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BBC.co.uk’s Design Explained

In News Website Analysis on March 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm

On the BBC Internet Blog the current BBC website design is explained. The website used to be radically different from what is today and BBC has some clear reasons why this change happened.

About three years ago, BBC printed out all its pages and posted it on a wall, now jokingly called the “Wall of Shame.” The old website was disorganized and it was hard to find information on it. So they started a project to unify the visual and interaction design of bbc.co.uk and the mobile website.

The newer website has a wider template, to accommodate wider screen resolution and created and underlying grid. The new grid is based on 31 sixteen pixel columns with two left hand columns that can be split into four, and one wider right hand column, which accommodates the ad formats that appear on the international facing version of the site.   

The goal of the new website design is simplicity, something that is a common theme throughout the site. A website needs to be easy to navigate through, which BBC has nicely accomplished. The new design is the product of a collaboration with Neville Brody from Research Studios, a multi-disciplinary creative network that has worked on things like surface graphic designs for LG, and the newspaper layout of The Times London.

They came up with 9 keywords to represent the philosophy of the website: Modern British, Current, Authentic, Compelling, Distinctive, Pioneering, Joined-Up, Universal, Best.

Another keyword I believe they could have added to this is consistency. The website makes use of only six variations in font and size combinations. The effect of this is that the website appears much more organized. Their choice in font, Gill Sans, Helvetica and Arial, would not be my choice. It is unexciting and not particularly professional in my opinion.

Pages have an overall neutral color palette, but the pages are far from boring. The website gets its color from a great amount of photography that really draws your attention.

Overall, the website design definitely changed for the better. This visual comparison below of a BBC page in 2010 and today shows it all.

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