Has the BBC borrowed a Tumblr theme for its new beta home page?

BBC Home Page

The BBC has unveiled a new beta version of its home page today and although we do love the revamp, it does look a LOT like a Tumblr theme, doesn’t it?

The home page is full of large, no-nonsense typography, lots of lovely photo content and everything can be scrolled from side to side, much like we’re playing around with one big iPad. There are also a few cool new features too, like location based preferences.

It seems that over the past year or so more and more brands and organisations have begun to use their websites as places to showcase all kinds of rich content in a grid-like format. Of course we don’t REALLY think the BBC is ripping off Tumblr, but it’s quite interesting that the blogging platform stood out from its competitors early on because it made innovative decisions about design, as apposed to adopting a more conventional look.

The interesting thing about presenting content in this way is what it’s doing to the way we consume information. Now I’m not making some sensationalist claim that blogs are eroding our brain cells in true tabloid newspaper style, but what I’m saying is it’d be interesting to find out what we look at first and whether we’re really quite overwhelmed by content all over and prefer it fed to us in a more linear, straightforward fashion or whether bits and pieces in a busy little grid actually suits the way we learn… Interesting stuff.

I’m sure these are all considerations that the BBC’s web team has been musing over for years. After all, the home page gets around nine million unique visitors a week, so it wasn’t a snap decision made one boring afternoon because everyone fancied a change. In fact the thinking behind all of the BBC’s design and user experience decisions is really interesting and if typography, colours and layout fascinates you as much as it does me, even though it’s a whole year old now it’s worth reading the new global visual language for the BBC’s digital service post written by big BBC design and UX bod Bronwyn van der Merwe.

Becca Caddy