Join 3,516 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


New BBC News
February 19, 2003 5:04 AM   Subscribe

The BBC's News website has undergone a re-design. The primary change is the switch from using a 640x480 based design to a 800x600 design. BBC News Online's Editor-in-Chief explains their reasons for the change here. What do MeFi users think of the re-design? Personally, I find it's a little CNN-esque and I'm not totally convinced.
posted by metaxa (38 comments total)

 
not exactly a compelling issue.
posted by quonsar at 5:12 AM on February 19, 2003


I can't decide how I want to answer:
Please select one of the options below to enter the site.
I am in the UK
[Yes] [No]


(Also: Designing for specific resolutions is lame.)
posted by skryche at 5:15 AM on February 19, 2003


quonsar: I felt it more compelling than the rest of the Iraq-filter posts on here.
posted by metaxa at 5:16 AM on February 19, 2003


It was compelling enough to me this morning when I thought "Eeeuuuwwww. That's awful!" It'll pass though. I didn't like the previous one either when it first turned up.
posted by vbfg at 5:18 AM on February 19, 2003


Good to see my taxes are being spent on useful things like website redesigns instead of useless 'healthcare' or 'education'.
posted by sebas at 5:20 AM on February 19, 2003


metaxa: I don't think it's as busy looking as CNN. I like it. It did load faster for me. And three columns can lead to much more interesting visuals.

And on days I am visually overloaded I can just use their text-only version.

(Looks like they still have an error or two to fix. I get this on one section: "[an error occurred while processing this directive] ")

quonsar: I, for one, am interested in how and why major sites redesign. They can't use the latest flash intros and artistic home pages. They're trying to balance the needs of both the informed user and the person who just wants easy to find information.

sebas: The works was paid with a special £5 fee for those walking the halls of the BBC.
posted by ?! at 5:27 AM on February 19, 2003


Can't say that I'm too bothered about my taxes are being spent on website redesigns. Since I don't watch TV or read newspapers these days, I get most of my news from BBC News Online; I certainly appreciate not having to wade through ads, and the quality of writing and design is pretty decent.
posted by adrianhon at 5:28 AM on February 19, 2003


taxes? wtf?

it's a licence fee. the BBC doesn't run the NHS.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:29 AM on February 19, 2003


Well since i'm healthy and past being educated I'm quite happy about my 'taxes' being spent on website redesign and not useless things like healthcare or education...

The design's ok, i'll grow to like it eventually. You can never please everyone with these things.
posted by imh at 5:30 AM on February 19, 2003


More info about the change given by the editor and also a short FAQ.
posted by adrianhon at 5:31 AM on February 19, 2003


Anyway, the Beeb paid for the development of their tv service with the proceeds of the radio licence, so i don't see why they can't develop the website with money from the tv one.
posted by imh at 5:32 AM on February 19, 2003


Oh yeah, that licence fee thingy. Oh well, me wrong.
posted by sebas at 5:32 AM on February 19, 2003


It doesn't look too bad to me. In fact I visited earlier today and didn't even notice the change. OK, I'd just woken up. I'm more concerned with the BBC spending licence money on tv channels I can't actually watch without going digital.
posted by squealy at 5:37 AM on February 19, 2003


Bah, they should hire me to produce a standards compliant design which scales gracefully to different resolutions and doesn't use tag soup HTML for no good reason and doesn't assume everyone's 20 years old with 20/20 vision.

But I suppose it's easier to find a few Frontpage wielding dweebs.
posted by Freaky at 5:44 AM on February 19, 2003


The wails of horror that went up in my newspaper office this morning were testament to two things:
1. The importance of BBC News online to media professionals
2. The fixed-font, horizontally-scrolling, content-obscuring usability mess they've made of their site.

Surely we're not alone in using iMacs at 800x600? Many users have no idea how to change up, and an even greater number wouldn't want to if they could. What a mess.
posted by bonaldi at 5:49 AM on February 19, 2003


It doesn't fit in my browser anymore, unless I full-screen it. Waaaaaah!

Here's how the BBC spent your license fees last year.
posted by walrus at 5:53 AM on February 19, 2003


Good point, ?!: They've got a perfectly good design waiting in the wings. I wish all sites were that nice.
posted by skryche at 5:54 AM on February 19, 2003


taxes? wtf?

it's a licence fee. the BBC doesn't run the NHS.


We-e-ell... is it a voluntary or optional fee? No. If you own any TV, you have to buy a licence. It's a tax on viewers. I just don't think all taxes are bad, that's all.

It so happens that for my £112/year (= £9.33/month), I get all the Beebs services - Online, Radio, Education, Public services, TV. How is that bad value? My ntl:home cable costs £25/month, for about 50 channels of tv only.

As for the design: bleh. I'll get used to it. It's not like I have a choice...
posted by dash_slot- at 5:55 AM on February 19, 2003


For those non-Beeb viewers: in recent years the BBC has been constantly tinkering and re-tinkering with station idents and the like, and spending oodles in the process. Don't really have an opinion on this, since I must shamefully admit these kind of things do brighten my day. I am a slave to new-ness and shiny things.

But as a complete, blatant, de-rail (ignore at will), I was reflecting the other day about the history of the Western world being linked to the professional background of our ruling class. Government by professional aristocrats (if you see what I mean) gave way to rule in the 1920s and 30s by idealistic academics and college professors (and failed artists unfortunately), which gave way to the elegantly practical military men of the 1950s, and then the bonkers/coked entrepeneurs of the 1970s and 1980s. Today? Lawyers, admen and marketeers. Sadly.

Vast generalisation of course, but worth a punt.

Now if they were pushing 'Regime Re-branding' or merely threatening to 're-design' the Iraqi infrastructure maybe...
posted by klaatu at 5:55 AM on February 19, 2003


It's an improvement I suppose, and the design's less cluttered than many major news sites.

The developers should be packed off to a beginners' web development course though, a major site of this kind shouldn't have invalid, unstructured HTML and text sized in pixels. Shoddy workmanship, bah humbug, what are they teaching youngsters nowadays, etc. etc.
posted by malevolent at 6:01 AM on February 19, 2003


they updated the design?

I'd probably not have noticed, but then I run a 1280*1024 screen res with my browser (currently) at about... 700*1000.

As for the side point of BBC's rebranding and expansion, I don't really care. I get pissed off when they create an 'asian channel' because they haven't done a 'pissed off, arsey white channel'... maybe the Daily Mail has it covered... *shrug*

Sod it... other than the Simpsons (soon going to C4), TOTP2 and Buffy (soon to C4?) I only seem to watch Channel 4 now.

They even seem to have ditched the roof jumper. *sulk*
posted by twine42 at 6:09 AM on February 19, 2003


I don't really care. I get pissed off when they create an 'asian channel' because they haven't done a 'pissed off, arsey white channel'

Most of the BBC is a 'pissed off, arsey white channel'. Not as pissed off as Fox News, but still. It is.
posted by tapeguy at 6:28 AM on February 19, 2003


It looks the same to me.

Found an interesting story, though:

"It is a non-culture, a non-civilisation, just a way of life"
French critic Phillipe Rogier on American culture (he blaims Hollywood for stupid French children)

Hehehe
posted by cx at 6:46 AM on February 19, 2003


Personally, I hope they plan to integrate that photo of Robert Mugabe into the interface...those glasses are amazing! I'm thinking of maybe something along the lines of a "clippy" type of avatar for the site...

Anyways, i've said it before and i'll say it again...some of the neatest widgets and good online news design, I think, is at the International Herald Tribune site...
posted by tpl1212 at 6:47 AM on February 19, 2003


twine42: Isn't it a total sh*t that BBC2 can't seem to get past Season 2 of The Simpsons? Ever since I ditched Sky a year ago I've ended up watching the first two seasons about twice over.

I'd be extremely happy with the licence fee if the BBC bought in some more decent US shows instead of creating new crap like BBC3, Trust, and 30 minute episodes of 'Marion and Geoff' (which I used to like when it was shorter).
posted by wackybrit at 6:49 AM on February 19, 2003


It seems quite an unbalanced design to me, not quite sure what the problem is - maybe the way the gray bar mucks up the 3-column layout. I also get the feeling there's not enough to separate different segments (either whitespace or little lines).

The HTML is, as someone mentioned, tag soup. Not closing paragraph tags is a certain indicator of unseen sloppiness elsewhere, for a start.

They're still using that bloody java ticker, which slows down page loading on any browser not using the microsoft VM.

It also seems that there's less news linked from the front page than before.. if so, that's bad, because I can never be arsed to click through all the different sections.


Not that I really mind, because I don't pay a license fee anyway so I'm getting this (not to mention the wireless) for free.
posted by cell at 7:04 AM on February 19, 2003


It's pretty ordinary; the one they just changed from was nicer. The little world map is cluttered and confusing, especially compared to the IHT's elegant one.

I'm not sure why the (Verdana?) "Updated every minute of every day" tagline has to be a graphic.

The clunky old-school coding style is pretty disappointing, considering the recent trend of other major news sites adopting tableless layouts. The "lite" version of ESPN's recently redesigned site is tableless, too. (Although, ironically, it has a completely gratiuitous gigantic header graphic with an inaccurate message.)
posted by kirkaracha at 7:12 AM on February 19, 2003


wackybrit : I couldn't have told you which series it is, but yes it does.
posted by twine42 at 7:36 AM on February 19, 2003


metaxa: sorry. it was a flippant comment, not at all intended to attack you or your post. when i first started coming around to metafilter, there was a LOT of web design discussion. though i've never been much of a participant in those (couldn't design my way out of a paper bag!) i must say it's been a refreshing read compared to all the iraqbushwardeathpoliticsfilter stuff. thanks for posting it.
posted by quonsar at 7:38 AM on February 19, 2003


I'd be extremely happy with the licence fee if the BBC bought in some more decent US shows

BBC2 and Channel 4 do have all the decent ones. For the rest, see Sky 1.
posted by Summer at 7:39 AM on February 19, 2003


quonsar: hey, no worries, dude!
posted by metaxa at 8:22 AM on February 19, 2003


I hated it when I first saw it, but I guess that's just because it's different, the old design has been around so long, you knew where everything was.

It seems quite an unbalanced design to me, not quite sure what the problem is - maybe the way the gray bar mucks up the 3-column layout.
That is my main problem with it, the bar leads your eye away from the extra news items below to some crappy fashion quiz.

It also seems that there's less news linked from the front page than before.
I'm pretty sure it's got the same amount as news on the front page as before the redesign.

I'd be extremely happy with the licence fee if the BBC bought in some more decent US shows.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (new comedy from Seinfeld co-creator Larry David) coming to BBC4 next week. I guess it will be on terrestrial soon too.
posted by chill at 8:56 AM on February 19, 2003


What I don't like is the way items spread over two columns. Before, I could scan straight down. Now I have to go down, then back up and across.

Grrr.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:26 AM on February 19, 2003


The news pages are are so not validating.

On the redesign FAQ they say "It is almost impossible to produce pages with a consistent look across all browsers - especially ones that are more than three or four years old." but some pages break pretty hard on netscape 4.x - there's gotta be a way to fix that.
posted by panopticon at 11:12 AM on February 19, 2003


I hate it. I find the format very displeasing on the eye.
posted by Flitcraft at 1:34 PM on February 19, 2003


I'm surpised no ones mentioned that the issues of redesigning the news.bbc site is well covered in Usability: The Site Speaks for Itself, which has a chapter on metafilter written by Mathowie.
posted by X-00 at 1:48 PM on February 19, 2003


some of the neatest widgets and good online news design, I think, is at the International Herald Tribune site

Bleurgh. I hate how their custom page widgets break the back button.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:40 PM on February 19, 2003


Don't like it a bit. They did have these interesting sections in the right column but those seemed to vanish... or at least, I can't find them.
posted by StormBear at 7:19 PM on February 19, 2003


« Older Site Mirror....  |  Comixpedia... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments