The BBC has just launched the beta version of its new mobile site which, like the web version, allows users to personalise the content they view.
It's a welcome development, as the current BBC mobile site is a little basic, and the new version provides access to more of the corporation's content. I've been taking a look at the new version...
The general look and feel of the mobile site closely matches the look of the main website, which was revamped around a year ago. This now makes the mobile site more appealing to look at, while still keeping it simple enough to work well on mobiles.
The customisable homepage is there, which is a useful feature for mobile users, as having only the content you want presented to you can save time, especially on slower mobile connections. It also has the advantage of allowing users to view localised content specific to your area, including news, weather and TV schedules:
If you search for 'BBC' on your mobile browser, it now takes you to the mobile version automatically, which is the more useful one when you're on the move. You do have the option of viewing the full desktop version if you prefer, but the BBC homepage is pretty cluttered and difficult to deal with on even the biggest mobile screens.
The site has also been optimised for different mobile devices to provide a decent user experience across the broadest possible range of handsets. I'm testing it out on an iPhone, and it looks fine on this device, though I can't vouch for other mobiles. The BBC
The basic homepage and menu has been kept simple, with any unnecessary navigation and visual decoration removed, so users can easily scroll up and down and view headlines:
As was the case when the BBC introduced the beta homepage a year ago, the rest of the site does not match the look and feel, and users will stumble upon some pages that are less mobile-friendly than others, like this one:
Once the mobile site comes out of beta, I would like to see more content available, as well links to related news stories on article pages. Also, for users with touch screen phones, more space between links would be useful to avoid selecting the wrong one.
Overall though, an improvement on what has gone before, and the BBC is working on adding more functionality when the service comes out of beta at the end of March.