I write thousands of words every day for BBC News, not to mention emails, Twitter, Facebook and other written media.
The vast majority of what I write is news published without a by-line – the every day stories of life in a small island. Read More
If you look at the new mobile site you will feel as at home with the design and structure as you would if you were to look at the web version or even look at it on a tablet – and this is just an early tech preview.
But it isn’t just the news website that has been given a refresh, the radio pages are changing, the food page is changing and the homepage is the big one to change – looking VERY familiar to anyone used to the new look BBC homepage.
Kate Milner, mobile product manager for BBC News said the new mobile news site was designed to work to the device it is being viewed from.
She said in a blog post: “Now when you browse the mobile site, what you see will be tailored to the device you have in your hand, for example the way you move around the news sections and the number of images you see.”
Eleni Sharp, product manager of the BBC mobile Homepage said one in seven of visitors to bbc.co.uk were now coming from a mobile platform.
She said the role of the homepage was to bring together all the different areas of the BBC and showcase the absolute best of BBC content.
Personally I think the various mobile changes are a good first step and an innovative move as mobile web moves to dominate. Although a you still can’t do better than a solid app – if only the BBC would enable Downloading in the iPlayer App.
Even the smallest of changes to a high profile website can be a big deal, especially when that website is owned by the BBC – then any change can lead to high praise and rabbid hatred – often within the same comment thread.
The rationale as defined by the poster (LoopZilla) says:
bit.ly, snurl, tinyurl are used by the BBC and many others. What doesn’t the BBC have its own short URL service?
The basic concept behind it seem to be that as the BBC increasingly uses services like Twitter (and those services become popular with the BBCs audience) and other such systems that involve creating content in a minimum of characters – making shorter urls available will become more important.
there are many a move taking place within the BBC to standardise URLs introducing PIPs and codes – BBC News and Sport already have them – /programmes and iPlayer share them and the new /music uses standard codes as well.
So the question is – would it be any stretch of the imagination for the BBC to introduce its own short url service with a BBC domain name instead of using a commercial one that could do any number of things that might bring the BBC brand into distripute without warning.
Short URL services are only of any use on micro-blogging platforms like Twitter, within Facebook updates or when sending Instant Messages.
Other than that you’d be just as well using the full URL. I mean on a blog you’d (in the post or in the comments) you could just as easily create a quick link with a word or two to send someone to a website.
On this blog I offer a TinyURL version of every story – for example the post on the new Being Human series has the full URL:
But can also be accessed here:
A comment from Derivadow on the Idea Store post suggests that short urls are NOT a good thing as they break Google Juice.
URL shortning serivces are evil, because they break the web and harm your google juice. A much better soultion is to design short urls in the first instance.
I’m not sure I understand why people don’t like URLs – they are what makes the web, services that try to replace them (eg DOI) or services that provide another level of indirection and therefore a single point of failure cause fractures in the fabric of the web. Don’t do it people!
To a certain extent that makes sense – but if the story lives in one place (at the full URL) with the short URL available using the same code it will still break the Google Juice – but does it really matter for the BBC?
In fact is Google Juice REALLY that important? Surely what is equally important is getting as many people as possible to see your content – if someone sends it to their 10 thousand friends on Twitter – that would be a big boost to anybody.
It would be interesting for the BBC to offer short url’s for some of their news stories and it shouldn’t be THAT difficult really – the code to do this isn’t exactly ground breaking.
For news you could just use the same code already in place.
So the page could exist at:
But have an alternative URL at
In fact a link to an iPlayer video could exist at:
Dot IM is the domain for Isle of Man and is already owned by the BBC and not in active use.
The examples above use a folder like letter to show what area of the site it comes from – but if the codes are really unique that shouldn’t really be necessary.
The iPlayer example could just as easily be: http://bbc.cim/boogndt1.
If the app was built properly it could also be extended to those sites without unique codes (where the journalist writes the filename). At the time you create the story you’d also create the short code by giving it an ID (that was matched against the database to make sure it wasn’t already in use.
So this story on BBC Jersey:
http://bbc.im/jcivpart – or to make it more forumulaic could be date and creation based so http://bbc.im/09010625
Oh and the short url service I set up is gtfa.eu (get the flip away you). Oh and while you’re at it – this could be a useful plugin to install: http://www.longurlplease.com/
The BBC has long been the beacon of inspiration for many a person in all aspects of the creative industry.
The BBC introduces a genre of programming and other TV networks take that genre on in their own way.
The BBC introduces a style of web interface and very quickly other sites start to introduce elements of that design style and language.
Then again some take the basic concept for what it is (a great example of user interface and interactivity design) and does it in their own way.
And then again still – some copy a bit of both – the elements themselves, the design style AND the navigation, interaction structure.
The latest site I’ve noticed doing just that came to me in the form of a television channel recommendation from my father in law.
Its an Iranian English language news channel called Press TV and its web presence bears a remarkable resemblance to the BBC news site.
You can see it at http://presstv.ir
The left hand navigation is the most obvious – the gray bar with red line at the end to show the area you’re on, then when you move to a section with sub-indexes it drops down in exactly the same way the one on news.bbc.co.uk does.
The actual index area is almost identical to the generic BBC news online index and the story page is layed out almost identically as well.
In fact the even the social bookmarking links are more or less the same as on BBC News.
Now the site isn’t identical in every way – the right hand navigation is very different, the top and bottom layouts are very different and not every index uses that style.
But the basic structure is close enough to the BBC site than can be put aside as pure coincidence.
However, this is where some would get all indignant and cry foul play – personally I think its a good thing.
There are so many sites online with piss poor user interface design that when something clearly works – I think it should be embraced and used across the board.
OK so PressTV.ir uses a similar colour scheme and layout – but if they can’t take it from a public service broadcaster who can they – share and share alike and in turn make the world wide web a less confusing place.