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The BBC has unveiled its new look news website this morning, with a cleaner design and more social media integration the most obvious changes. 

The site has only been live for a few hours, but has already attracted a fair amount of criticism from users. I've been taking a look at the new site... 

This is the old BBC news page:

BBC news site1

And the new version:

bbcnews4

The new page has more white space and a little less clutter than the old version, partly thanks to the fact that the left hand navigational options have gone, replaced by a menu bar at the top of the page. I'm not sure about the new font though. 

The video and live TV content is displayed more prominently on the right hand side of the page, the video is now shown in a larger size, while the site's video content has been gathered together in one page. 

The article pages have had the same treatment, with more white space behind the stories:

bbcnews6

Old article page:

bbc news site 2

Instead of showing related links at the right hand side of the page, the top stories on the site and a box showing current features have been given more prominence. More links have been provided to allow readers to share articles on just about every social network, with Facebook and Twitter the most prominent. 

Links to related articles and outbound links to other news sites are now shown at the foot of the page. This perhaps makes sense, since people will finish the article and want to read more, b

bbcnews7

The new site seems to have divided opinion so far, which is natural for a redesign of such a popular website. Several commentors have picked up on the likeness to the CNN website, and the article pages on CNN are certainly similar

There are 250+ comments on the BBC Editors' Blog, and the majority of them are negative, though opinions via the Twitter hashtag #bbcnewssite are more positive towards the redesign. Stephen Fry likes it anyway... 

Martin Belam has a good round up of the feedback on the new BBC site. 

Graham Charlton

Published 14 July, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (33)

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Teererai Dzinotyiweyi

sorry but the new site is not better than the old one please give us back the old site !! the new site tkes longer to load. it makes me wounder if you considerd people in africa were the internet is much slower than those in the west.

over 6 years ago

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Dan Frydman

Well, I wonder what all that white space is for in the articles.  Pretty obvious that it's for advertising on BBC International - that's why they took out the left hand navigation.

Auntie has to make some money from the web some how...

over 6 years ago

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Jennifer Davis

As your article states, a redesign of this scale on a site with so much traffic is always going to attract a disproportionate amount of criticism.

I think fundamentally, people don't like change! @davelee (a BBC employee) on Twitter complained that people keep saying 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. And I agree with Dave, as websites would never move forward if they waited to break before being updated.

I think the new BBC site design is better, cleaner and just as easy to navigate. People will get used to it, and within a few weeks they'll have forgotten that it was ever any different.

over 6 years ago

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Peter Payne

When will web designers learn:

NOT EVERYONE HAS THE SAME DISPLAY!

That's right! Fixed-width websites are worthless!

Do you have a wide screen monitor? Do you want to occasionally make your browser window thin to fit in other activities on screen?

TOO BAD: Facebook and BBC news don't care. View it THEIR way. Definitely can't borrow Burger King's slogan now.

over 6 years ago

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James C Palmer

I was so insenced at the appauling web design that has gone into the new BBC site that I have created a facebook campaign to counteract the new design completely here http://www.facebook.com/?sk=2361831622#!/group.php?gid=142092742474537. I've even been hassling people to join it in the most personal way! I'm surprised at myself, but your old service was simply superior in every way to the new one. So much so that I gasped, literally out loud in horror at the new service when I saw it. Please do not fall into the trap of the CNN idiots. BBC you are differen't and read for a reason, your website hit hard at the clutter and spacing of other inferior services. I will not rest until the site is returned to its FORMER glory!

Sincerely lost,

James Clephan Palmer

over 6 years ago

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Nicola Hibbert

There's something slightly jarring about the new design.  I can't quite put my finger on what it is though :s

over 6 years ago

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Charles Barsley, Digital Analytics & Optimisation Manager at SelfridgesEnterprise

It's a bold strategy for the BBC to make such a fundamental change to the website seemingly overnight. Other posts I have read in the past emphasis the importance of drip feeding changes so that a site slowly evolves and the users stay familiar with the interface rather than having a jarring change. Although I miss the sidebar I think ultimately the site will remain successful because of the quality of its content.

over 6 years ago

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Cath

That massive gap between news and navigation is horribly off putting and it could benefit from bringing back bullet points on lists of links.

over 6 years ago

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Anthony Burke

Now that News International is charging for the news,  it’s reassuring that you can still get a complete round up of current affairs from a trusted source without having to pay. Admittedly, the Beeb is funded by a license fee, but as an end user, you can get all the latest impartial news on this new, redesigned portal for nothing, The makeover doesn't change this and we will all get use to using the new portal

over 6 years ago

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Anonymous

I hardly dare say this but, I like it.  It's clean, clear, clutter free and fresh.  I thought the old site was trying to do too much on each page.  BBC is a popular target for negative comment and whatever they had done I suspect would have attracted criticism.  The website has always been great and this type of considered revision will ensure it remains that way.

over 6 years ago

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David Donnan

The BBC News website redesign is certainly more of an evolution rather than revolution. It does tick the right boxes when it comes to web design in that there is now more white space, more video and the ability to share news content across more social networking channels than previously.

But in many ways I was expecting more and for it to be more exciting. It remains up for debate whether budget cuts across the BBC had an impact or it simply didn't want to incur the wrath of loyal readers who don't like significant change.  

That said the BBC remains the best news site on the web and, with more sites looking to charge for content, that can only be positive for web surfers everywhere.

over 6 years ago

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Jeremy Spinks

Retake your screenshots from the US and see how all the ad banners fit in. The 'white space' is very handy for sliding in advertising.

over 6 years ago

John Courtney

John Courtney, CEO and Executive Chairman at Pay on Results SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media, Digital PR, PPC & CRO from Strategy Digital

Yes, good site redesign

over 6 years ago

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Emma George

I am not amused, the new website is simply awful. It used to be so easy to navigate, not too much to scroll, the home page was loading fastly (I was using it as a benchmark to check my connection) and now it's more like those horrible american websites for news that have everything you wouldn't never need in the home page (stock market updates included!)Could you please realise that most of us are using widescreen computers and design someting with this in mind? The old website was perfect, why you've changed it is a mystery to me.

over 6 years ago

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Martin

The pages look nice but the ones I want to see were easily found on the old site with only a couplr of clicks. On the new site I have to click 6 times to see a local news page that I reg vistist and its not my local one which I also visit. Navigation has gone out the window it seems.

over 6 years ago

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Mark

PROBLEM WITH FIREFOX.

It uses a VERY condenced font on the pc version of Firefox, making the new design almost unreadable. Surely they should of checked it different screens and browers!

over 6 years ago

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Jaybee

Really don't like the new site and used to view the old site daily. To much scrolling required and is not an improvement. Revamp fail.

over 6 years ago

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Alan Dean Foster

Interesting redesign: the web media equvalent of New Coke.

Somebody should be fired....

over 6 years ago

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Richard

The redesign would be fine if the menu at the top was half as thick again, having such a thin bar makes it harder to navigate your mouse too, having the bar on the left meant that a sweep of the mouse left would find you the links, now you have to be more precise, bad design but what alot of site are going too. Also I am finding myself forever scrolling, yes the old site used to be a bit cluttered. But this is ridiculous, Ontop of this, similar / related stories are now at the bottom of the page, rather than been neatly at the side, which is now replaced with "Top Stories", Which might I add are rarely news that I read, as over 50% are MoD / war related. And to be honest I don't want to read about more dead soldiers. Suggestions I would make are, Make the website have customisable content, choose which parts they want to see on their personalised "homepage" Move the menu back to the left!!! reintroduce "also in the news" or just give us back the well designed old web page....

over 6 years ago

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Kevin

To Peter Payne. Fixed width sites are not worthless - and good web designers know when to use them or not. They are done for a good reason. If you have a variable width page with a lot of text, such as a BBC news article page, then the text will display as a very, very long one line sentence on a larger screen resolution. Very long text, all on one line, is very uncomfortable to read for most people - which is one reason why, in the print world, you have columns so that sentences display at comfortable reading lengths. It's the same for the web - fixed width is used to make text easier and more comfortable to read.

over 6 years ago

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Mark Crowley

I think it is an improvement. Less clutter, better organization. Nice work.

over 6 years ago

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Bangalow Accommodation

Doesn't look much different to me - but I guess website re-designs that cost a fortune usually deliver only subtle changes.

over 6 years ago

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A Reader

There would seem to be two types of commentators on the new design: (1) People who step back, get an overall impression without understanding or being interested in detailed content, and say, 'Good, modern, clean' (whatever that's supposed to mean). (2) People who are used to reading the news and want dense, efficient information. They say, 'Rubbish, cr*p, massively retrograde'. It would seem that this site has more of the former - oglers, rather than concentrated information consumers. Their comments would be well-suited to providing critiques of The Sun, The Daily Sport and the like. I suspect there are a lot of 'designers' amongst them - drooling over appearance from a distance, not really interested in content (too many words, too difficult, who wants *that* much information?). Not all 'designers' are like this, but unfortunately many are. They could learn a lot from the other commentators - those who understand and want dense, high-quality, textual content. Or they could remain in the dumbed-down-designer mode, telling other people what they should want, what is good, whilst being unqualified to say anything about either. The new BBC News site is the biggest crock of sh*t that has been unleashed on an intelligent audience for a long while. Fortunately for intelligent audiences, they have the discernment to find their content elsewhere.

over 6 years ago

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Anonymous

I wonder which of your audiences they designed it for? Neither I suspect.  Joe Public is seldom as daft as you think and is often more educated than you anticipate - but then, you'd have to get out more to know such things

over 6 years ago

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Ned

I hate the new website design. The first time I saw it I thought the design was quite poor but I would get used to it. I have tried to use it for a few days now and I still think it is terrible. The layout is too confusing. It looks like a website where someone has left out one of the vital divs. The old site was a great example of functional design this is just pants with white space.

over 6 years ago

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Ed

Dreadful redesign. More modern without more functionality. Requires more scrolling. Far fewer stories on the page, and those there are shorter. Menu bar too skinny.

I've also noticed that they've cunningly taken the opportunity to dumb down the stories at the same time.

In short, a real downgrade, and I hope the site editors come to realise it.

over 6 years ago

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Angela Smith

Absolutely awful re-design. So off-putting. Bad decision by someone. Sort it out. please.

over 6 years ago

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Alex

I feel like i've had 20 points knocked off my IQ everytime I look at the site.  Big, dumb writing and too much white space.

over 6 years ago

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Joe McEwan

It's dumbed down, Sun like and downright awful to read.  There is no real focus on the page and I'm not using this site anymore. 

over 6 years ago

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yereverluvinunclebert

We have a nice fix to the awful BBC news website it requires Firefox, greasemonkey and the above script. It makes the 'monstrous' carbuncle of the  new BBC news website look like the previous incarnation with a nice side menu bar, verdana font and it removes all the accretions. The greasemonkey script can be found here: http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/87428

about 6 years ago

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Samuel Lewis

I have now started using Google news and removing the sites I don't want to see such as bbc news.  It's like reading a cheap magazine version of that awful ITV breakfast programme and they have copied Canadian CBC News website.  What do we pay for?  

Is there anything left of value on the BBC?  If the today programme could be made into TV, I think they would have decent news instead of sitting on a sofa laughing about some 'fin cat in a tree.

about 6 years ago

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TC

the new site is almost useless....I've switched to Google News....

about 5 years ago

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john gartly

dreadful change for the sports section. far more difficult to navigate and looks like something designed by a complete novice to web design. the sort of thing you found 10 years ago from the build your own web site sector.

almost 5 years ago

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