A Dangerous Precedent*

I like to think of myself as something of a patriot. Albeit a patriot in that "patriotic but slightly uncomfortable and vaguely embarrassed about it" British person sort of way that the majority of you guys reading this over the pond find endearing, but we find uncomfortable and vaguely embarrassing.

Part of what it means to be patriotic in Britain is a deep-rooted, almost matriarchal respect for the BBC (there is a reason that it's known as Auntie after all). I think this stems, predominately, from the fact that we pay for the BBC through the Licence Fee. The £120 or so that each household contributes every year ensures that it truly is our BBC and, as a result, they are duty bound to offer the widest range of programming and the most unbiased views of any of our national broadcasters. This national reverence extends to the Beeb's news coverage which is so far ahead of any of the other nonsense that is put out on the commercial channels in this country that is makes them look laughable.

In recent months, every time I have opened Chrome I have immediately opened two webpages. One is The Verge (duh) and the other, as has been the case for many years now, is the BBC homepage. Sadly I won't be opening one of these any more and it's definitely not The Verge.

The new BBC homepage is unadulterated toss.

It forces me to read about a load of crap in which I have absolutely zero interest and tells me nothing of the things I actually want to read. Gone are the customisation options that allowed me to see only the Top stories and tech news of the day as well as the various other bits and bobs which appealed to me. Instead, I am stuck with an absurd mix of programme promotions, regional news, "entertainment news (God help me) and sports scores for teams (and indeed sports) I have no interest in. All jumbled up in a stupid faux-tablet interface, vaguely Android and iOS with a big dollop of Metro for good measure. We are told that this was done to make the website more relevant to those using tablet computers. Well, I'm one of them too and I can assure you that the tablet experience is even worse. The pages look like they should swipe, but they don't. You have to click - or tap - the arrows on the left and right. Brilliant implementation for tablet usage this is not.

Sure, change is good and I'm all for that but bad design is unforgivable and I fail to understand the rampant iPad-isation of websites - don't get me wrong, there are many others just as guilty of this as the BBC. Making everything more touch friendly is great but not if the cost is creating an interface which is so desperately unintuitive for your core audience, who predominantly still use a keyboard and mouse.

It's no surprise that the backlash to this redesign has been immense. The BBC's official response is: "Moving back to the old design is not something that we are considering"

Yeah, so basically: "F**k you, this cost us a fortune, learn to like it".

I still love the BBC but all those involved in this disaster should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

*I Originally posted this in the Off-Topic/Chit-Chat forum but thought that this one might be more appropriate - Apologies if this upsets anyone.