BBC Newsbeat

Creating a leading digital news service for the Snapchat generation

The way people stay up to date with news is changing, particularly for those under 25. Vice, Reddit and Buzzfeed all offer more entertaining, snackable ways to consume news, and platforms like Facebook and Snapchat are as much a link to current events as they are to friends and family. In this landscape, BBC Newsbeat, the national broadcaster’s news service aimed at 16 – 24yr olds, had some catching up to do.

Moving Brands, as one of the BBC’s lead digital creative partners, was engaged to reinvent the Newsbeat offer. We worked with editorial, product and brand teams to create a news product that is the first-choice destination for young people, and to create a digital-first identity and experience that was as vibrant and distinct as its audience.

Objective

In order to build a news service for a demographic that was redefining content consumption, we needed to understand the audience’s needs better than they knew themselves. It was important to create a unique experience that didn’t patronise or feel gimmicky.

With our client working alongside the Moving Brands team day-to-day in the studio, we collaboratively defined the proposition and design principles of the site.

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Approach

We took inspiration from the Newsbeat name, with the brand, user experience and even the content drawing on the rhythm of ‘the beat.’ Every movement and transition was carefully considered.
The wordmark is designed to react to the beat; when a user hits pre-programmed points within the site, a beat sequence animation is triggered in the mark. The grid system is built to replicate a simple music time signature – all elements of the grid are divisible by four, with content landing on or off the beat. Importantly, this system adheres to the existing BBC Global Experience Language.

Content loads vertically, using a card system to help with pacing and navigation. The cards have considered motion parameters; the tilt is reactive to the user, using physics to control the movement. A unique component of the newsbeat system is the colour picking method, a tool which uses tones found within editorial imagery, applied as slice overlays.

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Results

The BBC Newsbeat site launched in April, followed by the native app in June, with a responsive experience that reacts, behaves and adapts to its users. The first article published on the new site went on to trend on twitter – for a site that aimed to be more sharable and social than any of its peers, this marked a huge success.

Moving Brands’ involvement marked a turning point in the project. The team was able to very quickly understand what we were trying to achieve, and worked closely with various internal teams to ensure the outcome was a success from a technical, content and brand perspective.

Robin Pembrooke, Head of Product BBC News & Weather Online

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