By Jennifer Farley

Leading By Example: Redesign Of The BBC Website

By Jennifer Farley

This week the BBC announced a major redesign of its web site. Steve Herrmann, editor of the BBC News website said “We have focused on design and navigation, looking to see how we can make all the existing content we produce each day easier for you to find, use and share”. The improvements to the design and layout of the site will kick in on the existing BBC site this week and an entirely new edition of the site for users in the U.S. and Canada will appear.

As well as being a major source of news and information on the web, the BBC site has always been held in high esteem for its design and usability. The new changes will undoubtedly be influential  amongst designers and developers. The main changes to the site include:

Clean Look: The updated design allows more space for the main stories of the day and includes a bigger video player with better quality streaming. The navigation has moved from the left-hand side of the page to a bar along the top of the header area. Images on all pages are larger.


Clearer labeling: Labels are used to highlight different types of content, making them easy to pick out quickly. The most recently published stories will be flagged on the front page with a “New” badge.


Story pages: On story pages, the top stories for the day and feature articles appear on the left hand side beside the main story. Related articles and further reading links will be placed within and at the bottom of stories.


Sharing: Not exactly cutting edge, but users can now easily share stories on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.


Many of the changes have come about as a result of the BBC surveying users about how they use the site and suggestions on which areas to improve.

You can read more about the web site redesign and see a slideshow on the BBC blog.

  • XLCowBoy

    Not bad at all. I’d still say Huge Inc.’s redesign of and the new Times UK site ( are still the two top news sites.

  • reader

    I don’t like the new bbc ui. It’s confusing btw reading the content and customizing the layout. I don’t want to see too much border while I’m reading

  • I can’t stand the new design of the local pages. If you went to BBC West Midlands and wanted to go to London news for example there was a dropdown on midlands homepage to change your region. It’s gone now.

  • Well I like it. I think it’s great that you can edit your own preferences.

    And The Guardian ( is always a good experience.

    @XLCowBoy: Of course you can’t actually read the times past the front page because murdoch had made it pay play. Even the subscribers are annoyed as they have to login every time.

    • XLCowBoy

      I stopped looking after they made it a subscription-based outfit. Not that I’m against the scheme, but since I’m from South East Asia, British news is of little use to me (and the fact that the beeb is still free.)

      The login issue is ridiculous though. When people pay online, the least they expect is above-standard levels of convenience.

  • Norman

    BBC News must be feeling the heat as its content is politically pure-biased and just doing a site makeover won’t cut it. They need to change their news editors first. People now have choice and can access a multitude of other news sources with ease.

  • Michael Houghton

    The BBC site has had link sharing options for more than a year; they’ve just improved the visibility.

  • levi3man

    the header links on the BBC news redesign suggests a site wide redesign. The headers are meant to be consistent throughout the whole BBC site, however this redesign presents a change on the headers.

    Havent they already redesigned and implemented uniformity in the whole BBC website already?

  • “BBC News must be feeling the heat as its content is politically pure-biased and just doing a site makeover won’t cut it.”

    Nonsense. Only people on the political extremes think that the BBC news is biased one way or another. If you were to criticize them, it would be that they are a little bland and are afraid of controversy.

    On the ‘redesign’ (although it’s not really a full redesign), I’m not convinced that moving the navigation completely to the top will be a good idea. Long horizontal lists are much less easy to scan than long vertical ones, in my opinion, because the break between items is significantly less visible. Other than that, though, it looks good.

  • Is it just me, or is there a striking resemblance to the recent CNN redesign?

Get the latest in Front-end, once a week, for free.