Not every BBC project has generous budgets and teams of developers. With such a huge website there are always low priority sites. In 2003 the A-Z index was one of those sites. So we tinkered with it...
2000, before my time
2001, as inherited
redesigned as part of the BBCi relaunch in 2001 but the division of links between ‘name’ and ‘subject’ confused users.
we simply changed the two sections to popular and more. Now the most frequently clicked links were more easily accessible.
a custom search report showed us popular searches alphabetically, making it easy to popular the top section of the a-z
2. many popular shows did not have a website. We could see from the search logs that users came to the a-z and then searched for shows they would never find.
Inspired by empty DVD cases in HMV (telling you the DVD wasn’t out yet)... we made simple pages to say there was no website to look for and suggesting other places to go.
3. there was a lot of stuff pushing the actual links down the page. On pages with lots of popular sites like ‘S’ that could mean the whole second section was below the fold.
so we moved the help section to the bottom of the page, where it was actually more likely to be useful. Marketing were unhappy that the promo moved but we suggested the bottom of page might be a more ‘seducible moment’.