David Payne: Your feedback about the bmj.com redesign

David Payne We’ve redesigned the BMJ website. It went live late on Tuesday evening (UK time), with a prominent feedback button on the homepage asking for comments. We’ve produced a video guide to the new site, and an editorial explaining some of the changes, as well as some FAQs that we will update on an ongoing basis. This blog highlights some of the issues you have raised so far and what we are doing to address them.

Most of you were very complimentary about the new look. Article pages were described as cleaner and more contemporary. The colour coded specialty pages are getting noticed. Headlines on the homepage and four content channel pages (research, education, news, comment) are proving popular because busy clinicians often don’t have time to read introductory paragraphs.

It’s impossible to get a site 100% bug-free before launch, and there’s a sizeable list of slight glitches to sort out. Some of these will be solved on Monday. We now have a fortnightly schedule of site releases in the run-up to Christmas to sort out the remaining ones. More serious ones will get prioritised.

But let me address some of the specific questions we have been asked so far:


We know obituaries are very popular with some print readers, so we haven’t tended to promote them online. But we have had a couple of emails asking for these to be more prominent, so we will introduce a clickable list of the latest obituaries on the comment channel, with a link through to more.

If you want to find a specific obituary, the search box at the top of the comment channel allows you to limit search results to obituaries. You can also do this via the advanced search.

Print issue

Since 2008 we’ve provided two tables of contents – the weekly print one, and a “7 day” one that updates each time we publish new articles. One reader emailed to say he couldn’t find the print table of contents.

There is a print cover image icon on the homepage top right, click this and you get taken to the print table of contents. On this page we’ve noticed the large cover image icon is blurry. We are working to solve this problem.

There is also a “ticker” bar across the whole site which flashes quick links to content. One of these links to the print table of contents.

Rapid responses

We’ve had a few emails about rapid responses. Some of you cannot find them. There is a panel on every article page (where 80% of our traffic goes to) listing the latest responses, with a link to see more.

We plan to move this higher up the page so it’s more prominent, and to find a slot on the homepage. This panel can also be found on the comment channel. There is a search box on this page that allows you to search rapid responses.

We’ve also provided a link to the latest responses on the “ticker bar” described above.


Finally, a selection of responses is chosen each week for the letters section in print and online. The letters section is accessible via the print and 7-day table of contents.

We plan to introduce a feed of the latest letters on the comment channel, with a link through to more.

I’ll be publishing further blog updates about your feedback and how we are responding to it in the coming days and weeks. Please keep your feedback coming at bmjredesign@bmj.com

David Payne is editor, bmj.com

  • Te BMJ search facility is now apalling.  It is impossible to search rapid responses using key words, specific authors, and proper phrases.   When you try using the one measly box which is supposed to cover all… …, the titles come up garbled with all sorts of nonsense egyptian script.  I tried, using my own name… , and totally irrelevant rapid responses came up, just because they have one word in the text in your search parameter…. What's worse, when you try using a detailed google search to try to improve on the abysmal facility within BMJ, google can't make sense of it either, and tells us that most of the URLs can't be found.

    Decent search facilites aren't rocket science, and should be the bedrock of accurate medicine, both in practice, research and website design.

  • Dpayne

    Dear Hilary – thanks for your feedback. Sorry you're having problems, and apologies for not replying earlier.

    I'm assuming you searched using the rapid response search page at http://www.bmj.com/comment/rap

    You can also search RRs using the quick search, but this now pulls in all articles, plus podcasts and pages in our About BMJ section. In the New Year we will introduce more filters so you can isolate which types of content you wish to search.

    I have logged as a bug the fact that some titles include odd characters. I've also asked that we add the date published, and the author (ie make it more like article search results).

    The advanced search no longer searches rapid responses, but there is a
    link from this page to the rapid response page, with a search box at the

    The Google issue should rectify itself in the near future. Some of our urls have changed. We had a lengthy list of redirects, so many bookmarked urls will still work. We blocked Google from crawling out site just after we launched to reduce load on it as it settled down, but I understand they are now being allowed back in.