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500 Words 2017 C

500 Words is back!

16th January, 2017

Since 2014, we’ve worked with the BBC to help develop their Radio 2 500 Words competition and we’re very happy to announce that the 2017 competition site is live and ready for submissions!

With each year that’s passed, the competition has grown in popularity and with that the needs of the audience have evolved. Last year the total submissions to the site reached over 100,000 with most of the submissions coming through on deadline day! With that in mind, 2017 seemed like the perfect opportunity to revisit the site’s core functionality to ensure that it is truly built to meet the needs of its users.

An important part of this process was a major review of the site’s user experience. Following a series of workshop sessions with the 500 Words team, we developed over 100 user stories that were used to inform a set of new designs for the site, as well as the technology used to build it.

The result is a new, robust system created to make the process of submitting short stories easier and smoother not just for the writers, but for the internal BBC teams and competition judges also.

Since Chris Evans started the BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition in 2010, it has become one of the most successful story-writing competitions in the world with nearly half a million children submitting stories over the years. Last year the competition ended in a live broadcast finale on Evans’ breakfast show where acclaimed judges (including Malorie Blackman, Charlie Higson, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Francesca Simon and honorary judge, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall) presented the finalists with awards.

The journey of this project has been a great experience for the team and also a big responsibility, but we’re confident our new product will help build on the competition’s success.

With submissions now open, we’re excited to see the wonderful stories that come in from aspiring writers and to see where this competition takes them!