The New BBC Homepage - Leading or Following?

I have always been a fan of the BBC website. It is extremely effective at organising and presenting vast quantities of information. When I visited the BBC homepage last week, I thought I must have mis-typed the URL. It was not the usual BBC website that I know and love. When I realised that it was indeed the BBC homepage, I was shocked, surprised and I immediately closed the browser window. I went back a few times over the next few days so that I could slowly absorb it. I thought, well, all good things change, and maybe I will grow to love the new design.

What I like about it

I do actually like it in some ways. Here are some of the good points:

  • You can personalise the homepage by choosing topics, colours and your location
  • It is a bold and clean design
  • You can drag elements around the page, allowing you to change the layout to the way it suits you

What I do not like about it

Here are some of the bad points:

  • The design is at odds with the rest of the BBC website. There is no connection or common branding
  • It looks a lot like many other "Web 2.0" websites, giving the impression that the BBC is following the latest web trends, rather then being unique and leading trends
  • It is at odds with the look and feel of the BBC TV channels. Again, there does not appear to be common branding


I applaud the BBC for trying to be bold and adventurous with the redesign. The ability to personalise the homepage is welcomed and will help mean users to enjoy their own customised version of the homepage, displaying just the content that they want to see.

However, I have serious reservations about the branding of the new homepage. It is acting like a standalone piece, rather then something that is integrated with the look and feel of the rest of the BBC website, and the BBC branding in general. It also gives the impression of following others, which is not something that the BBC should be doing.

Overall, the BBC have some things well, but I feel the redesign could have been done much better. If I was in charge of the BBC brand, I would not be a happy camper!