Personalising the BBC

UX design Design management Design research
As a designer at the BBC, I lead the development of new UI patterns which allowed users to personalise their experience or participate, either through sharing content, saving locations, voting or providing feedback on recommendations.
UI pattern for sharing content UI pattern for managing locations
Interface designs for a new share pattern and location setting pattern

Facilitating designs across teams

I ran workshops with groups of designers and product owners to understand their individual needs. Working with designers I facilitated design sessions to ensure designers from each part of the BBC had a say in the final design.

I also worked with architects, product owners and data scientist to define the logic of how the BBC used user's data to create more personalised, relevant experiences.

Photo of a designer adding a post it to a wall in a workshop
Patterns had to be scaleable and flexible to almost any space, while maintaining the BBC's consistent design language and ensuring they are fully accessible to all users.
Slide from a presentation showing how the share pattern is responsive
Demonstrating to stakeholders the concept of a flexible new share pattern

Engaging stakeholders with different needs

Involving a vast network of stakeholders in the progress of these patterns required frequent and clear communication through a variety of means; presentations, workshop activities, prototype demos. Spelling out the users needs in novel ways such as creating short videos helped engage stakeholders. Involving teams in requirement gathering, research and design sprints helped to get them to understand our problems and share in solving them.

Slide from research presentation showing differnt types of user behaviour
Forming user types based on their behaviour with recommendations

Mixed research methods

To understand what personalisation and participation opportunities users would want when they interact with the BBC required a variety of research methods. I ran research projects to understand users current behaviours with a diary study as well as a focus group to probe deeper into how users interact with content recommendations provided by the BBC and other digital services.

Photo from a user focus group Data from a diary study being gathered on a wall
Plotting data from a diary study to the studio wall helped the team to build up a picture of the research findings.

When testing prototypes, finding out the users preferences and tastes in advance allowed me to tailor prototypes to each participant to get valid insights into the interactions with personalised experiences – we found out early on that using dummy data confuses and invalidates any research findings.

A prototype used in testing users reactions to being able to control their recommendations on iPlayer
Using information from a diary study allowed us to create personalised prototypes to test genuine reactions to recommended content.

We tackled the problem of how users wanted information on locations important to them with various fidelities of prototypes. We created each prototypes as stimuli to answer specific gaps in our knowledge. Guerrilla testing helped answer how users wanted to save and find their locations while a fully coded prototype, tested in a lab setting, helped answer how information about locations may be surfaced across BBC products.

In the wild…

The patterns I created are defined on the BBC GEL site for other designers in the BBC to refer to and are used throughout the BBC's sites.

Location settings GEL guide

Recommendations feedback GEL guide

Share tools GEL guide

Other projects:

Subtitalizer tool being used to correct a transcript


Improving the subtitling workflow at the BBC.

Screenshots of an iOS app used for recording and sending video to the newsroom.

Mobile Newsgathering

Getting corresondents to send content into the newsroom faster.