Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

If we could turn back time - Revisiting and revamping an awful lot of previous content

Published by Mr. C

Allow me to introduce to you the brand new, completely refreshed Sidepodcast website. Following nearly two years of seemingly endless effort our home on the web has finally been knocked into a respectable shape. The pair of us can hold our heads high, grateful to have thrown off the shackles of the old world, in anticipation of a far more modern future.

Regular visitors might already be briskly scanning the boundaries of the page wondering what all the excitement is about when everything looks roughly the same as it did yesterday. The answer is that while these changes are very hard to spot, they are equally of huge importance to us.

Sign of the times

Let us quickly recap. When we started this crazy F1 project, we had very little idea of what we wanted to achieve or how we might go about achieving it. We learnt on the run and made many a daft decision along the way. At some point during the adventure the internet stopped being a thing readers viewed at their desks, and became something that could be summoned from the tiniest of pocket displays.

The web evolved along with users and we mostly kept up thanks to a major redesign in late 2011.

As exhaustive as this new design was, it soon became clear there were two sides to Sidepodcast - everything published post-redesign looked amazing on pretty much every device, but archived content that predated the update wasn't working at all. Realistically the only way to force older content to display properly was to go back and adapt them with all the benefit of hindsight. I stupidly estimated this process would take about a fortnight.

Two years (less two months) later and the whole operation has just been completed. Estimating projects is clearly not my strongpoint.

I think it's going to be a long, long time

It turns out that revisiting years and years of archived stories is no straightforward task. Christine quickly seized control of the project, expanded her remit and set to work on fixing everything. She tackled page layout and HTML semantics, and completely overhauled site categorisation, and re-imagined live event navigation and even went so far as to ensure instances of names with diacritical marks (e.g. Kimi Räikkönen) all displayed uniformly. 4,000 plus individual posts and every single one was improved in either major or minor ways. A truly astonishing amount of work.

The result of this insane 22 months of dedicated effort (squeezed in between all the other Sidepodtasks) means this entire website can be viewed on any screen, from your smartphone to your television. Pick a post, any post and it should look great however you choose to enjoy it.

I would be stunned if many other sites have gone to this amount of effort, but if you care about archived content there is no more comprehensive a way of doing it. Our recent behind the scenes look at live event tweaks previously offered a little insight into a small section of changes, but this is the first time we've covered just how vast and all-encompassing the task became. The end result offers a site that is better organised, easier to read and more accessible to everyone.

There are inevitably a few loose ends left to tidy up, but we very soon expect to get back to focusing on creating fabulous fresh content, in the meantime feel free to trawl thousands of archived posts, they look pretty damn great.