How to win UX work from the BBC

The Beeb's Jane Murison explains how to get on the new BBC Digital Design Research roster.

The BBC is looking for new UX partners and user research firms to work on its digital products and services, such as iPlayer, CBeebies and CBBC, Bitesize, news and sport, as well as cross-platform experiences.

The BBC Digital Design Research roster, which will replace the existing BBC Usability and Accessibility Roster next year, is seeking to build strong and productive long term relationships with agencies of all sizes, capabilities and research specialisms to support its user experience and design processes.

Jane Murison (below) is the BBC’s head of user experience & design (UX&D) and children’s knowledge and learning. She put out a call this week for entries to the roster, which aims to improve the quality of the UX&D design research, and of the products and services it makes. The call also seeks to drive innovation and creativity of the BBC’s design research, and crucially, provide value for money.

The BBC will select 3-8 agencies to join a roster with a life of 2-4 years, from May 2016. Over that time, it expects to reward £3.5 - 5 million in contracts.

The BBC wants a wide range of research agencies to apply. The ability to carry out excellent task-based user research is a minimum requirement, and all agencies on the roster need to be exceptionally strong communicators. In a nod to helping the wider UK industry, it will aim to select agencies based in many different locations, since projects will be based in Salford, London, Glasgow and Cardiff.

Interested? First you need to register on the BBC’s e-tendering service Bravo Solutions. Then, throw your hat in the ring by answering the design research roster pre-qualification questions that you’ll find there, once you’ve registered. This site will help with any questions.

The BBC’s UX and design team is behind some of the UK’s best loved apps and websites for children. Based on programmes from the CBeebies channel for younger children and CBBC for older ones, the team has created apps including CBeebies Playtime and Storytime and Go CBBC.

Digital Arts interviewed Jane Murison last month, when she discussed the best approaches for conceiving, designing and testing apps for children.

It’s a fascinating read, packed with insight and advice from this usability and interaction expert.  It reveals what Jane has found out about what apps appeal to children, what designers should avoid doing, and how to get people to download apps – as well as her thoughts on what children’s apps should be and do.


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