BBC World Service

Dharmafly has been working with BBC World Service since 2007 on a collection of applications that help them reach out to their community with world news, involve them in conversations and convey complex issues with neat visual interfaces.

We’ve built upon each application with a step-wise, iterative process of development, which has given the organisation one very high profile award (the Sony Multiplatform Radio Award) and another award nomination (our Bangladesh River Journey app was declared a Webby Honoree, “in recognition of outstanding work”).

These projects have demanded an extremely high level of detail, and have been designed to meet the needs of a global audience of varied cultures, with meticulous testing, critical security, scalability, accessibility and high performance – all the while taking advantage of the cutting edge of web technology.

Vital statistics

  • Length of relationship: 7 years
  • Dharmafly team members: 15
  • BBC team members in direct contact: 27
  • Web apps delivered: 6

#1: Bangladesh River Journey

Blog post | Live site

BBC World Service: Bangladesh River Journey (screenshot)

40 BBC journalists from around the world took to a boat, to navigate the rivers of Bangladesh, tracking climate change and, unexpectedly, the great destruction caused by a massive cyclone. We built a system for reporters to send their longitude and latitude in a text message to Twitter, and we used this to plot their blog posts, photos and tweets on an interactive map for viewers to follow their journey. An API was built to propagate the content into third-party developers’ own applications.

The project won a Gold award at the Sony Radio Academy Awards (akin to an Oscar for the radio industry), and was nominated for a Webby – the most prestigious award for international web projects.

#2: Talking America

Blog post | Live site

BBC World Service: Talking America

In the run up to the historic elections that saw Barack Obama elected, we mapped the opinions of US voters and the reports from BBC journalists, concerning the situation and desires of an America on the verge of change. The application combined daily journalistic reporting, social media aggregation and geographical plotting.

#3: World Service Widget

Blog post | Live site

BBC World Service Widget

An ambitious project to spread World Service news articles, audio and video, out of the BBC’s website, and on to users’ websites, blogs, social media spaces and computer desktops, in the form of a expandable “widget” that keeps itself up-to-date with new content. The widget was launched in 16 world languages (and new ones continue to be added), and developed for 9 different web platforms – such as WordPress, Facebook, iGoogle, Adobe Air and Mac Dashboard.

#4: World Feeds

About World Service feeds

We created a system to convert news feeds for some of the BBC’s many world language channels, bringing news content to new destinations.

#5: Twitter Aggregator

About “Twagger”

This application lets BBC news editors maintain lists of news topics that their journalists are discussing on Twitter – such as the Haiti earthquake and the Africa Nations Football Cup. The news editor can then add a small widget that displays the journalists’ latest Twitter messages about a particular topic on to any page on the World Service website.

#6: World Have Your Say live

This application collects users’ comments on World Service live, phone-in radio programmes. The comments are collected from multiple channels, such as SMS text messages, email, blog posts and Facebook groups. The app then displays them in real-time on the World Service website, allowing users to discuss the issues with each other. To the user, the app feels like an Instant Messaging client such as Skype. To the BBC editor, it is a tool to manage the multiple programmes and comments that they generate.

Browse our other projects