Prototype development: BBC Lifespan

In early 2013 the BBC invited Unthinkable to build a prototype “Minimum Viable Concept” for a time-based exploration of the BBC archives, enhanced by and integrated with a user’s personal historical timeline (dubbed BBC Lifespan).

We’ve had some very rich and enjoyable conversations over the years with some of the BBC’s brightest thinkers about learning, including Chris Sizemore and Richard Northover. So we were thrilled when Chris commissioned us to develop a prototype for Richard’s brainchild Lifespan idea. This project built on Unthinkable’s work with BBC Knowledge & Learning throughout 2012 on a series of research reports investigating time-based navigation, URL strategy and transmedia commissioning. Our understanding of the strategic aims of BBC Knowledge & Learning, alongside our own long-standing preoccupation with the phenomenon of self-archiving using digital technology, enabled us to deliver a prototype that supported these long-terms aims as well as the intriguing and original vision that has been outlined to us for Lifespan. Our functional prototype enabled users to create data about their personal timeline and to compare that with the lives of famous people and institutions.

We were proud to collaborate on this project with the award winning experience design and engineering agency Tellart. The project had a formative influence on the BBC Taster project Your Story.