The BBC News Explainers


Role Product designer

BBC News explainers are a deep dive into a given theme or news topic produced by the BBC journalists using an in-house CMS called IDT (In-depth Toolkit). The amount of content, and circumstances around the content development and upload varies from a reactional piece to a breaking news story, to a carefully prepared in-depth topic produced over many months. 

Along with UX Designer Rebecca McKavanagh and front-end developer Ben Bowler we worked closely with the Journalism team to re-design the IDT ensuring the new approach would make workflows easier, be more time efficient and most importantly scalable across the BBC News ecosystem. 


There are a number of different behaviour types for online reading and consuming of content. The primary audience for the news explainers are 'Connoisseurs', who have a ‘digging’ style of online reading behaviour – they enjoy the deeper exploration of stories, delving into the details.

At the same time as catering for these hyper-inquisitive readers, we also needed to design for users with different online reading behaviour –  'Super visual snackers' those looking simply for a topic overview or the ability to skim sections without digging deeper.

Key consumption behaviours

We worked mobile first to design and build a fully responsive set of toolkit components for different media types that when combined create a rich, intuitive and engaging experience for readers. We focused the visual design of  the UI to be inline with the BBC’s GEL guidelines whilst really pushing the navigational devices, animations and transition to give a sense of progression to encourage and reward consumption.