A couple of days ago, while thinking about the whole ‘MCN for the arts‘ thing that I mentioned in the last post, I popped over to BFI Player to see what’s happening with that.

There was a survey and, having 5 mins to spare and being a civic-minded individual, I filled it out. Seeing as how I spent a bit of time on one of the questions – I think it was a general ‘any other feedback’ one – I thought I’d post what I wrote here…

I really want to like BFI Player but each time I’ve gone there it’s been difficult to find a way in.

The homepage is currently swamped with trailers, which I really don’t see as the main thing that something like this has to offer. Can that category be excluded from Most Popular? That’d be a quick win.

The genres could do with tidying up too – discussions, interviews and lectures all seem of a kind and would stop cluttering the place up so much.

Those are minor gripes really. The biggie for me is that I find the barrier to participation just that little bit too high. Here’s how I’d fix that if I was involved.

There are two categories of film that I (and, I’m willing to bet, the majority of people coming to the site) want to be able to find quickly and easily:
1. Free films; and/or
2. Films I’m likely to have heard of.

If you were to hook me with those categories, get me registered on your site, learn a little about what I like and then educate me with the rest of the BFI catalogue then everyone’s a winner. I might even end up spending some money with you.

Hope that helps!

Looking at the site today the thing with the trailers isn’t nearly so bad, but why not just link to them from under the actual film (having them come up in a lightbox or something) rather than featuring them among the actual films? Also, there really is quite a bit on there that I’d heard good things about – Blue Is The Warmest Colour, The Selfish Giant, Sightseers, Berberian Sound Studio…

Thinking about it some more, have they made the classic mistake of categorising their films in a way that makes sense to them (Inside Film, Artists’ Moving Image) rather than one that makes sense to users (free, well-known)? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Whatever, good to see them getting some input from users on this stuff.

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.