BBC Sounds: Projects that are bigger than life

At the start of this semester, we began looking at the D&AD New Blood awards and some of the design briefs set by real-world clients as part of this. The D&AD organisation started in 1962 when a group of designers and art directors came together to celebrate creative communication and raise standards within the industry.

The New Blood competition allows those entry level designers to gain an accolade that is recognized in the design world. From 2500 entries, the D&AD judges pick 16 pieces of work to receive a Yellow Pencil Award!

As part of these awards, one of the briefs was the ‘BBC Sounds UX design’ brief. Although there were some other briefs I felt that I could have had more fun with (LADBIBLE x Adobe), I wanted to do something I had been studying a little already, to see if it was really something I wanted to learn more about and take into a future career.

One of the key concepts I took away from the brief is that the BBC is for Everyone. The BBC has always created content for people of all ages and groups and the BBC sounds application is no different although there is more focus on Podcasts and recorded radio shows, rather than television shows. The task felt like a really big one, help the BBC, a multi-million-pound company design the user experience of an audio streaming app. I’d never designed an app before, nor one specifically for music streaming. But I did know how some of Spotify works and the way in which Netflix worked to bring a personalised experience to a digital platform. The BBC brief also wanted to know what emerging technologies were coming out which may help them to differentiate from the current offerings from their competitors. This was a very difficult brief to read and understand. The information given was very vague and there were very little attached resources to help along the way bar a BBC logo.

To conclude this post, the D&AD New Blood awards really do allow young and aspiring designers to show their skill to the world. In my case I hope to use the BBC Sounds brief to show the process of how I design websites so that I can use this in the long term to show clients an idea of the work that happens behind the scenes so that their websites can look and feel great to use. Of the briefs which piqued my interest, the BBC brief was the one I felt that would be most challenging, yet still achievable in the time frame.

The content of the brief was very restricted and this is something I needed to work on as a designer, to be able to work within restrictions rather than work freely without any. Although there was the freedom to design anything I wanted, the emphasis was on using new and emerging technology to improve the current offering by the BBC to the streaming platform market. In the next few posts, I will look deeper into the BBC and UX design, the two most important factors for this project.

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