As the years went on, and the amount of pages moved from the hundreds to the thousands, the site design gradually took on a life of its own. With a new logotype and other small changes creeping in, it was only a matter of time before the site would become impossible to manage and maintain. So the huge decision was taken to split the site into two, and The TV Room + was launched.
Unlike the main site, this one would be a test bed for a brand new – custom built – CMS solution, developed by Asa Hicks, which if successful could one day be used to power the main site.
The design of this new site had to be something special. October 2005 is when I began rationalising the existing site design, and I put together a layout and specification which would be flexible to future updates without the need to adapt the design too much in the future. After months and months of design prototyping, logo exploration, and layout tests we went live in January 2006 with the new site.
The CMS was a huge success, and the design was generally welcomed. Mike was ready to undertake the huge task of moving this new database driven solution into use with the main site, and transferring the content from all those thousands of pages into the new system. Not only that, but the task of returning to his analogue archives on VHS, MiniDV and other physical formats, in order to capture new larger images and digitising all the content for storage, archiving, and for future uses online.
This task eventually took significantly longer than was anticipated and is ongoing to this day, but enough content was prepared for the launch of the new CMS driven TV Room site in October 2006, a whole year after we began planning for the changes.
Updates continued to the site in the years after, and apart from transferring the site’s design to an XHTML and CSS compliant design, (which was achieved with the change of only 5 template files – Yes from thousands of hand crafted pages to 5), the design remains till this day.
But after 10 years online, and with advances such as YouTube, and social community sites, the time is near for The TV Room to evolve. With upcoming changes being developed for the sites back-end systems, and a template system which is flexible enough for change. I sit here writing this post having completed work on a custom typeface for the site to use, and plenty of site layout and logo ideas to consider.
I have spent the past 18 months immersing myself in how I got started working on The TV Room. Where we have been – Where we are – And where we want to go, and it has been a cathartic experience, and hopefully come 2020, The TV Room will be celebrating another 10 years online, and I will be looking back working on the next version. Because as long as we still have that passion for it, there is no reason why it should end…