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New BBC homepage in beta testing


Over at the BBC Internet blog, Richard Titus has just revealed the new (beta) BBC homepage, which he describes as a lick of paint. Interestingly, in contrast to Mike Smartt’s recent tale of the inception of BBC News Online, this project only took less than three months to develop internally
It is very Web 2.0 in terms of the interface – gradient fills, smooth hide/reveal elements, big top bar and generally quite Ajaxy. All in all, quite nice looking and relatively customisable. But there are two things that I feel are potential snags
First, the fact that the colour scheme seems to be dictated by the BBCs own ad/teaser block feels rather strange. By clicking on coloured tabs representing featured trailers, the enitre colour of the page changes to a different, but equally strong (garish?) colour. For example, if you click on Christmas food, everything on the page adopts the colur of plum pudding. I don’t really understand why. Also, this technique makes the BBCs own teaser (which is basically an internal advert) far too dominant
Second, whilst you can choose which news categories to display and how many elements of each to show you can’t change the ordering. This means that people like me who want world news with a little bit of local UK, technology and politics will always have to scroll to see world news, because it is always at the bottom of the list, although strangely it is at the top of the list when selecting preferences. Not very helpful for me, but perhaps not such a problem for more UK-focused people
Oh yes, and the design sees the return of the old BBC clock as a retro-cool Web 2.0 design element, which I have to admit I do not entirely dislike, even though I am known for an obsession about wasting vertical space in headers just to accommodate non-functional elements
(disclosure: I am an investor in the BBC and have a license to prove it)

One Response to New BBC homepage in beta testing

  1. By Ian on April 16, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    I agree in the most part. I think the new website design is really nice and I like the development.
    The limit on the customisation is obvious but I can understand why it has been done like this. I would just like to add my own RSS feeds as well as the BBC ones – I can’t seem to work it out.
    All in all a good result in my book.