When we began the project to relaunch RadioTimes.com, we took the decision to start from scratch. Some of the technology behind the old site was over a decade old, which in website terms is ancient and wouldn’t allow us to do all of the cool things that are now expected of us.
The new site uses entirely different technology and has been rebuilt from the ground up. This has meant that we’ve had to prioritise and take a few difficult decisions around maintaining existing functionality.
The main areas affected are channel preferences, the Your Programmes functionality and the list view.
There will shortly be a Radio Times sign in, alongside the existing Facebook and Twitter sign in. This was a more complicated piece of functionality to build, which is why it has arrived late in the process.
Existing user will be pleased to hear that we’re also migrating user accounts from the old site and we’ve been making sure that this is done in the smoothest and most secure way.
Although your account will move, we won’t be migrating the channel preferences. Because the new site works in a slightly different way, moving these preferences is a bit tricky. Instead we’ve focused on allowing users to customise the grid as simply as possible via the ‘my channels’ tab.
We apologies if this causes any frustration but the new system is a lot better and we think worth a very small amount of effort.
We’ve replaced the Your Programmes functionality with the new watchlist, which is easier to use and has lots of additional benefits. We found that because Your Programmes required registration and was presented in a fairly low-key way, few users were taking advantage of this and so have decided to replace this functionality with something better and more accessible.
The new watchlist does what Your Programmes did, only better, doesn’t require registration and it only takes one click to start following programmes and films. What’s more, you can follow programmes and films not currently airing on TV or radio (unlike on the old site) so that you can see when they return on TV, and you’re also alerted to their availability on catch-up and on-demand services. For dedicated users of Your Programmes, it will mean following your favourites again but it’s super easy and we think this will be worth it for the improvements we’ve made.
We’ve rebuilt our listings grid, a surprisingly complicated and intricate piece of functionality. Before we started we looked at how users were accessing our existing listings and discovered that only a very small percentage used the list view.
We’ve therefore taken the decision to focus on the grid view for now and deliver a really good experience there and only introduce the list view if there is sufficient demand. We’re listening to feedback and if we hear enough voices asking for this, we’ll re-introduce it.
We’ve tried to take RadioTimes.com to the next level, while maintaining all of the things that the majority of our users found important. We’re also continuing to listen to feedback and are adjusting what we do and how we do it based on what you say. Please do share your thoughts using the red feedback tab. We’re very proud of the new site and we hope you’ll love using it.
Matt Walton Matt is responsible for the development of the new RadioTimes.com