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11 March 2007

Update to WWW nbr 14 - Radio Wrap-up, NPR vs. BBC

Since I posted Deborama's WWW Number 14 - Radio Wrap-up, NPR vs. BBC I have had a bit of e-mail correspondence with a representative of the BBC, Nick Reynolds, who left a few comments on the post. In one of these comments, he alerted me to the fact that the BBC Radio homepage portal had been greatly re-designed. I am sure it's just a coincidence that it was due for a new release just after I posted that link to the old one, but I have had a look and it is greatly improved, in my opinion. For one thing, it is far less busy and "promotional" in its appearance, and more service-oriented, so if you happen to want to find something and the BBC radio site is your logical starting point, you now have a good chance of finding it, if it's there. So full marks to the BBC web design team for getting it right.
I also want to highlight a web page of the BBC's that I use a lot, which is the food page. I have a couple of issues with this page, even though I want to state at the outset that it is a great page and a valuable resource to me overall. The first issue I have is consistency. I have been a fan of British food/cookery programming since before I emigrated here, and I have used this website for years. Every so often, it gets a redesign. It has a feature, common to many food websites, called the Binder, where you can store your favourite recipes for quick reference. But when they redesign the website, you lose your binder and have to start again. Also, they don't archive all the old recipes consistently so sometimes if you save a link (to get around the disappearing binder problem), the link also may disappear. And another issue is that it is not very consistent about the availability online of a given recipe you have seen on a show, or even if a current link to a currently running show will be available or not. And my final issue is (and this is probably not the BBC's fault at all and beyond their control) that there are two other websites easily confused with this one - the BBC Good Food magazine site and the UK TV Food website. They are all quite good, all have recipe binders and all look alarmingly similar. So of course I now have to search the binders of all three, and then search the recipe databases of all three, to find a particular recipe that I know exists but can't quite remember where I saw it. Modern life is so complicated, eh? I used to only need to remember which cookbook I saw it in, and 99% of the time it was Joy of Cooking.

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