The new BBC personalisable homepage is now publicly visible, if you know where to look. Acting head of design, Richard Titus explains the thinking: ‘a lick of paint’ for now, with the really juicy stuff – ‘your unique personal user profile’, ‘video on the homepage and an iPlayer widget’ – to follow after Christmas.
Having played with it (very) briefly, they’ve done an excellent job of delivering great functionality in a straightforward way, largely thanks to a bit of Ajax magic – and clearly taking Netvibes as its principal role model. This is not a bad thing. Interesting to see a slightly larger font than we’re used to, and some nice ‘breaking out of the box’ imagery. Expect to see much more of both on other sites.
And of course, there’s the relaunched streaming iPlayer. The geeks may tell you that ‘cross platform’ is the big story here. It isn’t. Nor is DRM. It’s the fact that streaming actually makes it usable. A ‘wait for a few hours’ service in a post-YouTube world was never going to work.