BC Tip: The BBC – a choice between short and long-form analysis

Simple links allow users to opt for summary, in-depth or video analysis of a particular topic

Three versions of one section of the BBC News article; from left to right – ‘Short’, ‘Long’ and ‘Video’

The Feature

BBC News published an article on its website offering analysis of the November 2018 US midterm elections. Five ‘lessons’ from the election results are provided, under a heading for each – including ‘A record for female candidates’ and ‘The suburban split’.

Users are invited to click links labelled ‘Short’, ‘Long’ or, in some cases, ‘Video’ to choose between brief, detailed and video analysis of each of the lessons (see examples of each in the screenshots above.)

The Takeaway

This format could be adopted for use on corporate sites – giving users the choice between viewing summary and deeper information about a particular topic.

The BBC’s implementation of it could be improved, however. For example, some users may prefer a simplified choice between viewing a ‘Short’ and ‘Long’ version of the entire article, rather than being forced to make such choices for each of the five sections – which can be disorientating.

But the overall approach is a neat model for highlighting key points on a web page, while giving clear routes to deeper detail for visitors who want it.


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