Reimagining The BBC Homepage

We provoked the BBC to re-think their homepage with some original and creative editorial formats.

A juicy, editorially led problem. The BBC is one of the world’s most important broadcasters, and have an online reach of over 10 million people every single week. To bring this audience the most value possible, BBC’s editorial and design teams are dedicated to finding new and exciting ways to connect people to BBC content, old and new. As part of an internal research project to re-launch the bbc.co.uk homepage, the BBC asked us to help them think differently about how they were using their homepage, and inspire new formats and processes around content and delivery. A juicy, editorially led problem we felt brilliantly placed to deliver due to our link with publishers, It's Nice That.
Collaborative development. Working collaboratively with different departments of the BBC in London and Manchester, we defined two areas we felt were most interesting to develop. The first was serendipity — serendipity in how we serve content, and how we link seemingly disparate archive content together to give it new life. The second area was personality — how might we bring a stronger sense of personality or personalities to the homepage and content. To keep things as accessible and energetic with the two teams, we worked in an illustrative way - working from loose what if’s to more complex wireframes as things progressed.
Speculative formats. The outcome of our development work was a number of speculative homepage editorial formats, two of which — called ‘In Five Clicks’ and ‘Moments’— we developed into prototypes.
'In Five Clicks' set out to take homepage visitors on a broad and surprising trip of the BBC online archive in just five clicks. By taking two totally disparate pieces of content, and linking them via BBC content, we created a playful way to educate, inform and entertain users. Shown above are a few example journeys created entirely using BBC content.
'Moments' took the form of a rollover banner and playfully asked questions that were contextually relevant to when the visitor was viewing the homepage, and what was going on in the world. Kind of like a more personable version of The Microsoft paperclip.
Thinking towards the future. Our final workshop with the BBC teams saw us introduce the ‘Moments’ and ‘In Five Clicks’ prototypes to the wider editorial and design teams. After which we handed everything over to be tweaked, trailed and adapted to work towards the eventual homepage relaunch, in 2015.

We entered this project looking for some provocation, ahead of a radical re-think of the BBC Homepage. A few months and a lot of work later, we’ve got our provocation – and new ideas, and even new ways of thinking. All of this will stand us in good stead as we look to create an ever-more valuable service for our audiences.

Managing Editor of BBC Online

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