The wibbly wobbley web

31 01 2011

Back from my Christmas sabbatical and suitably refreshed, I come across this article in the Guardian alerting us to the fact the BBC has decided to cut its online budget by a quarter.

BBC logo

Barred from the beeb

Good.

For an organisation with such an amazing opportunity in terms of staffing and resources, the beeb’s online content has always been a big let-down for me. The only section that I go back to on a regular basis is their online recipe finder and the (admittedly brilliant) iPlayer. Both of these are essentially methods to catch up on content from TV shows, so what does the BBC online service offer us that goes over and above this service?

There is the news, of course, but the neccessities of impartiality and breadth of coverage mean that those looking for a more in-depth form of analysis are seldom catered for. As most of the broadsheets have dramatically raised their games, the BBC service has stood still, indeed many argue that it has gone backwards. These concerns are not new,  but as the budget cuts begin to bite they become ever more relevant.

The design of the BBC’s site is horrible, akin to an explosion in a widget factory. Whatever happened to less is more? When they spend so much time on accessibility of their content, you’d think a bit of design nous would also be applied. They have allowed the branding of their ‘larger’ sections to dominate over site design, so that when you visit the TV, Radio or News sections you have to deal with a completely different information architecture from that on the Sport and Weather sections. No way this can be justified, unless they assume that no one user will want to visit more than one area of the site – in which case, why bundle it all together in the first place?

The fact that www.bbc.com pointed to a chemical manufacturer’s website until fairly recently shows that Auntie Beeb were not exactly early adopters of the interworld. Having failed to catch up before their budget cuts, this has to go down as a wasted opportunity.

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21 09 2011
Beeb fail « Forms and functions

[…] the TV channels and increase viewing figures. If this is true, then it’s a great shame; as I’ve pointed out before, the BBC has a great opportunity to provide us with a superb web service, but it seems unlikely to […]

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