British Film Institute ScreenshotThe BFI website like an number of others under went a major upgrade during 2006. The logo has changed and the site has broadly been divided up into five main sections (See films, shop for films, learn about films, research films, download films). These headings are good descriptions of the content which is contained within in each section. To the side of these main headings are further information (about BFI, cinemas, film & tv info, national archive, publications, join the BFI). There isn’t enough space in this column to go into every section in detail, so a selection of sections have been highlighted, but it is worth exploring the others.

I have decided to highlight three sections ‘Cinemas’, ‘Film & TV Info’ and ‘Download Film’.

Under the ‘cinemas’ section there is a comprehensive listings for the National Film Theatre, BFI Imax, BFI Touring Programmes and Digital Test Bed which is useful if you are planning on visiting any of the venues.

A section worth exploring is the ‘Download Film’ where there are a selection of archive clips which you are able to download and view. If you are a BFI member then you get to download a film each month.

Another section worth looking at is the ‘Film & TV Info’ section which takes you to an area where you can search the Film & TV Database, BFI National Library and Book Catalogue, find a comprehensive Film Links Gateway, Researchers’ Guide, Information Services, Statistics and Publications.

Navigation of this site is straight forward. At the top of each page are the section links, along with the secondary section links. The site uses the popular three column approach which allows there to be menus on the left and right hand sides of each page. Finally there is a crumb trail at the top of the page. There are two additional useful tools for navigation on this site. The sitemap (found at the bottom of the page) provides a comprehensive overview of all the content and subsections across the site and a search option which is available on most pages.

The website has tried to be as accessible as possible and has a whole page dedicated to it. Viewing the site in text only is very easy not to difficult to navigate. There are no problems with viewing the site in either Firefox of Internet Explorer or 1024×768 or 800×600.

There is a vast amount of information on this site, catering for a wide range of users. The site offers plenty of opportunity for watching the website.

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Download Times:

Connection Rate Download Time
14.4K 37.74 seconds
28.8K 18.87 seconds
33.6K 16.17 seconds
56K 9.70 seconds
ISDN 128K 2.97 seconds
T1 1.44Mbps 0.26 seconds

Navigation: *****
Good Design: *****
Updates: *****
Download Speed: *****
Overall: *****

Overall: This site has been really thought about from it’s content to it’s design and accessibility. There is a wide range of information to keep most film lovers interested for ages. This site comes highly recommended.

Testing Information: This site is tested using a laptop at 1024 x 768 resolution running Windows XP, Firefox Version and Internet Explorer 7 over a 8Mb Broadband connection. For the text only test Lynx on a Linux Server is used. A website entitled is used to test the web site to calculate the download speeds.