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BBC completes CBBC website relaunch

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The BBC has today completed the phased relaunch of the CBBC website, introducing a refreshed visual design and improved functionality.

Phil Buckley, BBC Children's portfolio and product manager at BBC Future Media, said that relaunching the children's website has proved a "surprisingly perilous business".

The first iteration of the CBBC website was launched in 1995 by presenter Toby Anstis, but the site was redesigned in 2007, leading to a negative reaction from some users. On a BBC comments forum, one person wrote after the relaunch: "I have a distraught 4-year-old managing to say through the tears, 'I want the old website'."

Writing in a BBC blog posting published today, Buckley said that it was with "some trepidation" that his team completed the latest relaunch of the CBBC site, although there have been largely "positive reactions" so far.

In January, the BBC announced a major restructure of BBC Online under the new Putting Quality First strategy, including a 25% reduction in the division's budget, the closure of hundreds of websites and the loss of up to 360 jobs.

Putting Quality First also placed greater importance on making CBBC's online products more distinctive, providing a digital hub for "tomorrow's licence-fee payers".

Towards that aim, the new CBBC site increases collaboration between the technology and editorial teams, making great children's content more easily accessible.

The relaunch process began in February, starting with a more easily navigable format involving a database-driven design showcasing the breadth of CBBC content available.

Today, the BBC has completed the relaunch by introducing a new visual design, maintaining elements of the old look but with "better functionality".

Buckley said that the new site has been "heavily user tested to positive reactions", but that a team is still working on the project to fix any issues flagged by users.

"Personally I am hugely proud of this release, and I hope that the way we have managed the change and the website as a whole are testimonies to increasing collaboration between tech and editorial - great content, easily surfaced - as promised in the recent announcements around Putting Quality First," he added.

"I would again like to thank the team for their tremendous efforts in getting it out; do let me know if the changes have made you laugh or cry."

CBBC web relaunch

© BBC

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