Sunday 16 December 2007

The New

If you haven't already heard, the BBC has launched the Beta (aka in development) version of its new website. It wasn't a big surprise to me thanks to Pete Clifton's talk on the future of BBC Interactive but it is a big change to the current version we've come to know very well since 2003.

The key principle of the new website is aggregation - instead of everybody seeing the same content on the homepage, it lets the individual user choose the content they want on the homepage. Websites like Facebook and Netvibes have been using aggregation for a while now and it's not a surprise to see the BBC upgrade, especially since it has an incredible amount and range of news and sport content and three platforms of TV and radio as well as online content.

But is the new site really Beta? Sorry, I mean better? I like the new site because it's clean but attractive and has further developed local content with, for example, your local BBC Radio Station's current programme just one click away. Once the iPlayer with its TV programmes is on the homepage in the new year, then it'll be the full package.

For news, all this news aggregation does mean that sometime soon you will be able to completely avoid the main news headlines and just view the news areas you're interested in. Some would argue this is a positive step since it's giving the user what they want but others fear it will mean people will be less well educated about a range of news stories. I think that in balance it's good because it has the power to engage people who are currently disinterested in news.

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