BBC Web 2.0 Redesign

UPDATE: see also the article about BBC's Microsoft Lock-in, as well as the beta launch of BBC's new Web site.

The BBC recently had a contest to see who could come up with the best concept for a new design rethinking the BBC as "Web 2.0".

Here is their winning design:

Proposed BBC front page

Severe problems:

  • The BBC news is known for good content. Instead of providing good content, which is what they are known for, they are planning on emphasizing user-generated content. User generated content is often flakey. Look at the comments on Digg. While the stories on Digg are often top quality, the comments are usually crap. Imagine a BBC Web site filled with content like that.
  • The BBC home page might have a buddy list? ("Your friends" and "Friends with shared interests".)
  • The entire front page is about football (compare to the content on the current BBC homepage shown below). Based on the experience of seeing news turn into entertainment in the US, I think this is a prediction of what will come for the BBC.
  • A news source that has been considered relatively trustworthy is possibly jumping on often-flakey "Web 2.0" fads.

Below is the current BBC home page. It emphasizes information. News in 33 languages. Intelligent stories of what is going on in the world. It could use a redesign, but not an information restructuring. The information is the strong point of the web site.

Current BBC home page

Why this bothers me

News in the US has been going downhill for decades. The American news is filled with crap, and the BBC is one of the few decent major news providers that offers information about what is going on in the world. This looks like the decline of the BBC. They may not be planning to convert their site to that design, but choosing it as a winning design may be a warning of things to come.

Will they go ahead with something this ridiculous? Their new collaboration with Microsoft "includes plans for next-generation web 2.0 and ways to share online content in the future."

Sounds terrible. If you would like to voice your opinion about it, you can leave a comment for the BBC here.

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