Tag Archives: Internet blog

BBC launches new blogs homepage to ease navigation

The BBC today launched its newly designed blogs homepage, designed to ease navigation across the site’s almost 300 blogs.

Changes include new sections for interesting quotes, a ‘latest on blogs’ feature and ‘my recently viewed’ for greater personalisation.

The site is currently in Beta.

Read more here.

BBC Internet Blog: ‘Microblogging – the Editorial Policy Meeting’

Last week Journalism.co.uk reported on the BBC’s stance on social media use – in particular of Twitter – by its journalists; and the sometimes blurry divide between personal and professional use.

Writing on the BBC Internet Blog, Roo Reynolds, portfolio executive for social media, BBC Vision, details discussions within the corporation last week about microblogging and editorial policy.

Some very sound points were made:

– offer ‘principles and guidance’, education on the risks and dangers for journalists, but not set of fixed rules of how journalists can use social media;

– “[D]on’t say anything you wouldn’t say on air” – via technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147).

The BBC’s policy’s on microblogging are due an update, says Reynolds:

“The editorial guidelines will receive an update to give clearer advice on micro-blogging, but it won’t be a clampdown. The guidelines will continue to grow and evolve as new ways to interact with our users are discovered, constantly building on a foundation of the BBC’s values and helping people apply a healthy dose of common sense.”

Full post at this link…

Erik Huggers at last week’s MIP 2008 Conference

This comes from the distant past of last week, but this interview with Erik Huggers, (the man who should be at the forefront of everything technology at the BBC, given his job title) is worth a look and was flagged up on the BBC’s Internet blog yesterday.

Huggers is the BBC’s director of future media and technology and he spoke at last week’s MIP 2008 conference.

In his speech he looked at:

“The challenges facing broadcasters as the pace of change accelerates, and how they must evolve to ensure a consistent experience across all platforms – without compromising quality.”

In the interview below he talks to journalist Kate Bukley.


Erik Huggers, BBC: the MIPCOM 2008 interview from James Martin on Vimeo.

BBC offers aggregation service with Topics pages

Following the review of bbc.co.uk in which the BBC Trust criticised the lack of internal navigation on the site, the Beeb has launched a beta aggregation service.

BBC Topics, which will have automatically updated pages, will cover people, countries or subjects.

“So topics uses a variety of search techniques to create feeds of the latest BBC content from news articles, programmes available to watch on iPlayer, weather forecasts, news videos, country profiles and information from the TV and radio schedules. BBC editors then add in hand-picked articles and features from around the BBC and other websites,” said Matthew McDonnell, portfolio executive, search and navigation, internet group, BBC Future Media and Technology, on the BBC Internet Blog.

The pages will present everything the BBC has on a certain topic, whether it is in or out of the news, McDonnell added.

Topics covered will be partly chosen in relation to the site’s search logs, as well as by what content is available.

Feeds to the pages from external sources are also in development, according to the blog post, which will please the Trust, who said the site should also be acting as a guide for users to outside content.

Only a few topics are being trialled so far, including China, David Cameron, NATO and dogs, but more will be added in the coming months, as will more forms of BBC content.

BBC joins OpenID Foundation

The BBC is to join the OpenID foundation – the body behind the system where website users can have one username across different participating sites.

The decision, announced by Jem Stone, portfolio executive for the BBC Future Media and Technology (FM&T) department’s social media group, on the BBC Internet blog, puts the corporation alongside Google and Yahoo, who have already adopted the scheme.

Similarly Telegraph.co.uk announced plans to introduce OpenID at the beginning of the year.

However, the system will not be immediately available on bbc.co.uk, Stone explained.

“However, at this stage, and wary of being named and shamed here, this doesn’t mean that we are going to immediately be offering OpenIDs on bbc.co.uk or even promising to do so. We would want to make absolutely sure that this is right for users, is secure and can be implemented properly across all the BBC’s many services.”

Stone’s thoughts are backed up by Ian Forrester, senior producer with the FM&T, who said in an email:

“If we were to do OpenID it would have to be pretty joined up, otherwise people would loose faith in the technology and have bad experiences. This is something I hear about some of the other (can anyone say on the bandwagon) OpenID providers.”

Goodbye pop-up player – BBC to embed all video

image of bbc’s flash video player

The BBC is to phase out the pop-up player that it currently uses to host the majority of its audio and video content in favour of a newly developed embedded Flash player.

The new player has been developed jointly by the journalism and iPlayer teams, so says the BBC Internet blog, as a replacement for the pop-up which relies on using Real or Windows Media formatted video.

Use of the new payer has so far been limited, but over the coming weeks embedded video is expected to become the norm.

It’s hardly surprising, last year Pete Clifton, head of BBC News Interactive, talked to Journalism.co.uk about the experimental use of embedded players across the BBC News online.

During that interview Clifton said that initial tests had shown up to a 40 per cent conversion rate, where people reading stories were also watching the embedded video.

In its standalone player format, he added, the conversion rate was about two per cent. Channel 4 News found about the same.

But he also touched on a another significant point; video embedded into stories, he added, was proving to be popular with audiences as these videos tended to dispense with the traditional news ‘package’ format, instead just showing the footage necessary to enhance the text story sitting beneath the embedded player.

Getting this right is as important as changing the technology to a more user-friendly approach.

So it’s win-win. Better standard of content and technology for the user, fewer headaches for the developers having to reformat all the video

The Crown Jewels indeed.

BBC Internet Blog launches podcast

Today sees the first outing of a podcast from the BBC’s Internet Blog.

As announced by BBC blogs editor Nick Reynolds, the 30-minute download on ‘BBC Blogs as accountability’ features reactions to reader’s comments and a report of the workings of BBC Backstage – the BBC’s developers network.

New BBC homepage

For those who have not yet sneaked a peek, this is the beta version of the new BBC homepage (thanks to Richard Titus on the BBC Internet blog for the tip).

bbc home page

The new page allows you to personalise and localise what you want to see. Most of your regular and favourite stuff from can be brought to the page so it’s easy to get at.

The little widgets that all the content sits in are also moveable and adaptable, you can set the number and type of stories – for example – that you want to see in each news and blog section.

It also has a nifty little clock and a whopping great ad left top (as always) promoting Auntie’s latest big thing.

But you can’t import feeds from elsewhere into the page, all the content on display has to be BBC content rather than your favourite stuff from other sites and blogs. NYTimes.com’s personalisation feature remains tops in this regard (If only they could add a web mail widget, then we’d be laughing).

The new Beeb page seems very much about making its content more accessible, rather than making the page a necessary ‘one-stop destination’.

Richard Titus is acting head of user experience and design at the BBC, he wrote about the new page:

“From a conceptual point of view, the widgetization adopted by Facebook, iGoogle and netvibes weighed strongly on our initial thinking.

“We wanted to build the foundation and DNA of the new site in line with the ongoing trend and evolution of the Internet towards dynamically generated and syndicable content through technologies like RSS, atom and xml.

“This trend essentially abstracts the content from its presentation and distribution, atomizing content into a feed-based universe. Browsers, devices, etc therefore become lenses through which this content can be collected, tailored and consumed by the audience.

“This concept formed one of the most important underlying design and strategic elements of the new homepage. The approach has the added benefit of making content more accessible, usable, and more efficient to modify for consumption across a wider array of networks and devices.”