Our priorities

to-do-list A few posts ago, I outlined what we had on our “to-do” list following the launch of the BBC’s new Gateway homepage which included;

  1. Creation of templates, used with the content management system to allow publishers to make use of a consistent approach and design and concentrate on the content, not site development. These will be inline with the BBC’s internet.
  2. Fix the reported errors/bugs.
  3. Research how people use the search engine and make improvements accordingly.
  4. Look to see what additional functionality we can introduce using Sharepoint 2007.
We’ve done these, except the Sharepoint functionality, which is being constrained by ongoing commercial discussion with our IT supplier, so now what’s next?
Some of our priorities for the next three/six months – in no particular order;
  • move further toward more effective “self service” for the publishing community. Beef up our on-line support materials and increase the range of “how to” videos online to further help and reduce calls/queries from the publishers.
  • reduce further the number of intranet sites not managed by the enterprise content management system – delete those sites that aren’t being managed.
  • improve the performance of the content management system. It’s running like a dog at times. Beef up the engine and pour more petrol in it. Not literally obviously.
  • increase the number of existing sites that use the recently introduced templated approach which also includes improved measurement tools and the inclusion of the common Global Navigation Bar and standardised footer.
  • widen the scope of the intranet development team to take on corporate internet activities. We’re planning on being fully “open for business” in the new financial year, and we’re currently adopting a similar business model for our development activity externally as we are internally; one content management system, a set of templates providing a wide range of functionality and clear ownership of content by editorial teams. This will reduce overall development and ongoing operational spend.
  • analyse intranet survey results and recommend next set of deliverables to the business.
  • understand and implement forthcoming organisational changes.
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What improvements has the new homepage brought us?

BBC Gateway homepage - 10 May 2011

BBC Gateway homepage - 10 May 2011

There were a number of business reasons why we decided to redesign the BBC’s intranet homepage and start work on sorting out the rest of the intranet;

  • Increase efficiency
  • Promote simplicity
  • Encourage collaboration
  • Make it easier to do stuff

and move on from the previous homepage that had been knocking around in a couple of incarnations for the past six or so years.

Our strategy focussed on five broad areas;

  • Pan-BBC governance
  • Editorial leadership
  • Technical development
  • Content production
  • Systems and tools
And we’ve not only redesigned the homepage, we’ve started work on the top level landing pages, and soon we’ll start on the rest, including on-line applications.
This is a big gig and shouldn’t be underestimated as to it’s complexity. Not easy, but is anything that’s worth doing ?

A couple of weeks later….

Since we launched our new homepage design, feedback has been flooding in. As you can imagine, it’s wide and varied, but a couple of major themes have emerged.

  1. People generally like the new uncluttered design with it’s simplistic style.
  2. Users want the opportunity to add their own links. This is something our testing didn’t throw up (or we didn’t appreciate the amount of people who had added their own links to the previous site) so we’ve now introduced new functionality that allows users to add their own links, whilst maintaining the list of popular default links that can also be used.
  3. There are a bunch of errors that need to be fixed.

Our next steps include;

  1. Creation of templates, used with the content management system to allow publishers to make use of a consistent approach and design and concentrate on the content, not site development. These will be inline with the BBC’s internet.
  2. Fix the errors.
  3. Research how people use the search engine and make improvements accordingly.
  4. Look to see what additional functionality we can introduce using Sharepoint 2007.

New BBC Gateway homepage

Well we went live at 8am this morning with the new homepage, plus redesigned landing pages. An all staff email has been sent out and feedback is starting to arrive.

As you can imagine it’s pretty full on here, so for now here’s a peek at the homepage and I’ll let you know what the headlines are later.

Before

Gateway homepage 12 April 2011

Before; Gateway homepage 12 April 2011

After

Gateway homepage 13 April 2011

After; New BBC Gateway homepage 13 April 2011

New BBC homepage

Gateway homepage 12 April 2011

BBC Gateway homepage

So what’s been happening? Well loads actually. We go live with a redesigned Gateway homepage tomorrow at 8am, following lots of planning and activities behind the scenes. The result is very diifferent to what we currently have and this new design clearly meets three objectives;

• Communicate.

• Collaborate.

• Do stuff.

Now I could have provided you all with the extremely boring business objectives that we needed to meet, and were part of our business case and you can see them if you want, but these three sum them up. I don’t particularly like business bingo speak, so let’s not run unnecessary stuff up the flagpole and see what synergies emerge. Let’s keep it simple.

In addition we’ve done some content removal too. I have some impressive figures I could share, but won’t bore you with. Except maybe for one; we’ve reduced 78 glossaries to two. And that’s still one too many.

There are lots of other figures that I will keep to myself for the time being and use when the bosses ask how we’re getting on.

Now you’re probably wondering what the journey was to get to where we are, and what the end result looks like?

Well firstly we followed the established journey of research, design, refine, redesign, review and publish. Did we spend enough time and thoroughness at each stage? Probably not.  But you know what? It’s technology – if it isn’t right we can change it quickly enough.

What does the end result look like? Well I can’t show you that I’m afraid, not until after we’ve officially gone live. Over the past few weeks we’ve been sharing what we plan to launch with any BBC employees who were interested our work in progress so I wouldn’t be surprised if its already available somewhere on the internet, but you will have to wait another few days to see it here.

Once we’ve gone live we will go through a review period and invite BBC users to tell us what they think, then agree what we will deliver as part of the next phase.

Simple really.