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.