comment number 90.

    Sorry, Beeb, but, having tried to read three news stories today I am giving up on the site - It hurts my eyes and is far too tiring for sustained concentration.

    I suggest National Mourning for what used to be the best site on the Web.

    I will dip in from time to time to see if things get back to sanity, but remain a regular user - NO WAY.

    Sad, really, as I have been around since the BBC began on-line, but gradually I have been forced to give up areas by successive 'improvements' and this is the last straw.

    Some days I am house-bound and this site was my link to, and window on, the world as I have no TV - I will now just have to be unlinked and windowless, I guess.

    I know no-one in the BBC will take any notice of any of us - They will just sit on their enormous salaries and wait for new people with no taste to discover them.

  • Comment number 91.

    The new website pages are un-intuitive and very difficult to navigate around. Possibly because they try to do too much in a limited space, and end up being far too cluttered. Also the font is much too large and gives the page a hard and agressive feel. The previous pages were a pleasure to look at, did not try to do too much and were easy to navigate round. The new layout fails in all these areas.

  • Comment number 92.

    The sheer number of negative comments is grossly being understated. Quick count, the positive comments were maybe five or ten out of every page of five hundred comments. That's still over two thousand negative comments. Not "some unhappy". It's about the same as one grain of sugar in a bucket of sick.

  • Comment number 93.

    Absolutely Dreadful . . . . an eyesore and far harder to find and navigate to articles of interest.

    The underwhelming response of those visiting the site seems to be "Thanks, but No Thanks"

    Can we expect the BBC to take on board what people think ? well given that for a few years now the BBC execs seem to have shown nothing but contempt for quality journalism and everyone but their left leaning trendy yuppie friends, I'm not expecting anything else

  • Comment number 94.

    Perhaps just the tiniest bit disingenuous to describe the feedback as mixed? The site users are not fools; be honest and acknowledge that it's pretty negative so far. Undoubtedly, some of this will be due to the newness and the fact of the changes - the new BBC weather map attracted similar levels of vitriol when it was launched - but some of the changes, such as the non-existence of the left-hand margin, are truly awful and need swiftly to be rectified.

  • Comment number 95.

    There is something not quite right about the new design from a textural point of view. On my computer (Windows XP Pro and IE8), the text isn't registering clearly; there's a fuzziness to it. This needs to be corrected. At first, I thought that downloading the latest Java update would cure this, but alas no!

    Please tell me how to fix this.

  • Comment number 96.

    Day 2 of trying to use this new site has left me feeling ill and thoroughly grumpy & bad-tempered at work. I rely on the BBC news site to keep me sane at my desk and now it's simply adding to the workplace stress here.

    Who are you trying to fool by saying "Taken together, it's a mixture of responses - some pleased, some unhappy and many simply taking note of what's different and getting used to using the site"? Nearly 2000 people are complaining and they're the ones who care about the BBC and take the trouble to tell you when something is wrong - the rest can't be bothered to do this and simply go elsewhere for their news. So a lot more than 2000 visitors to the site are unhappy to say the least.

    If we don't get old site back - perhaps as an alternative to the new one - then I'm seriously considering buying a daily newspaper again, something I have not done since the late nineties.

  • Comment number 97.

    It would be interesting to see the site traffic data for the week before and after the change to the layouts.

    I suspect that traffic levels are significantly down if my straw poll of the office is anything to go by.

    Does anyone know if the BBC publishes site access data and where it can be found now?

  • Comment number 98.

    Cheshire is still omitted from 'England' regional news. Admittedly we're only 650,000 people, and a long way from London, but you'd have thought someone would have noticed us by now. It seems you think the North West consists solely of Cumbria, Lancashire, Liverpool and Manchester. Poor.

  • Comment number 99.

    Why do we waste our time - we send you legitimate feedback - albeit mostly negative - and you seem to totally disregard it - quite honestly after reading though most of the comments I feel you are falsifying the position - I would estimate that at least 95% of the comments were of a negative tone.

    It is patently obvious that you have no intention of taking any notice of us users (even though we pay you) and changing back to the old pages.

    Maybe some of the site did look a bit jaded but it worked, and most things could be reached with oly 2 clicks which is not the case now - so how has this made things more "user friendly"?

    Again, I repeat, why am I wsting my time???????

  • Comment number 100.

    I strongly approve of the new design.



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