A better way to find something to watch


iPlayer was created in 2007 as a way to catch up on TV you’d missed. Over time it became a place to discover new shows, too. However, in research sessions we saw that it wasn’t as easy to find something new as it should’ve been.


UX designer


Increased flexibility for the BBC editorial team

A homepage structure that's lasted 5 years


Filipo Cutica • UX

Dimple Gohil • UI

Thomas Arnold • UX

The previous homepage
The previous homepage

The main place for discovering something new, the homepage, was leaving people feeling confused. ‘It feels like a random jumble’, said one participant, whilst others speculated that the order was randomly generated.

This meant many people ended up relying on the ‘Most Popular’ list, rather than being able to find something that truly fit what they were looking for.

As well as research with the public, we talked to people internally to find out their frustrations. The editorial team felt restricted given a finite number of slots, and had no way to create curated collections of programmes.

Results from a co-design workshop
Results from a co-design workshop

We ran co-design workshops both internally and with the public, letting people create their ideal homepage with printouts. From these we distilled four key pillars that people used to orient themselves. These were genres, boxsets, personalised lists and editorial collections.

Wireframe of the new slice structure
Wireframe of the new slice structure

To future-proof the page, we built it on a framework of slices which could be swapped in and out and extended in the future. We A/B tested a few different types of slice and found that a carousel worked best.

Finally we evolved iPlayer's visual language. As well as refining the colour palette and tightening up the typography, we worked to make moment to moment interaction more compelling.

We redesigned each hover state to reveal information without hiding imagery. Part of the thinking here was that slideshows or videos could be used on hover in the future.

As a result of our work the editorial team has more control to craft an exciting set of shows to dive into, and people spent far less time looking for something to watch.

Cover Image