BBCi update

(originally March 2005
updated January 2006)


The BBC interactive service has been updated. For better, and for worse.

Pressing the red button will display the panel on the right-hand side of the screen:

The BBCi introductory index, overlaid onto BBC News 24.

The first thing you'll notice is bigger, bolder text. It is much easier to read. Something that should catch your attention is the Press TEXT to exit. I'll explain why later.
The next thing an eagle-eyed viewer might see is that there is no on-screen differentiation between the first entry (p1001) and the second (p101). Sadly, there is a big difference. One (p1001) will take you into the full-screen BBCi service while the other (p101) works in the overlay.
Looking around BBCi, the various logos that told you this stuff are no longer present (so this is where my downloadable index may be useful).


So we choose to go to page 1001. The following appears, for about fifteen to thirty seconds:

The BBCi full-screen loader.
As of Autumn 2005, the entry screen is a lot jazzier - usually a topical picture; and the service also appears to load a lot quicker (January 2006, it came up in a staggering six seconds!).


A regional news index, in the full-screen service. To the right we can see the full-screen news service viewing a regional news index. Overlaid into the frame is a looped feed of the headlines, presented by Carla (Darla?) Bowman.

On the face of it, the content within the full-screen BBCi is pretty much the same sort of thing, only it has been remodelled to make it easier to see - especially considering the white-on-red colour combination.
It is really nice to see the BBC have kept the page-based format, I detest Sky News' necessity to keep scrolling down to read articles. However the images still appear to be 16:9 stretched to fill a 4:3-sized area. And, as before, there is no provision for expanding the pictures to be full-screen. You can read more about this.

Take a look at the yellow options at the bottom of the screen. Pressing the yellow button to back up seems bizarre to me - what is wrong with the back up button?
The full index!Unfortunately this has had a bad effect on the usability of the interactive service for me. I used to frequently pop up the section index to skip from place to place. If you open the index now, you get exactly what you asked for - the full contents index...
Now in order to move quickly around sections, I need to refer to my document and maybe remember a few page numbers. The section index was so useful...
Changing the overlay screen.
It had always been quick and easy to change screens in the BBCi service - just press green and pick what you would like to see.


It is nice to see that the BBC are updating their service, though is a bittersweet update - as they have done a number of things to make their service better, but they have also removed various useful accessibility features.

In my opinion the service would benefit from using back up for backing up, and re-introducing the sectional index.
The more readable text style is definitely a plus.


I have not updated the pictures since March 2005, as the basics have not changed, though BBCi has had some jiggery-pokery and redesigns in certain sections.
Therefore, my screen displays may look 'dated', like something from the '80s when every other movie starred Michael J. Fox and the rest probably had Corey Feldman or Corey Haim in them, sometimes (as in at least five films) both at once...
Though my movie knowledge is extensive (the product of a lonely life), I cannot think of a movie with all three together... this perhaps is a good thing? :-)


A little digging around might reveal some interesting things about the inlaid video.
Click here to find out more...


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Copyright © 2006 Richard Murray