BBC Connected: UX&D Build studio

BBC Connected: UX&D Build studio

Its was unusually quiet in the Design department last week, maybe it was Wes was working from home or that Martin and I were recovering from the BBC connected UX&D studio earlier in the week.

Several weeks ago, Wes and Olly delivered a two minute pitch to the BBC for their UX&D Connected Studio. The pitch left a good impression with the panel and we were invited back to join the next stage of the workshop. So Martin and I packed our bags and travelled to Media City in Salford.

The event was a 2 day long build of ideas pitched in the first stage, combining agencies across the country and inviting them to work with the BBC creative teams to develop ideas for their online services.

We were paired with a couple of internal BBC designers to develop our idea. We worked over the two days from initial concept through to a live demo at the end of the second day.

Having Natalie and Ste from the BBC UX team was really useful, it allowed us to focus on delivering an idea that could sit alongside current products and fit the voice of the BBC. This was also handy when Natalie (who works on GEL) was able to supply the design assets and advise on look and feel when creating the demo.

Being part of a mixed team was a real benefit, Ste and Natalie had the insight to hone and improve our ideas, meeting the needs of the BBC users. When that got too pragmatic, we were able to offer suggestions outside of a large organisation and push some more ambitious parts of the project.

When focusing on delivering a demo, we adapted to different roles throughout the lifecycle of the project. These included generating ideas, discovery, user journeys, wireframing, developing and making the tea. The speed of the project became a big learning curve. Decisions were made fast, we worked iteratively and ditched stuff that wasn’t being used.

Out of all of the groups, we were the only team to tackle a mobile prototype. Martin was able to add some gestures and using a custom bit.ly link we encouraged the audience to load the demo on their own phones to interact with it. The presentation allowed twelve minutes to outline our idea, how it would work, where it would be positioned in the BBC product family and demo the prototype.

The workshop was really, really hard work but very rewarding. Seeing the presentations and the way other teams worked was inspiring and gave us ideas of how we can deliver work in the future.

The decision of whether or not our idea should be developed into a working pilot is in the hands of the judges and we can’t wait to hear their decision, but we found the experience rewarding and valuable even if it doesn’t go our way.

Being paid to attend the BBC connected studios added value to the ideas we developed, the outline of the workshop was very transparent and proved how forward thinking the BBC are. This open approach to collaborative work is good for the industry and promotes better working relationships in the future.

Everyone who organised the event was really friendly and quick to offer specialist advice. Doing BBC Connected Studio has changed our perceptions of working large corporations. The level of detail and strategy behind the products is really interesting and we certainly benefitted from the thinking behind it.

Plus we got to see Mick Hucknall.