The concept of personalised homepages just doesn’t go away. Just about every media company/portal seems to have tried it once and the BBC is back for a second go with the the new BBC Beta homepage.
Despite all the hullabaloo, the first wave of personalised sites failed. The failure was partly that the technology didn’t quite live up to the CMS company hype and partly that people wouldn’t invest the time in personalising the site.
So will things be different this time? I think it is a question of how well the site can automagically learn what I like without me having to tell it. If it works in a brave Amazon recommendations type way, I think it could have something in it, but if the system sits their timidly only recommending things that match exact phrases I’ve already searched for, I think it is only a matter of time before it goes the way of My BBC.
Richard Titus, Acting Head of User Experience at the BBC, has blogged about the project (A lick of paint for the BBC Homepage). Well worth a read and a healthy set of passionate comments from the viewing public.
I have great faith in the BBC and the guile of their staff. If anyone can make personalisation really sing on a media site it is them.