UX

The new BBC

Lorcan 2 min read

The BBC is a major web presence, and many people look to it for example. I noted a while ago its pending redesign:

From a conceptual point of view, the widgetization adopted by Facebook, iGoogle and netvibes weighed strongly on our initial thinking. We wanted to build the foundation and DNA of the new site in line with the ongoing trend and evolution of the Internet towards dynamically generated and syndicable content through technologies like RSS, atom and xml. This trend essentially abstracts the content from its presentation and distribution, atomizing content into a feed-based universe. Browsers, devices, etc therefore become lenses through which this content can be collected, tailored and consumed by the audience. [BBC Internet Blog – A lick of paint for the BBC homepage]

Nicely expressed …. The new website is now live. It seems to me that they are taking quite a risk. They are complicating things for people who do not want to fiddle around with stuff themselves. It will be interesting to see how it fares.
On my earlier post, I wondered whether people would actually want to spend time customising what is largely a destination site. This is not like iGoogle or netvibes, after all, in that it presents its own content rather than providing a ‘container’ for other services. I suppose your interest in customization will depend on how much time you spend there. I tend to go there a lot, and am happy doing some modest reassortment to reflect my common interests (for example, I will tick a couple of boxes in the music section, or in the sports section, to limit what is presented to me in those channels).
Nick Baker left a comment on the first post:

More to the point, can I embed their widgets in my own site, or in my feed readers? If they only work on bbc.co.uk, then the BBC has missed the point. [QOTD: a universe of feeds, comment]

One of the good things about the BBC has been their widespread use of RSS feeds. There don’t seem to be any feeds at the level of the new home page which is strange. I assume they are on their way. You can still pick them up at lower levels.
What would be nice would to be able to select an assortment of channels (news, sport, music, blogs, …), specific content feeds within them (e.g. football in sport, folk/country in music, ….), and then to have those choices pass over into a set of RSS feeds available to you. .

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