BBC Shuffle

Published on 01 June 2014

This is a project about web, mobile, video, tv, bbc and prototype.

A televisual way to find something to watch right now

This project started life as Infinite Trailers, a way to find interesting programmes to watch later by viewing a continous stream of clips. Likes and dislikes fed a client side recommender engine improving the selection as the user interacted with them. If a user liked the clip, they could add it to a list for later.

The BBC Shuffle interface

The project team liked the televisual nature of the prototype—you just pressed play to start. But saving to a list for later felt wrong. Current patterns for presenting recommendations commonly show you an image and some text and you need to imagine what the programme is like from that. Shuffle uses the same recommender engine as the previous prototype but started playing a programme from BBC iPlayer immediately. If you like the programme, you just keep on watching, just like channel surfing. We take these implicit actions (watching or clicking next) as likes and dislikes for the recommender.

I implemented Shuffle as a single-page web application using JavaScript. I integrated the BBC's Standard Media Player into the application so it could load on demand programmes from the BBC.

The application was shown to the public on BBC Taster, the BBC's home for experimental new ideas where it was well received. I wrote a blog post on the BBC Internet blog about the architecture of the project.