BBC News website redesign (4)
Day three of the redesigned News website, and at the end of a busy week, here's an update on where we've got to.
We've been reviewing all feedback, categorising it, and responding to as much of it as possible, adding the main issues into the Frequently Asked Questions page and summarising them on this blog.
And our journalists have been getting used to the new production tools and different page layouts.
Over the coming days and weeks, we'll be closely watching site traffic data to see how people are actually using the site. We'll also continue to look out for specific issues we can tackle quickly, as we've been doing this week, with updates where relevant to the FAQs page.
Most of the comments in response to my posts here on the redesign have been critical. But, as I've said, we have to assess over time the response of the several million users who come to the site each day by monitoring it in as many ways as we can - this blog is just one of them.
Post-launch reviews are part of any project of this kind: the relevant design, product, technical and editorial people will get together to carefully consider the main areas of feedback and analyse all the data to get as clear a picture as we can of how things are working.
The redesign had a number of objectives such as better presentation of the main stories and features of the day and of our existing local content, and a wider range of video content, and we will check whether we are meeting them.
We undertook exhaustive audience research and user testing before we went ahead with the redesigned site and we hope people will be able to adjust to the changes. If there is something that we find needs changing - based on all the evidence we have - then we will of course change it. That should be part of any post-launch process.
Meanwhile, there are still some things we have not made full use of yet: for example, in-story components such as links to related content and factboxes, bigger image formats and special provision on the front page for a major breaking story.
• Why is there more white space on the site? Some of you feel there is too much white space on our new pages. On story pages, there are a number of components which we are introducing gradually, so the look of some pages will change slightly as these come into wider use and get included. The additional horizontal space that removing the left-hand navigation has given us also frees up space for bigger images, embedded videos and links to some of our in-depth content. The width of the text column is exactly the same as it was, as we feel this is the optimum width for easy reading. Ensuring you feel comfortable reading our stories, was, and will always be our primary consideration as we develop story pages. The project's Creative Director Paul Sissons explains the thinking behind our use of white space at the BBC Internet Blog.
• Paragraph length: The length of our paragraphs hasn't changed. We have always kept them short, and sentences too, because on a screen we believe it is easier to scan a news story and read it quickly that way. This has simply become more apparent now that there is more space around the text in stories.
• Firewalls: Some people have reported issues when using the site within a workplace firewall. For example where the BBC URL is not accessible or issues with the Facebook options. We are committed to making the site as close to universally available as possible, and so will continue to investigate these issues as they arise.
• Scrolling: Some of you have said you find the new design requires too much scrolling and you'd like to see a "Back to top" button. This looks like a good idea and we will investigate whether we can implement it.
• Blocked access: Some of you using Kaspersky security software have had problems accessing the BBC website. We have been in contact with Kaspersky and they have resolved the issue with an update.
• "Local" box giving unexpected results: Some of you have told us that you have come across problems 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 problems sorted as soon as possible.
• Accessibility: Some of you have also been asking about accessibility: there is an FAQ on that here.
Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website.