More designs - part four

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 8 June 2006

I've been having a look through the late flurry of entries to the BBC's homepage redesign competition.

Ricardo Couto's "Clean and Useful" entry redesigned the international version of the homepage. Yet more confirmation, if it were needed, that whilst within the BBC the two versions of the page are maintained by different teams and seen as different entities, outside of the Broadcast Centre people treat what they receive at as the BBC's homepage, regardless of whether it is international or domestic. I didn't like the banner area of this design however. The way the tabs on the 'toolbar' were designed seemed to indicate that when selected they would join down into main banner area of the page. It wasn't clear to me how this would work on pages that didn't fall into the strict home / news / sport / languages content demarcation listed there.

The toolbar from Ricardo Couto's 'Clean and Useful' entry

BBC homepage by Cintrao also had an international edition feel about it. I wanted to like it, but I felt that unless I had misunderstood the intended interaction there was too much exposed explanation ('What is BBC podcast?', 'What is RSS?'). I also felt the UI that surrounded the search and edition selection was confusing - did the UK/International buttons apply to the whole page, or the search box directly underneath them?

Confusing search UI on Cintrao's entry

Elsewhere I liked the look and feel of Al Petfield's 'My News, My BBC' version of the promotional space on the page, but the rest of the design was far too long for my liking.

Al Petfield's redesigned promo area

And finally, BBC Boxes by James Cram definitely had the best selection of news and sports stories.

  • Alien visitors 'come in peace'
  • Saddam trial verdict: 'Innocent'
  • Bush declares war on France
  • Bristol Rovers win FA Cup
  • Golf officially 'mind-numbing'
  • USA banned from 2012 Olympics

This is one of a series of posts on currybetdotnet about the BBC's competition
The BBC launches
The BBC's Glass Wall is transparent at last - the designs so far - the designs so far - part two
More entries
More designs - part two
More designs - part three
More designs - part four
Building my homepage

Read more of my articles about working at the BBC

1 Comment

Brilliant analysis so far Martim! Right on the money.

Just quick note about "BBC Homepage by Cintrao".

The entry is really a two-people effort, though entered in Cintrao's name due to the individualized nature of the contest.
You're right about the search ambiguity, of course.
But really we didn't have enough time to correct it.
We didn't "heard" about the competition until the day before the competition closed and the entry was done literally overnight.

And yes, the International and UK buttons were really not related to the search but to the overall content of the web site. Badly placed, I know :-)

I was also aware of the "too much explosed explanation" issue and really it was supposed to be a "open on click" kind of thing where that content would load at the request of the user (like the "Step by Step" on the podcast section which is not exposed).

Alas time waits for no man, and we had to compromise and submit it like it was or risk not submit anything at all.

All in all we really feel happy to have made it to the runners-up, especially considering that it was a 7 or 8 hours of work.

Thank you for your constructive comments.

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