BBC News site goes mobile friendly

24/03/2015

The desktop version of the BBC News website has been switched off, and all visitors are now being directed to a newer, responsive design.

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Users over the past few months, visitors of the desktop site have been asked to trial the new website layout, but as of 2pm, visitors will be automatically directed to the new site.

Speaking to the BBC News website, Robin Pembrooke, head of product for the News and Weather BBC sites said: "We now see 65% of our visitors to the website are on mobile or tablet devices.

"The old site that we had, which is now four-plus years old, was really designed with PCs in mind. Moving to a fully responsive solution which works across mobile, tablets and desktops is the way to go. It means that we can have one solution that is a web solution for all of our users."

The new layout gives higher priority to video content as well as analytical articles by BBC reporters.

Pembrooke said that while the like-for-like running costs of the BBC News website will be lower, the amount the corporation spends on online will not be reduced.

"We can now start to introduce new features such as personalisation with the same size of development team," he said.

A post on the BBC Internet Blog gives more detail on the changes and invites feedback from the public.

Initial reactions to the new design were mixed. Common among the complaints was that the site is too bright. Mr Pembrooke said Monday's launch was a starting point.

"I think we'll see that evolve over time. What this opens up is the possibility to start experimenting with different types of colour palettes as well - for different types of content.

"This first release we feel we've got it to the point where we've got parity with the existing site, but what it opens up is now the ability to start adding in a whole range of new features such as being able to introduce topic pages and the ability for us to start introducing more personalised features on the website."

BBC News website editor Steve Herrmann said lessons have been learnt since previous relaunches of the BBC News site.

"The last relaunch was very much a big bang, all in one go.

"At the time we didn't give people a way of previewing or getting a sense of what it was going to be like. With this, first of all, the new site itself is actually the mobile site that we've had for some time.

"We created a promotional banner to bring it to people's attention on desktop to say have a look - with the aim of inviting people to see what we were working on. For me that's a critical difference."

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