BBC News: you win some, you lose some

BBC online may have just saved itself.  For iPhone users at least.

Earlier this month, BBC News launched its new offering.  While the information architecture of the site didn’t undergo a change, the navigation into that information architecture was turned upside down.  Side menus were moved to the top, while the navigational elements within the body of the homepage were unrecognisable.  And the site sucks on an iPhone where the previous site was easily navigable.  My review of the changes can be found here.

As is often the case with such wholesale changes, people reacted badly.  People don’t like change.  And when it’s something as beloved as the BBC website—an offering that has generated affinity and affection in keeping with its offline brand—the reaction to the change is all the more vociferous.  But usually this reaction calms down as people get used to, nay sometimes begin to prefer, the new offering.  (As an aside, I loved the previous redesign in March 2008 from the moment I set my eyes on it.)

With this change, there has been no such calming.  Three weeks in, the people who I know and trust still don’t like it.  It’s still confusing and unintuitive, and the BBC has ruled out reverting to the previous incarnation.

To address my frustration at the user experience of the site on the iPhone, I downloaded the newly launched BBC News iPhone app.  And I have to say, it’s lovely—at least in comparison to the disgrace that is the website.  And it also addresses head-on the Adobe issue, its video footage being accessible through the application.

But I’m still annoyed with the website from my laptop.  And I can’t see this going away.  And so for the time being, the Guardian will be the source of a greater proportion of my online news absorption.


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