November 7, 2001 4:29 AM   Subscribe

The BBC completely re-designs and re-tags it's site (in the same basic colour block style everyone is using, including me). Good, Bad, Ugly?
posted by MintSauce (40 comments total)
Me likey.
posted by slater at 4:39 AM on November 7, 2001

Heh, and I was just there a while ago

Well, I do like it actually, although there's a bit to much on the page, IMO (and it doesn't fit in my browser window without resizing).

Actually this whole 'overlinking' is starting to annoy me. I'd rather click through a couple obvious links then search for something on a huge grid with hundreds of other individual links.
posted by delmoi at 4:41 AM on November 7, 2001

I kinda like it, yeah it's the pretty plain, but overall it works for me. It's not something that would require re-learning how the site works (although I am not a regular visitor, so I don't know how the changes will affect the regular users.) I think the world service news section is still not updated to the new layout.
posted by riffola at 4:42 AM on November 7, 2001

The colors remind of some bath towels my parents had.
posted by jennyb at 4:45 AM on November 7, 2001

nice, would have been a nice touch if they had've changed the whole site throughout aswell, but they may come later. Two thumbs excellent
posted by monkeyJuice at 4:45 AM on November 7, 2001

I hate the new dumbed-down look and the general harry-potterish tone. I prefer the old pooterish BBC. Thankfully, the "My BBC" feature(here's mine) is still very customizable, although that new header ruins the effect. What a shocker!
(Retired colonel, been using their website since Mafeking)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:48 AM on November 7, 2001

I think it looks awful: I quite liked the old version. Anyway, it's all a matter of taste or not.

FWIW MintSauce I just went and looked at your page and it looks much better than the BBC: dunno where you get the comparison?

The overlinking thing has annoyed me since Yahoo started doing it way back when. All those corporate "portals" just make me click away violently. I'll read their stuff if I follow a link in from somewhere else but I'm heavily allergic to the front pages. Ick.
posted by walrus at 4:48 AM on November 7, 2001

my favorite color is gray... half of my sweaters are gray... my site is gray... i like the new design. but here are my problems with this design:

1. obviously, the portal-esque category listing they have. i'd rather they fill that space with news/article summaries and pictures.
2. the menu at the top (categories, tx, etc.) is waaaay too crammed. it makes the search section look akward.
3. i always hope for moe liquid designs... but i guess i'll always have to deal with the white space on the right side until everyone gets better browsers.
posted by lotsofno at 4:58 AM on November 7, 2001

It feels a bit drab and dry and could use some colors. I also question some of the layout choices too. That main promo is pretty damn large and pushes what you would think would be important content (news/sports) on such a site over into a corner. They also have touched upon my mixed feelings about underlining/not underlining links, but I'll leave that alone. I'm sure they will make some changes after they review usage logs and feedback.
posted by brian at 5:10 AM on November 7, 2001

Walrus: Not my current site, other (unfinished) sites I've been working on. (Which, after your comments I may rethink .. again .. heh.)
posted by MintSauce at 5:18 AM on November 7, 2001

Just a thought: aren't we an ungrateful lot? To wit: the BBC is free and well nigh essential and still we're picky and oh-so-difficult to please. Or perhaps, perversely, it's a sign of love. (I probably wouldn't be living in a democracy right now if it weren't for the BBC World Service. Honest.)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:20 AM on November 7, 2001

Thank heavens. Anything is an improvement over the last one...but do realize that I'm not saying much...
posted by pooldemon at 5:30 AM on November 7, 2001

Miguel .... it's a sign of love. I wish people loved my sites enough to feed back on them, but they don't. I'll just get the violin ...

MintSauce ... don't redesign just on my account. I'm a bit wierd, and use notepad because I don't like the overcomplicated interfaces on dreamweaver etc.
posted by walrus at 5:45 AM on November 7, 2001

its a very clean functional design, but yeah, a little bland - while its easy to scan the text, they could of made more use of color to develop spatial memory

a little bit of 'liquid' would of gone a long way too - i think the layout would of been nice at 1024x768 if they had let it stretch (increasing the font size with ie5 mac tends to break stuff apart a bit, but with not unpleasant results...)

possibly looks better in lynx than in a graphical browser :)
posted by sawks at 5:49 AM on November 7, 2001

Super ultra mega plain. I hate it.
posted by fleener at 6:21 AM on November 7, 2001

at least they didn't redesign their news page.
posted by panopticon at 6:28 AM on November 7, 2001

"aren't we an ungrateful lot?"

Oh yes, when someone asks the Metafilter crowd, many of whom are web designers or media people, for a show of hands on the BBC website design, we should all be sure to mention how wonderful their radio station is. To do otherwise would just be completely improper. Points to Miguel for showing us up as shallow and selfish nerds.

Sure, new BBC web design, blah blah blah, but what about their radio station? Isn't that wonderful? Why aren't people mentioning that?
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:33 AM on November 7, 2001

Frankly, as the voice of democracy during all those dark years of ... well, I guess it was over 50 years ago, some war or something. Anyway I guess on that basis they get a free pass forever. It's a wonderful redesign! It can do no wrong! It slices! It dices! It sparks a rebirth of the human spirit!
posted by dhartung at 6:38 AM on November 7, 2001

at least they didn't redesign their news page.

Didn't they? Same look, but I thought it was more liquid before. Now the width conforms to the new gray bar at top.
posted by transient at 6:40 AM on November 7, 2001

amazing to me how no one critiquing such a site for design (including their own designers, obviously) thinks much about font size. Sure, bigger fonts don't look as nice, but that page is hell to read through.
posted by mattpfeff at 6:41 AM on November 7, 2001

I have mixed feelings about the site.

The color scheme is actually pleasant to me, but I also see that they bypassed a great opportunity to really exploit color here. The things that stand out to me are the weather box's graphics, and the map of the world down in the lower right. The rest blends in, even though it's all neatly categorized. Not distinct enough.

In addition, I'm really tired of the portal concept - throwing 1,000 links onto a page. I'd guess a reason why the links aren't underlined is because it'd be pretty ugly aeshetically. (I just tweaked the style sheet locally and while the underlines are a'plenty, they're not horrendous....)

And finally, the lack of liquidity is a sticking point - users hate to scroll. But then, that's why you've got the main story, the TV & Radio ads, and the Communicate box where they are. As mattpfeff points out, too, the fonts are pretty small. I upped them in IE and it basically kills the aesthetic design of the page.
posted by hijinx at 6:47 AM on November 7, 2001

Point taken, y6y6y6. I got carried away; was way off topic. Sorry.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:54 AM on November 7, 2001

transient... I've always remembered the BBC News website being a static width.
posted by TacoConsumer at 7:25 AM on November 7, 2001

blah blah blah, but what about their radio station? Isn't that wonderful? Why aren't people mentioning that?

Maybe it's because they don't broadcast to us in North America any more. (Sorry, self-link, but it's relevant....)

(And yes, their radio station is wonderful. I miss it.)
posted by geneablogy at 7:45 AM on November 7, 2001

Bad: Opera has some trouble displaying everything accurately and quickly.

I don't care whether BBC's site is pretty or not, as long as the design doesn't strain my eyes.
posted by Witold at 8:06 AM on November 7, 2001

The page linked to is kind of plain and portal-ly, but it is the main BBC portal, after all (which they say is now called BBCi) The news page looks the same, except they added a "BBCi" toolbar at the top and a little IHT-style world map on the left. I think for the function of the site the plain design works well. The Beeb is uaually not thought of as cutting-edge.
posted by sixdifferentways at 8:25 AM on November 7, 2001

ack! For a minute there I thought that was the BBC NEWS site and nearly tossed my cookies.

For a portal it's pleasant, nice color scheme - though incredibly overloaded with data as many of them are. If I were used to the page I would find it incredibly easy to get around.

Under "Categories" I think it was goofy to have "BBC News"...even though it was listed alphabetically under "News". I mean, who else's news would it be?
posted by xochi at 9:00 AM on November 7, 2001

Under "Categories" I think it was goofy to have "BBC News"

I think that's branding. They're in competition with "CNN News", "Fox News" etc.
posted by liam at 9:31 AM on November 7, 2001

The "complete redesign" doesn't include the BBC Cymru pages where the only change has been to add an English-only nav-bar to an otherwise Welsh-only front page. Grrr.

MC: the BBC is free .

For you, maybe.

Your license fee and how we spend it.
posted by ceiriog at 10:08 AM on November 7, 2001

It's poo.

The font is so small in my Netscape (on IRIX) that I can barely read it.

In IE on the Win side the grey boxes really get lost with all that text. I happen to have a very text-heavy site, and can totally see the benifits of not overloading on the graphics, but this is just ugly.

I fail to see any 'style' what-so-ever in this design. I my mind, that makes it 'bad.' However, I have noticed this more and more with major sites (especially news sites.)

I hope they fix the accesibility issues quickly, and before they trasition the whole site (which I would assume they are going to do.)
posted by epoh at 10:13 AM on November 7, 2001

Oh, but BBC Wales gets the posh new look.

As one of the monitor impared (640x480, baby), I prefer the old, liquid version. I suppose I should be glad they haven't got around to "improving" BBC Cymru yet.

(Bloody Welsh, never satisfied.)
posted by ceiriog at 10:15 AM on November 7, 2001

Actually, now that widescreen TV broadcasts have been going a while, the BBC is thinking of giving old 4:3 viewers just the left-hand part of the picture...
posted by kerplunk at 10:33 AM on November 7, 2001

Doesn't it remind you (a lot) of the look?
posted by kchristidis at 1:41 PM on November 7, 2001

Can't help wondering: Was this done by the same people who did, or just by people who really like
posted by fraying at 3:26 PM on November 7, 2001

posted by feelinglistless at 3:57 PM on November 7, 2001

Fraying/Ceiriog - Done by some people who really like, one of whom was bloody Welsh... and is far from satisfied yet... ;-)

Thanks for all the comments, positive and otherwise, guys...
posted by blackbeltjones at 4:33 PM on November 7, 2001

It's crap because, like too many other sites, it has hard-coded widths.

Let _me_ decide at what width _I_ want to browse.

Or take _your_ crap HTML off of _my_ internet. Naah!

Nos da.
posted by godidog at 6:23 PM on November 7, 2001

Breathtaking. Groundbreaking.
::Pastel pablum on 72 dpi paper.::
posted by Opus Dark at 9:54 PM on November 7, 2001

I think the visually low-key, multi-link portal approach makes sense for the outer layers of this enormous site. If you click deeper, you'll find all the category sub-sites (Entertainment, Science/Nature, the regional sites, etc.) are far more colourful and less busy. They show pleasing degree of variation within the overall brand and page templates, in fact.

The only thing I have an issue with is the fixed width -- a liquid layout would've allowed them to use a larger font size. But would've been 100x more difficult to implement.

I'm frequently surprised by the amount of opposition the multi-link (portal) pages get. It's all very well to expect fewer options, but that's also tacitly expecting it to be tailored to your particular interest, something that the homepage of something like the BBC can't exactly do. People don't complain of information overload on the front page of a broadsheet newspaper. The key to making it manageable is clear visual grouping of related categories of information, for which one oft-used approach is the coloured-block layout.
posted by snarfois at 1:24 AM on November 8, 2001

thursday november the 8th in the morning
the new design falls over!!! he he he
posted by monkeyJuice at 2:20 AM on November 8, 2001

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