After a rigorous and creative selection process, the BBC have announced their new User Experience and Design (UX&D) Digital Design Research roster, which features the eight agencies the BBC is now committed to work with for the next 2 years. Over 50 agencies applied to be part of the BBC’s roster, which were rigorously assessed on a research brief provided by the BBC. The eight selected agencies will be working to improve the user experience and design across all areas of the BBC, including BBC iPlayer, news, sport, CBBC and Bitesize.
The UX&D team wanted to balance the requirement to meet stringent European and BBC procurement guidelines with a creative approach, to allow the agencies' talents to shine, and so that they could get the best possible opportunity to understand the brand's needs and objectives. Much of the assessment was based on a research brief, and the BBC have said the responses they received from all the agencies they invited to tender were “Interesting, engaged and inspiring.” The roster they settled on, however, were selected sue to their a wide diversity of capabilities, backgrounds and approaches.
Gemma Newell, Creative Director for Design Research at BBC UX&D, said: “We see our research commissions as collaborations between the agencies and our internal research specialists. For this reason, we set up work packages in different research specialisms to allow us a more discursive working relationship with agencies, where we can understand each other’s perspectives, insights and expertise over time.”
The agencies selected and their assignments are as follows:
- CX Partners – International Research
- Foolproof – Children’s and Youth Research
- Join the Dots – Quantitative Research
- Plan Strategic – Service Design Research
- Revealing Reality – Ethnography and Contextual Research
- Sigma – Rapid Research (North)
- Sutherland Labs – Depth and Formal Lab-Based Research
- What People Want – Rapid Research (South)
Meriel Lenfestey, Partner at Foolproof, said of this agency's inclusion on the list: “The BBC is one of the most respected corporations in the UK, and top of their game when it comes to designing digital entertainment experiences. Carrying out design research with children is tricky but fascinating, so we’re delighted to have been appointed to their Digital Design Research roster as their Children’s and Youth research specialist. We’re excited to be helping the BBC design experiences for the next generation of digital users, who have high expectations of entertainment and for whom digital and physical experiences are one in the same.”
Graeme Lawrence, Director at Join the Dots, added: “We are delighted to add this iconic British brand to our client list. The BBC’s output is hugely varied and touches the lives of practically everyone in the UK. It will be exciting to bring our experience and research expertise to bear on their work.”
The roster offers the BBC a wider diversity of specialisms than they’ve had previously, which should allow them to explore new ways to understand their audience. Work with the new external partners will begin over the next few months.