The BBC has long been a leader in mobile products and content — they recently launched their iPlayer subscription app in Canada — and now they have updated their mobile website to dynamically adapt to different screen sizes and platforms.
According to the Head of Product Chris Russell, “In an average week, the BBC News mobile websites and apps are visited by around 9.7m users worldwide on mobile and tablet devices. That represents about 26% of the total traffic to BBC News Online.” This is a sizeable, and growing number, through many users are choosing to access BBC News through native apps on iOS and Android.
Previously, the BBC was maintaining teams for multiple platforms to ensure compatibility with all the touch- and trackpad-based smartphone OSes, which was proving to be very costly. Kate Milner, product manager for BBC News says, “We’re using an innovative approach known as responsive design. This will allow us to offer the same BBC News content across devices, while making the most of their multiple screen sizes and capabilities.”
The new portal makes us of a limited amount of HTML5 to employ dynamic tabs that don’t require a screen refresh. You have access to all the sections, and a menu bar, from any news article, and the front page is arranged in a clean and orderly manner. We’d love to be able to adjust font sizes like on The Globe & Mail’s mobile site, but the BBC says they are working to improve things over the weeks and months.
I used the new site on the Galaxy Nexus, iPhone 4S, Lumia 800 and Bold 9900 and there were subtle but important changes amongst all of them, depending on the size of the screen and which platform it was running.
If you’re interested in checking out the new mobile site, head on over to m.bbc.co.uk/news and let us know what you think.