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The New Look BBC News

Today the BBC News has launched its brand new look and with anything associated with a huge web super power like the BBC everyone looks on with interest as to what direction they have taken that can steer the next generation of website design.

I am a regular reader of the BBC News site and it is the site I will read while having my lunch to catch up on current affairs and get my daily dose of news. First impressions of the new site are mixed. I was kind of expecting something amazing, but I’m not sure and I feel that the old site was very good and didn’t really need changing. At the end of the day its a news site and it is there to provide the latest information to the public while upholding a professional image. I’m not sure how much the redesign cost but at the end of the day that’s licence fee payers money so I’d like to see it being well spent.

The old home page looked like this… (taken today from Google’s cache)

bbc news old

As you can see it has the clear left hand navigation with the latest news at the top of the page. The site today looks like this

bbc home new

The biggest change is that they have replaced the left hand navigation with a navigation at the top, which will free up space on the page itself but we all know that top navigations have limitations especially if you need in the future to add in extra sections. What struck me first when I saw it was the enormous heading (or what seemed to be) for the lead story and the dated font that they have used on the home page. Personally I am not keen. On the internal pages which have the full news story on them, they seem to have taken up all of the space saved by moving the navigation by making the font size of the story really big and taking up too much space with the right hand navigation.

The section on the news that I would always go to was the “Most Popular Story” section and this has also changed. The old site had quite a neat and condensed version which didn’t take up a great deal of room on the page, seen below

popular stories old

but the new site seems to have created a huge box for these popular stories with lots of wasted space

most popular new

I’m sure there are lots of people that are raving about the new look site, but I’m still undecided and think they haven’t quite got the cutting edge site design that I was expecting. Time will tell though and I’m sure it will grow on me 🙂

3 Comments

  • Kean Richmond

    I actually like the new design, it’s much better than the recent home page redesign. I had seen some of the early posts about the new design so knew some of what to expect.

    I think the design and layout is overall an improvement but obviously does go against the conventions that the BBC has created online over the past decade. I think this is the major hurdle the BBC will have to overcome.

    The one element I am finding difficult to adjust to is the change in layout of stories on the news category pages, they don’t seem to scan as well as they used to but this may be something that will come in time

  • Iain

    Where is the business case? This feels like change for the sake of change, perhaps someone new has taken over the department and felt the need to make a name for him/her self. The lashings of white space make it feel content-light, which must stick in the throat of the old guard – we are in the final throes of death by dumbing.

  • Ron Smythe

    Having used it for a couple of weeks I have noticed a few things:-

    1. I like the new look.
    2. I dislike using it
    3. I rarely visit BBC news anymore

    They have lost my trade because “looking cool” doesn’t make a website more visitable, doing the job they are paid to do will offer them better results.

    Alexa traffic stats show a drop in readers and those that do visit spend less time now. http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/news.bbc.co.uk

    Lets hope they kick the current designers out and get something a little more current.