Ever since I got involved with this Internet malarkey I have used the British Broabcasting Corporation's
online efforts as an example of good practice. From domain name registration
to content management, the BBC have got it right [OK, the purchase - and subsequent use - of BBC.com was, in retrospect, questionable].
I also make the point that it is the background of the BBC - providers of information - that
makes them good online, that experience [and skills developed within it] transferred easily to the Internet. The techie
aspect was the easy part [I make the same point with regard to most of what is good online, for example;
the best online copy is written by folk who learned their trade before the Internet was an Information super-dirt-track -
but that is a different argument for a different time]. In one of my chapters of
Online Marketing - a customer led approach
I present the BBC's 12 deadly sins of web site design
as an excellent guide to web development.
More recently - OK, 2006 - the BBC's Director-General has delivered a paper on the
future of the corporation [BBC 2.0:
why on demand changes everything],
specifically addressing the impact of 'new media' applications. Part of this BBC 2.0 project was
the BBC's 15 web principles. They are:
- Build web products that meet audience needs: anticipate needs not yet fully articulated by audiences,
then meet them with products that set new standards.
- The very best websites do one thing really, really well: do less, but execute perfectly.
- Do not attempt to do everything yourselves: link to other high-quality sites instead.
Your users will thank you. Use other people's content and tools to enhance your site, and vice versa.
- Fall forward, fast: make many small bets, iterate wildly, back successes, kill failures, fast.
- Treat the entire web as a creative canvas: don't restrict your creativity to your own site.
- The web is a conversation. Join in: Adopt a relaxed, conversational tone. Admit your mistakes.
- Any website is only as good as its worst page: Ensure best practice editorial processes are adopted
and adhered to.
- Make sure all your content can be linked to, forever.
- Remember your granny won't ever use 'Second Life': She may come online soon, with very different
needs from early-adopters.
- Maximise routes to content: Develop as many aggregations of content about people, places, topics,
channels, networks & time as possible. Optimise your site to rank high in Google.
- Consistent design and navigation needn't mean one-size-fits-all: Users should always know they're
on one of your websites, even if they all look very different. Most importantly of all, they know they
won't ever get lost.
- Accessibility is not an optional extra: Sites designed that way from the ground up work better for
- Let people paste your content on the walls of their virtual homes: Encourage users to take nuggets
of content away with them, with links back to your site.
- Link to discussions on the web, don't host them: Only host web-based discussions where there is a
- Personalisation should be unobtrusive, elegant and transparent: After all, it's your users' data.
Best respect it.
Obviously, these are for an organization that has [something like] the dissemination of information as
its online objective - but this list should be pinned up above all web designers' computers.