Another day, another BBC beta. Or two betas to be precise, both of which have been taking up a fair bit of my time and headspace over the past year or so.
One is bbc.co.uk/topics (a companion piece of sorts to bbc.co.uk/programmes, which launched as a beta last October) which aims to automatically aggregate the most relevant and up-to-date content bbc.co.uk has to offer on any given topic, be it a person, place or subject. It's very much a beta at present, covering only the tip of the potential topics iceberg (66 at the time of writing) and is still a bit rough around the edges in places, but the potential is hugely exciting. Matt McDonnell has the full low down over at the BBC Internet Blog.
The other is the first two manifestations of a suite of new genre indexes; one around Gardening, one focused on Arts & Culture (with similar pages for Drama, Food, Science & Nature, Health, Film, Religion, Lifestyle, Ethics, Comedy, Entertainment, Parenting and History all in the pipeline). These new indexes replace a disparate assortment of existing genre homepages with a much more coherent portfolio, balancing consistent navigational elements and layout with distinctive visual design in line with the new 'visual language' of bbc.co.uk. These elements include a main promo area consistent with the new BBC homepage and a 'TV and Radio Programmes' module, automatically pulling in relevant episodes from bbc.co.uk/programmes. Props to David Kidger, Alex Youngs, Richard Cable, Adam Powers, Michelle Butler, Ian Hamilton, Al Boley and Peter Barclay.