Over its lifetime, the BBC News website has won four BAFTAs, nine Webby awards of various flavours, and some serious love from the online design industry generally. We remember the early 2000's when pretty much every proposal document we produced for an information driven website referenced the BBC site of the time as a shining example as to how the web should be done. Its use of space, early adoption of technology, uncompromising usability hand in hand with quality stylings; it was hard to fault it.
Today, version 4 of the site has been released into the wild. There's some really interesting details in there, but on first impression, it feels a bit, well, floaty. One of the defining features of the last few iterations of the site, has been its amazing use of space. The pages were incredibly rich and dense with content; the new site by contrast welcomes a lot of empty space. And not in that cool Swiss-type sense, but in a kind of 'we were expecting more content in this space than there actually is available' sense.
We look at the BBC News site at least a half-dozen times a day, so we'll give it a going over in the next few days and consolidate our thoughts - for our benefit, if nothing else. What can we learn from the new skin of this revered archetype of solid UI IA design? Time, of course, will tell.