The BBC’s new website.

Carrying on from my last post in the theme of open emails, I also recently sent the following email to the BBC about their new website design.

I loved the old BBC website. Even though I live in Toronto, the BBC was my main portal for international news. It was one of the few remaining websites that wasn’t just an assault on my eyes when looking for cleanly and clearly presented news stories.

Alas, the new version more or less copies the visual miasma of the other sites I’ve turned away from.

It mixes inconsistent layouts, pictures, text, and colours all on a single page, making everything a mess that can’t be easily scanned or consumed.

In the new “header” section alone, why does the left side have pictures, but the right side only text? The fact that it’s not balanced means you keep glancing at other sections without being able to concentrate on one story at a time. Why is the “Live” story in the middle, also detracting from the stories on the sides? If you need to call out one story, don’t mix it in with others. Instead, put it in its own row above all the others.

The “Latest world headlines” section is fine. That’s what I’m used to. Every story in the table has the same size box of pictures and text. It’s consistent. It can be easily scanned.

The brain dump of stories at the bottom of the page is simply impossible to scan through in any real way. There are too many. That whole section should be removed entirely. If I care about news stories in a particular category, I can just click that category from the menu at the top. Looking at the vast forest of stories hurts my brain and prevents me from caring about any of them. It’s the equivalent of a flash-bang.

Please consider unifying the layout of all sections so that everything is consistent. I can see a reason for having some content be presented in a different layout, but try to stick to only two general types of layout.