On the Beta BBC Site
September 21st, 2011
The BBC have done it once again, they've launched a beta site that's got the web talking about what it likes and dislikes.
I love the many hover effects that make the site feel responsive and quite organic despite it's rigid appearance. But this rigidness indicates something greater - it's overall information architecture is great. I can easily choose which areas I'm interested in, the most popular is divided into read, watched, and listened in a way that's easy on the eye as well as the brain.
The last point is very important, the new page doesn't make me search for anything, it's exactly what I've wanted from the BBC site in that it's sensibly arranged, gives me the content I want and all encapsulated in a strikingly good design.
The source code, while minified and hard to read, is valid XHTML reflecting the high class of workmanship that's clearly gone into this redesign. It's simplicity in design belies the vast complexity that has gone into shaping it. I tried accessing it through the iOS Simulator but it redirected me to the regular mobile site so I guess that's still being worked on. As Mark Boulton tweeted, it's a shame there's not a tablet version ready yet as the design lends itself especially well to swiping and tapping.
The only niggling things I found that I'm not keen on is having to hover over the weather to get a 5-day forecast and the selected 'More from...' category rises up a bit too much and should probably be consistent with the behaviour of the Most Popular box (i.e. the blue stays inside the box with the arrow pointing outwards).
All of this and it's still in beta, I'm looking forward to seeing what changes and hope that it doesn't become distilled down.