Blog / five.tv a.k.a project Cape Town

Jolyon Pawlyn
November 17, 2010

The desire for a site re-design together with the difficulty of editing existing content prompted Channel 5 to commission a rebuild of their main website and a consolidation of their catch up service Demand 5 with the new site. Development kicked off in Cape Town at the beginning of May with an iteration 0 and a team consisting of Channel 5, Method and Unboxed discussing strategy, tools, development standards, design and functionality.

The Unboxed Cape Town office had just opened so conditions as you can see below, were somewhat rudimentary but plans were in place to radically improve the work space. The temporary office furniture was replaced and the arrival of a Nespresso coffee machine served as icing on the cake.

A major risk for the project was ease of communication. Software projects with a co-located team are prone to suffer from poor communication so having a team spread between London and Cape Town only made the issue more critical. Daily standups using Skype, VOIP conference phones and frequent visits between Cape Town and London all helped in making the project run smoothly. Inevitably problems did occur. Skype is an awesome and resilient service but even it has difficulties when a submarine cable offshore of Mombasa suffers a repeater failure.

The project was launched in beta on 21 September after 8 sprints and successfully went live on 1 November. new media age had this to say:

Five’s relaunched TV catch-up player Demand Five is a far more sophisticated user experience than its predecessor. The site is easy to navigate. It integrates with Facebook and Twitter and links with the former’s API so users can log into their Facebook account from within the player.

…it’s a slick relaunch and the level of social integration makes the experience stand out.