BBC Brasil gets ‘gelified’

Those of you who read the foreign language BBC News sister sites will have noticed that the language services are, one by one, going through a process to bring them in line with Big Brother – the English news site.

The latest one to go through the standardisation process is BBC Brasil – the BBC’s Portuguese-language Brazil-facing news site.

The process is known within the BBC as “gelification” after the new system which is called GEL (Global Experience Language) – an attempt to bring all the language websites into alignment, bearing in mind that some of them are still using a very old version of the content production system (CPS) – like the Azeris.

As with the other languages, Verdana is making way for Arial as the BBC’s standard online font.

BBCNews.com started the trend, going through its own metamorphosis in July 2010 – and although there have been mixed reviews, I think most people have agreed that it was worth it.

It’s certainly gone a long way since 1999 – as you can see (picture – right)!

As I prepare to leave the BBC after four-and-a-half years here, it’s a funny sensation knowing that things are going to carry on without me – that they’re going to continue to evolve and, hopefully for the better.

At the same time, the number of language services at the BBC has dropped from 44 when I joined to 27 now after massive cuts – partly to fund Arabic and Persian TV – and now as part of the government’s short-sighted hacking of the state budget. A massive blow for the BBC World Service – and one that I hope can be halted, if not reversed.

But, this is BBC Brasil’s day – and let it not be overcast by my misgivings about what’s happening with rest of the World Service.

It has a bright new “gelified” future ahead of it – with bigger videos, more interactivity and most importantly, the same high-quality articles that will now be easier to read and more aesthetically pleasing.

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