back to article BBC redesigns and 'widgetizes' homepage

The BBC has launched the first redesign of its homepage in five years, and it's gone well web 2.0. You can try it yourself here, in beta, naturally. At the moment only the home page has been swept up in the web 2.0 tide. The BBC's news pages are set for a redesign in the new year once the consolidation of web and TV news …


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Chris Morrison

BBC Website

I have to say I aint a fan of the BBC website.

The only exception being the BBC News site (whihc probably has 10times the hits of all the others)

I can't think of a better designed site than the BBC News one and to change it could be criminal! (i'll wait and see)

Colin Millar
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Bluebyte should sue

That's settler world - right there taking up almost all of the front page

Dave Cozens
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It's a bit chunky...

...and it'd be nice to be able to remove stuff you don't want altogether - like CBeebies for example.

But it's quite nice...

Senor Beavis

First impressions

Nice, but a little tellytubby for me (chunky blocks of content with rounded corners to avoid the hard of thinking banging their heads).

Is all design for the next year going to be influenced by iPhone interfaces for fat fingers?

To sum up, "meh"

Anonymous Coward
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Remove CBeebies

You can do this: click Customise Homepage at the top left and you can show/hide various categories.

Paris Hilton

@Dave Cozens

You can remove things you don't want.

If they are heading down this customisation route would be nice to be able to properly customise and not just have their pre-set colour schemes.

Dan Collett


What a name! I frequent the news site but the rest of the beeb site i pretty much ignore!


First impressions

You *can* remove stuff you don't want (from the editing bar atthe top), but I'm buggrd(tm) if I can see how to just have sport give me news on Huddersfield Town.

Hugh Cowan
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I like. Very nice, how much?

@Dave Cozens

It is possible to remove whole sections. Check out customise homepage at the top.

First impressions.... I like. Very nice, how much? (Borat impersonation!)

I'll be interested to see what they do with the news section in the new year as I believe the design is superb considering the amount of content they have. It is so easy to navigate.

Any news when this will come out of Beta? (I know it just became Beta but still.....!)

Rob Sked

Did anyone notice . . .

. . . . how the blog URL comically got snipped?

Glad to see our ho's are getting treated well!

Richard Hodgson

Tides of PHP

If you read Mr T's blog post, you'll notice he says the page was built upon existing services, not the forthcoming "new page composition layer".

I only mention this because PHP would have made things rather easier. Count those rounded corners people.

Rob Sked

@Dave Cozens

If you use the "customise homepage" button at the top, you can untick CBeebies.

On another thought, I wonder how the new page is going to cope with companys that have their users locked out with Websense et al.

Chris Williams
(Written by Reg staff)

Re: First impressions

Right you are - not actually possible right now. I've fixed the story.

There's an idea for them though.

- Chris

The Stainless Steel Cat

Retro Styling

I love the clock. Takes me back, that does.

John Dow


It's a bit..... inconsistent. Bits at the bottom look like some horrible hacked together LCARS fanboy thing.

Duncan Hothersall


I thought they had redesigned BBS News for a minute there, and was going to get quite upset. The main BBC homepage has been in need of an update for quite a while, looks good.

Thumb Down's not very usable...!

I'm not keen on the re-design at all.

Firstly, for any section, (news, sport and their sub-categories) you only get to see three "headlines". Clicking on the "+" sign, gives you ONE more again and you get ONE more (and so on).

So if you want to see ALL the headlines (as it is now) so you can choose the specific items that interest you. you can't....!!!

Is this some form of mock censorship ???

After all, on the news page, isn't the idea to provide all the news quickly and efficiently, rather than having to waste time clicking on stuff in case you missed something (i.e. you'd heard about something and wanted more details)...or trawling through various layers to get to what you want.!

Anonymous Coward
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bit wide innit?

how come its suddenly 1024 wide too?

I always liked the fact that the BBC site displayed pretty well on pretty much every device you look at it on :s

Looks very nice other than that :)


Great clock

It just needs the italicized /BBC 1/ to be added...

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Not web 2.0 enough...

...because all those fancy little boxes they've used are trashed on my iPhone :)

William Tildesley
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One Word... Crap.

Please lord let the BBC Trust tell them to make it usable.

Why does the Beeb suddenly feel the need to go web 2.0 all of a sudden.

I like the current homepage to get to other content quickly.

I don't need the site to become a portal.

I'd be surprised if it got past the approval committee of whatever they have at the Beeb now.

Nick Ryan
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"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."

Ah yes, the standard web2.0 muppet-speak...

Shame about the fact that when they redesigned it they STILL failed pathetically to produce a liquid (i.e., scalable/flowable to multiple resolutions) design, instead they stuck with the standard incompetent fixed width layout...

Also, what's with this stupid love of scrolling things "smoothly" (well, slowly). If I want something to appear or disappear, I want it to do it now, not when it feels like completing the task.

Apart from the usual gripes, it does look better than the old page. Shame there seemed to be no way to remove the other extraneous junk on the page such as the big "live lounge" flash and other content that I have absolutely no interest in

Mike Richards
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The clock! Look at the clock!

The old BBC clock is back - that's fab!

Any chance of Web 2.0ing the terrifying gongs that introduced Open University programmes at far-too-late-o'-clock?

John Browne

Something funny about the clock?

The dateline says the article was published at 14:56, but the clock in the screenshot shows 15:14. When I looked at the page at 15:50, the clock was right.

Was the screenshot updated after the article was published? I think we should be told.

Generally, I rather like it.

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BBC ads served only to international visitors

Sigh. So only expats and Americans have to fight with the ads.

Dear BBC:

Why do you do it? Why do you act so childishly? Why do you make yourselves look so niggardly and snobbish? is it because you can't help it?

Please spare me your business model, it's forced you to cut back dramatically so why should I be forced to support it?

At present I get your headlines on the iGoogle widget and if I want to look further I can use those links. You've taken FiveLive away from your expat audience and your anglophilic users, and now you crap on us again by forcing us to fight with a badly-formatted and UGLY ad column. Why should I bother with you at this point?

I used to love the Beeb. Not any more.


Luther Blissett

@The clock!

But is it any more accurate than the pips on digital radio, which are several seconds out compared to analogue radio - or is it just another hyperreal simulation of reality?

Bruno Girin
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IE7 doesn't like it

It displays it but then immediately comes up with:

Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage

Most likely causes:

You are not connected to the Internet.

The website is encountering problems.

There might be a typing error in the address.

I'll look at it in FF after work then...

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Didn't the BBC do this sort of thing before... was called MyBBC and got closed for some reason a few years ago. Used less flashy coding of course.

I like the retro clock though.



Look, broadband is getting less and less useful. When you've been throttled, how fast is this page going to load? What about text browsers (the basis of most assistive technologies on the WWW), how is the navigation working? Can you get a low-res version for people who are still on dial-up?

When broadband was being sold as a new thing, many sites had a "low-res" link to the same page but with less flash content (literally and figuratively) but now we're all supposed to be broadband enabled, these low-res links have gone.

And the pages are now all designed for the 18 inch LCD monitor the C*O is using...


Re: BBC ads served only to international visitors

@ TomatoQueen

Do you still pay the license fee then? If not then I'm not sure you can complain at having to look at a few adverts, especially when every other website on the entire internet has them.

T. O'Hara

License Widget

Is there a widget I can click so as not to have to pay the license fee for something I don't want? And I mean all of the BBC not just the website :-)

Anonymous Coward

BBC beta web page

Lots of wasted space, left and right..

IE7, tuff get a mac (and a life)

@ TomatoQueen Adverts, not here in euro land, privoxy sorts all that rubbish out!!

@Mark Yep, still a tax payer, so still paying for the FCO's contribution to the World Service, so no don't expect to have to suffer adverts, please supply tax payer working abroad cookie thingy to remove adverts. yep still watching uk tv as well, but then do pay a license in the country I am working in, in the EU, and there are no barriers to tv in the eu. :)

@The clock, delay, thats the laws of physics!!, not even auntie can overcome that(unless they send the pips overseas a bit early, but I have patented that idea!!)

News content, ROFL!!


To Mark

Mark, I pay through the nose for cable television service, over $100 per month, and out the wazoo for internet service, $95 per month and rising, and still can't see footy as provided by the BBC, I have to pay extra for that too (MatchLive with the BBC broadcast, Setanta Broadband by the month, in addition to fees for the cable sports package and the FoxSawkerIdiotChannel). What I am objecting to is the attitude toward outside-the-UK as opposed to inside, especially when it comes from the BBC, which used to be world-class, and as far as I am concerned is becoming second-class.

Anthony Shortland
Paris Hilton

sports bit

bit crappy.... although you can select which sports to display in the lower links, the 3 headlines are always general (which will no doubt mean football).


Re: Hmmm

Actually the BBC were pioneering this sort of utter nonsense long before Web 2.0. Private Eye has a regular 'Birtspeak' column dedicated solely to it.

Keith T

Look to marketing its products directly abroad

The BBC should look at marketing more of its products abroad.

The iPlayer should work abroad for programs not likely to be marketed abroad.

That is, it is a red herring to say licensing is the reason for not letting the iPlayer show BBC owned programs abroad. The real issue is trying to make money with by selling the show or the idea of the show.

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Re: @The clock!

Andrew Wiseman

Clocks and Open University


"It just needs the italicized /BBC 1/ to be added..."

Try this:

@Mike Richards

"Any chance of Web 2.0ing the terrifying gongs that introduced Open University programmes at far-too-late-o'-clock?"

Try this:

Hedley Phillips

Too big

Everything is fat fingers big and I don't like it.

I like the lo res news site. That's the one I always use:

Thomas Jolliffe

Yuck. Yeah, I said it.

What a mess.

OK, it's pretty, in a Web 2.0 way. It's probably good for visually-impaired users, etc etc. But for the rest of us? Too much bloat and not enough content. If they bring this style to the News pages, there'll be trouble.


Time to scrap the licence fee

If the Beeb is getting advertising revenue, I think the licence should be scrapped now.

As for the site, it looks crap but saying that so does the existing.

The Beeb only makes one really excellent programme, Top Gear.

Colin McDonald
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Can't customise what you can't see...

Absolute pants. The WHOLE SCREEN is taken up with advertising some crappy thing called 'live lounge'. Ok, 1/2 the screen then, but I get to customise a single column on the left which just squeezes in a few news stories. If I want more I have to scroll.

Don't you polo-necked ponces understand that I have a life here - I don't have time for scrolling for goodness sake!

Absolute pants. Worth repeating.

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Too chunky

The headers are way too chunky. The content gets lost in a sea of headers and jumbo buttons and lack of white space


I know its a beta but...

When customizing, if you turn off all the modules and save. Then, customize again and turn them all back on and you will find that all the modules appear in the left hand side, leaving a large nasty grey space on the right.

Richard Porter
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Pretty awful

The BBC seems to have abandoned backwards compatibility and adopted techniques which can be guaranteed not to work with some browsers and platforms. I don't like being told to use a more up-to-date browser with css enabled when I do have css support and the page won't display properly on a browser built three days ago.

Les Matthew

Re: Overdesigned

Did you take a look at the top left of the page?


too wide

Fixed width 1024? This is not very standards compliant. Just viewing it in 800 x 600 for a laugh - much horizontal scrolling. It's just so unnecessary. If you're widgetising the front page, then catering to 800 x 600 is entirely possible, I don't think the advertisers would be impressed that their ads are hidden to 8-10% of the population who still browse in under 1024 width.

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I like it... Its an improvement on how it appears on my screen anyway...

Here's how it currently looks....

I did fill in their questionnaire and asked for them to centralise it so maybe they have..

Now if we can just get them to give unbiased news coverage on the fuel protests today !! ( No government spin added)

Merton Campbell Crockett

BBC Weather: London Five Day Forecast

It seems a bit strange to show only three days of a five day forecast. Perhaps, they should change the title to "The best of the five day forecast".

The weather graphic for "Sunny" appears to be a depiction of a day when the fog hasn't burned off. Other than the bluish tint, it doesn't look that much different from the "Cloudy" graphic.

M C Crockett

Miles Bader
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Quite awful

What strikes me immediately about the new homepage is that it offers _much_ less information than the old one -- there are many fewer headlines, and much less story text (snippets from top stories) -- and yet at the same time the new site is even _less_ readable/usable!

The new homepage also appears less organized: the old one has a structure, but the new one appears to have sacrificed most of that (in the name of widgetization?).

It's all in-your-face huge graphics and colors, and these also serve to distract one's eye from the actual news.

Oddly enough, it's not even more attractive than the old homepage, just different.

It looks like someone went all buzzword happy and forgot to actually think about what the site is for...


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