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BBC iWonder guides: placing the user in the heart of the story

Discovering something new about yourself and the world around you is a key ambition for iWonder. This ambition formed the basis for a series of interactives we created for the BBC, covering themes such as personality traits, personal finances, meal planning, left-handedness and online dating. Each interactive asks the audience a set of simple questions to provide results that place them in the heart of the story.

Happiest Place Test

The ‘Happiest Place Test’ looked at how personality traits can affect suitability for living in different regions of Britain, using data from a survey of 400,000 people. Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Helsinki analysed the data, which showed that each district in Britain scores differently across the ‘big five’ personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. The research also revealed that an individual’s similarity to the average personality traits of different regions, could affect how highly they score in life satisfaction. A user’s happiest place result is based on these studies.

Eleven simple questions provide a low/medium/high value for each of the five personality traits, along with a life satisfaction score for four results: the place they would be happiest; the place they would be least happy; the nearest happier place; the place they currently live. Each result contained personality traits and demographic information about that region.

Read more about the research, and take the test, on the BBC iWonder website.

Applied Works have a rigorous, creative approach to developing editorial ideas and have been highly collaborative partners in our projects. Above all, their distinctive UX and design skills have turned promising commissions into audience successes.

Mike Orwell, Science Editor, BBC iWonder


Dating, eating and ambidextrousness

Subsequent guides gave us the opportunity to develop different approaches for different stories, whilst maintaining consistency within the iWonder framework.

The Secret to Getting an Online Date supported a Horizon programme presented by Dr Hannah Fry, looking at how decisions about your dating profile can affect your chances of success. We commissioned Owen Gatley to illustrate profile pictures that populate the guide. The Left-handedness Test we created for Wimbledon 2016 asked why lefties are more likely to win at tennis, while our Eat Well for Less at Christmas guide offered people recipe choices based on their personal circumstances.