BBC News Application for Android

Supporting and enhancing the new BBC News app

Last week we launched a brand new version of the BBC News App on iOS and Android which I'd written about here before the release went live. Karolina Iwaszko, who managed the release of the product gave an overview of the new features at the end of last week as we went live.

The release has generated a huge amount of feedback on this blog, on Twitter and in App store reviews. I want to write to give you an overview of the feedback we've seen, and let you know the first steps we're taking to take on board your feedback.

Feedback so far

We’ve had a wide range of feedback from users who both like and dislike the changes that have been made.

On feedback questionnaires a lot of users really like the new, cleaner design, the ability to follow topics, and we can see from data that they are consuming two or three times as much video as they were with the previous version.

Some users say that they find any change difficult to adapt to at first and we will work to make the instruction tips and guide videos easy to understand.

A lot of the feedback on this blog has been from people who really liked the old app and are very unhappy that we've changed something they felt wasn't broken. Many of those people saying they find it hard to scan the top stories with the new app and are confused by the new design. Some people feel that the images are too big and Android users highlighted that some of their phone widget features were no longer working as they had.

There have also been a lot of and questions asking us why we haven't released a Windows version of the app.

On twitter it's been possible to see a much more balanced view of positive and negative feedback from amongst the 2.5 million app upgrades that have happened in 5 days.

We have read every tweet and comment posted about the app since launch; we're delighted when people say how much they enjoy it, but take the negative feedback very seriously and are using it to prioritise our first post live feature releases this week. We also have a survey in the new app that we're encouraging all users to complete so that we get as representative a view from our users as possible

With an installed base of several million users it is impossible to please all of users with every change we make. But do believe us that we're going to be intensely focused on making changes that make our users happier and consume more content.

"Why did you change the old app?"

It's clear from comments and usage data on the old app that it did one thing really well for users who wanted to scan through the top 20-30 stories quickly.

But the old app didn’t adequately serve all of the BBC's audience or editorial needs ; it had no local news, didn’t show related content or allow you to follow topics, and it didn't surface video content effectively. So we were serving a core "skimming" audience very well, but many users found it unappealing or with little engaging content that they were interested in.

So an app that allows a user to create a more personal experience, which is a new home for the BBC's Local News, and surfaces the very best related content, including audio and video that we produce as a digital broadcaster, were the key drivers for change

We see from usage data that there are now updated versions of the app on over 2.5 million devices across the UK. Users of those devices are already using the new app more often and consuming more content in it. Over 600k users have begun to personalise the app.

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