BBC unveils updated iPlayer with Method interface

Method has worked on the social functions and user interface for version three of the BBC iPlayer, the beta version of which has gone live.

The BBC appointed Method to revamp its Web-based catch-up service in July last year, following a credentials pitch against about four other groups, according to the consultancy.

Method was tasked with ‘challenging the BBC’s thinking on interaction design and providing stimulus around the iPlayer’s social and personalisation functions’, says Method London associate creative director Philip O’Dwyer.

The consultancy claims that its initial brief was to implement new social functions, allowing viewers to follow what their friends are watching, within a separate section of the site. But Method suggested suffusing the entire site with the new functions.

‘Traditionally, the iPlayer was a catch-up service, but increasingly people are using it as a primary destination to discover new content,’ says O’Dwyer. ’We needed to think about creating new discovery mechanisms to replace the trailers and adverts for upcoming programmes that viewers see on traditional television.’

The new social and personal functions include a favourites tray that will automatically list new episodes of viewers’ favourite programmes, and the ability to connect with Facebook and Twitter to recommend content. Site users will be able to live chat with friends using Windows Live Messenger.

The iPlayer’s updated user interface sees radio and TV content clearly divided at the top of the screen, and a more intimate tone of voice ‘which becomes more personalised as your engagement with the site increases’, says O’Dwyer.

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