Continuing the innovation strategy work that we’ve been doing with the BBC Academy, we recently launched the ‘Choose Your Own BBC Career Journey‘ prototype. This was a piece of work that came from a requirement to investigate how we could help young people to better find their way through the maze of (helpful) advice from the BBC and partners. Most pertinently we needed to get them to the particular trainee scheme or apprenticeship that matched their interests and experience.
We wanted to rapidly prototype a new technical and editorial approach to providing careers information, so over the course of two workshops with writer and creative Helen Hutchinson, designer and UX maven Jasia Warren and product owner Don Kong, we wrestled with Twine. Twine is the rather fabulous and occasionally flaky open source technology built on top of Jeremy Ruston’s equally fabulous tiddlywiki. Twine was designed as a quick and dirty branching narrative engine, beloved of games makers, and the underlying tech grist to the gamergate controversy.
There were advantages and disadvantages to using Twine for this type of project. The development environment can be unpredictable. We were very fortunate to have developer James Reed’s help in cleaning up the code, and in bringing the product within the BBC’s technical environment, but even so we’re not certain that we’d fully trust Twine outside of a prototyping situation.
The feedback from users was encouraging though, with most respondents saying that they would like to see more ‘choose your own’ journeys from the BBC. We believe that this type of approach has value, and feel that a stronger, non-neutral editorial voice, perhaps even fronted by BBC talent, could help users to identify with a personal and trusted guide through resources. There were careers areas that we couldn’t cover including costume design and engineering, so we’d like to also cover those, and perhaps even index and tune our responses to the BBC’s search data.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project – please engage with us on Twitter at @kidhelios