Written by Internet

BBC News Homepage

So what are we to make of the new look BBC News homepage that launched this morning?
It’s quite possibly my single most visited site – even more so than the Google homepage since I search from within my toolbar – so I guess it’s always quite a significant change to me when the BBC update it.
I like the use of screen real estate. You tend to find with every website update that the pages get wider and wider as the average user’s screensize increases. But I’d like to think that the space would be used a little more fully.
The top “BBC bar” has a search box and low graphics/accessibility, and that’s it. There’s vast space being wasted, and I find it especially wasteful since it used to contain links to radio and TV directly from that bar. The BBC recently revamped their overall homepage, but I never actually visited that. The news page is my default homepage and I expect to be able to get to the major parts of the BBC’s website from it. Indeed a consistent set of tabs along the top is just useful anyway.
I really miss these.
A lot.
The “BBC News bar” is also full of wasteful space. It contains a single link to the live BBC news feed (e.g. News 24, or Breakfast News) and that’s it. So there are two “wasted” blocks which could contain useful info/links or just reduce the amount of scrolling that you need to do. “Above the fold” is incredibly valuable real estate in newspaper parlance, and it should be on websites too.
The comments to the BBC Editor’s blog highlight that links to Weather are missing. By mid-morning, a link had been restored but like Sport, the link is under “Related BBC sites” which feels very poor.
I’d like to see “full” links to both sport and weather from the main tabs. Sports news is news after all. It’s part of the on-air news programmes and bulletins, so it feels a little as though the news website is disowning it even though sport does seem to warrant three headlines on the right. And what news bulletin doesn’t also include a weather update?
Overall, the front page is a lot more spaced out, but the extra real estate hasn’t been used to provide any more stories or links. Indeed with links removed, it feels that there are actually fewer things to do.
It may be that this is a work in progress and more “bits” will emerge over time – I certainly hope so.