BBC World Service

Web DeveloperJune 2012 — August 2013
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What is World Service?

The BBC World Service is a sub-division of the BBC which handles international broadcasting services for over 40 different languages.

What was my role?

I joined their development team during my University placement year. The purpose of this year was to attain real industry experience.

What did I work on?

During my time there, I worked across two major projects: the 2012 London Olympics and BBC World Service Responsive.

2012 London Olympics

Achieving 1.6 million page impressions on story pages alone, the Olympics Live Action Feeds module was the most popular of all the Olympics related projects built by the BBC World Service team during this year's games.

"Coming up" displayed the time until the next five events, highlighting any which were under 15 minutes.

Olympics data including upcoming events and number of medals.

"Latest gold medalists" showed the total number of gold medals won; and on hovering over the white circle, a popup box displayed the name, country and event of the latest gold medalist.

I distinctly remember convincing the team to use border-radius for the white circle rather than using a sprite.

Olympics data displaying a tooltip containing info on the latest gold medalist.

"In detail" was a personalised medal table showing a select list of countries selected by that language service.

A table of medals of three countries in Hindi.

The full medal table rendered all the countries who had won medals.

A table with many rows of medals in English.

The modules supported 27 different languages and bi-directional layouts to render right-to-left scripts.

A comparison of left-to-right (Burmese) and right-to-left (Arabic) layouts.

The design of the module would adapt to either a single- or double-column layout to allow for editorial freedom.

The BBC Bangla home page with the Olympics module in-situ.

BBC World Service Responsive

This project marked the move from the old static published pages to the new modular, responsive website, integrating with the English BBC News codebase.

The BBC News home page on mobile.

During my employment, I worked on the release of the Afrique, Arabic, Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Spanish and Russian sites.

I was exposed to the complexities of localisation including time zones, language, fonts, and layout. I had a leading role in developing the code to handle right-to-left layouts.

The BBC Arabic home page on mobile.

Due to the demographic of the services we supported, there was a large focus on supporting third-world technologies. Mobile first and progressive enhancement were extremely important for the World Service as we had to support the oldest Nokia devices connected to WAP internet.

The BBC Indonesia home page on mobile.


Read more about the responsive design project on the Responsive News Developer Blog and the BBC Internet Blog.

The BBC Responsive News Team was also shortlisted for The Net Awards 2015 Team of the Year category.