BBC News redesign
Lots can happen in 11 years, especially in news.
In 2008, BBC News was catering for an audience with completely different needs to those imagined after its last significant redesign in 1999; one that was more social, convergent and reliant on multi screen experiences.
This project was 18-month, ground-up redesign of the BBC online news proposition. Within 6 months of the site launching traffic had increased by 20%. The redesign won the 2011 Online Journalism award for General Excellence in Online Journalism, and beat Google & Flickr to win the .Net Magazine award for Redesign of the Year. It also received critical acclaim from the UX community.
- Systematic interface design, interaction design, HTML & CSS patterns, rapid prototyping, user testing
The BBC News homepage
Nearly every component on this page is supplied with multiple visual treatments, allowing the site to express the news agenda of the moment. The Editor is can choose to use a wide variety of image-sizes, media types and supporting content. This allows the site to react quickly, leading with important breaking stories in prominent slots before photographs or video footage have become available.
The funding structure of the BBC (publicly funded inside the UK, privately funded in the rest of the world) combined with the website's global reach created very complex advertising requirements. I conceived and built a set of HTML templates which allow enormous, intrusive formats (such as the XXL format shown above) to appear when required for non-UK audiences without compromising the experience for UK users.
When major event occurs BBC News usually produces multiple parallel content streams in realtime, enabling users to follow it. These include traditional broadcast media (television and radio broadcasts, which can be broadcasting coverage on the same event through several different channels at any one time) as well as television text commentary, web feeds, web pages and social media such as Twitter. Live pages on the BBC News website serve to amalgamate the best parts of these streams in a single location, letting users track the situation in the fullest way possible.
Working alongside Speculative Designer James King, I organised the content groups into three streams to establish a simpler hierarchy;
- Realtime content ('hot' - constant, focused attention)
- Frequently updated content ('warm' - sporadic, distracted attention)
- Rarely updated content ('cool' - only likely to be used a couple of times per event per user)
These three streams were then deliberately arranged to evoke pre-existing interaction behaviours we had observed in users.
The BBC News correspondent pages collect articles, blog entries video and social media from specialist BBC journalists in a single stream.