As is becoming on websites beyond social networking, we decided to institute a user profile system for the BBC website which will carry over functions that the basic log in already caters for (‘have your say’ for example) as well as others explained bellow.
With the user profile, to link every page together we have decided on a tool bar present on the bottom of every page the user visits on the BBC website, whether it’s I-player, news or the main site. The tool bar can be hideable for those who don’t want to use it, and it can also be used, albeit far more basically, if a user doesn’t wish to log in.
The functions will allow users to communicate with other users, favorite news articles and ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ articles. Have these been done before? Yes. Of course this is not a new, revolutionary idea but why hasn’t the BBC already done it? Well primarily because the BBC can’t associate directly with Facebook or Twitter because of advertising rules, thus they can not use their ‘like’ system as many other sites do. So the BBC can instead have it’s own system of ‘likes’ that will let other readers know if an article is worth reading or not through use in the tool bar. The idea of favoriting news articles is again a simple one which hasn’t already been done. Yes it is true many people don’t want to read an article again, at a time that it’s no longer ‘news’, but that is just a generalisation – many people like to remember articles to reference later, or should they wish to come back to read it later in the week, for example. If the BBC allows this, as well as opening up commenting on articles it is a natural next step to allow users to talk to each other – giving visitors a way of sharing articles on the BBC rather than on Facebook. Along with the previous mentioned things, it would also be feasible to create a home page that will cater for individuals. One that will recommend news articles, BBC i player videos, that it’s tracked by what the user has visited before.
All these new functions will be optional as one can hide the tab that allows this interactivity. But if it phased in, the BBC can gradually reduce what can be done with out it.