BBC iPlayer interface

14 Oct 2007 - 6:50pm
8 years ago
4 replies
918 reads
Joe Lanman


I was just reading PC Pro's review of the BBC iPlayer:

It reminded me how awful the interface was. I don't know if there have been
any discussions so far about iPlayer, or similar services (4oD is not much
better) - but it seems to me these content providers are shooting themselves
in the foot. Youtube has a pretty usable interface (including a good search
function) - and it seems to me more people will watch clips of The IT Crowd
et al, from an existing simple, usable interface rather than on sub-standard
apps direct from content providers.

The review mentions a really good early beta of the iPlayer - anyone see it
or can point to screenshots?



14 Oct 2007 - 6:57pm
Joe Lanman

Another good article:

Seems awful that a public service broadcaster should produce such a badly
designed service that only works with Windows XP..

15 Oct 2007 - 4:04pm
Priya Prakash

Hi Joe-

Funny you mentioned about BBC iPlayer and the beta version which was called
I worked on iMP (beta iPlayer and iMP for Vista- MIX Œ06) at BBC for nearly
3 years. ( UXD lead and then implementation manager before its current
avatar as iPlayer.)
Design by committee sucks and that has led to the current version of
Personally this was too painful a project ­ the moment everyone wanted to be
involved, one of my reasons to leave BBC early this year.
You can see some early screenshots for iPlayer Beta and the rationale behind
it here

Incidentally, I know the folks who worked on 4OD as well.
We all have those battle scars, its called design by committee >:|


Priya Prakash
Creative Director - Digital
Hachette-Filipaccchi (UK) Ltd
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15 Oct 2007 - 7:03pm
Joe Lanman

Hi Priya,

Thanks for the informative response - I'm sorry if any of my comments were
harsh - I know how frustrating projects can be.

The beta seems to have good responses though - and looks good in the
screenshots. At least it has a usable schedule view!



18 Oct 2007 - 12:53pm

I've not used the UI so I can't comment on that. But the reason it
only works with Windows is not UI-related. It's about DRM and
copyrights. I blogged about this in Copyfight.

Original piece:
Followup after the BBC Trust issued its decision in May:

Short form: the mass of stuff in the BBC archive is a veritable swamp
of who-knows-what rights and license terms. The BBC wanted a simple
umbrella to cover the whole thing and found only Microsoft's solution
covered the bases they wanted. Nobody much liked it and they're
supposed to revisit the issue soon.

On 10/14/07, Joe Lanman <joe at> wrote:
> Seems awful that a public service broadcaster should produce such a badly
> designed service that only works with Windows XP..

--Alan Wexelblat

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