BBC Overhauling Its Website For ‘Swipability’

Expect to see more of this. The BBC is redesigning its website to take account of how users are now “swiping” using touchscreen devices.

The programme began under new future media director Ralph Rivera’s regime on Wednesday with a homepage redesign beta that includes scrolling carousels of featured content.

“The beta provides a first glimpse of core design principles that will underpin the reshaped BBC Online, which take into account changing user behaviours including the preference for ‘swiping’ through content – increasingly intuitive given the rise of touch-screen smart phones and tablets,” the BBC says.

“It is envisaged that these principles will be reflected across the evolving products of BBC Online, and pave the way for a graphically-rich London 2012 Olympics digital offer.”

The new decoupage effect is rather atypical for what has always been a rigid, and is a little jarring, giving a disorienting, bare-bones look and feel.

With drawers that slide out to reveal more content in situ, rather than at the end of a linked page, the new homepage borrows much from both “apps” and the appified HTML5/Dynamic HTML paradigms.

Though they can be pressed, none of these fixtures can actually be “swiped”, however, even on touchscreen devices.

“When we looked at the homepage and asked audiences what they thought about it, it became clear that we could make the page work harder to showcase more of the BBC’s output on air, on TV and online,” the BBC says.

The changes will affect the BBC homepage in the UK only; the BBC will need to work with BBC Worldwide on any redevelopment of got its last redesign in 2010.

The BBC spent £199.3 million on its BBC Online service in 2009/10, according to its annual report – 12 percent more than the previous year. That means BBC Online cost £0.67 per user per month, or 5.6 percent of the license fee.

In this redesign, out goes earlier promises of personalisation, which haven’t been well adopted. The site is now more slimline in line with a 25 percent BBC Online budget cut.