You will soon be seeing some enhancements to this website.

The Archers site was relaunched in its current format in December 2010. Since then we've been working with the digital agency Airlock (who produced this version of the site) and our colleagues in the BBC's Future Media division to make some more improvements.

As well as lots of small bug fixes and bits of minor housekeeping, the most noticeable differences will include the following:

Homepage: Rather than the current way of displaying the week's episodes, with a selection of tabs along the top, we'll be introducing a carousel (like the one that Desert Island Discs uses). This form of presentation is now the BBC standard way of offering this sort of material.

On the message board: We display a selected quote here, and it will now be easier to get to the quoted post on the message board, or the thread that the post is from.

Who's Who page: It will be easier to get to the Timeline from here.

Timeline: There are several improvements to how you move around the Timeline. We've also corrected the bug where, if a date of birth for a character isn't known, it defaulted to 1 January 1971.

There will also be a new 'accessible' version of the Timeline, which will be offered automatically to users who don't have Flash on their computer. This should be particularly useful to visually impaired people who are using a screen reader.

Storyline pages: We'll be able to illustrate these with one or more audio clips, presented in a carousel so you can easily see and select the one you want to hear. We'll also be able to include video if we have any relevant moving pictures.

Discuss page: We've improved the way we display selected 'tweets' from Twitter. URLs (web page addresses) and hashtags (like #TheArchers) will be links, so you'll be able to click on them to see the quoted page, or more posts with the same hashtag. We'll be displaying the author's Twitter profile picture as well.

Characters and locations in the current episode: Currently this features on the homepage and the Who's Who page, but we won't be offering this facility any more. This is the only aspect that can't actually be called an improvement, but producing these turned out to be quite labour-intensive work for what we perceived to be only a modest benefit to users.

It will still be very easy to find characters, actors and locations by using the search boxes on the Who's Who page and Ambridge Map page.

Mobile site: We hope to have fixed the bug in which some browsers returned the mobile version of the site, instead of the desktop version.

Now these publicly visible improvements are done, we'll be turning our attention to the back end, improving the ease with which we can update and maintain the site. Once that's delivered, I've got a few content improvements I'd like to make (for example in the family tree area).

I hope you approve of these changes. When they go live, do let us know what you think.

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  • Comment number 26. Posted by DracoM1

    on 30 May 2012 22:47

    What is actually quite revealing is how SWs check their stories - Rosie raises a very good point about Family Trees, a pretty important factor in such a close-knit family as the Archers, plus the bizarre relationships within both the Aldridges and Horrobins.

    I wonder if Mr K and others in The Mailbox ever reflect on why / how it is that listeners often - and I do mean often [ for Facebookers and twitterati, pray see the Message Boards passim] have a notably more accurate grasp of detail in terms of TA back history / events etc than the SW team does?

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  • Comment number 25. Posted by Keri Davies

    on 3 May 2012 10:11

    >Any chance of an answer to WHEN the Family Tree update, promised for 4 years, will take place, please?

    I'm so sorry this reply has taken so long. I've been unable to post a comment on this thread, for some reason.

    Anyway, you may have noticed that we've withdrawn the family tree for the time being. We've had some technical challenges with this part of the site and rather than continue to portray an incomplete picture, we thought it best to sort it out 'behind the scenes'.

  • Comment number 24. Posted by Wynkyn de Worde

    on 28 Apr 2012 09:05

    Dear Sue,

    there are lots of reasons to be affronted by story lines in TA. They are often poorly thought out, badly researched and end up being forgotten.

    However the cow factory surely is not one of these. It is now. Cow factories are being installed in North America and Europe. Last week on Farming today, I think it was, there was a who;e piece about such factories in Denmark. The cattle in these produced an average of 11,000 litres of milk per annum compared with "conventional" dairying of around 7,000 litres.

    You might not like it, but this is the "now" in dairy farming, so why is it an outrageous story line to be included?

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  • Comment number 23. Posted by SueEMoss

    on 27 Apr 2012 18:06

    I have been an avid Archers follower for many years but if Brian Aldridge's 'cattle factory' goes ahead I shall be one less listener. This is an outrageous story line for the writers to include.
    SueEMoss

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  • Comment number 22. Posted by RosieT

    on 29 Feb 2012 21:07

    Any chance of an answer to WHEN the Family Tree update, promised for 4 years, will take place, please?

    It has been asked for repeatedly, but I seem to have missed the requests for the other "improvements" like a cartoon map with Lower Loxley on it.

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  • Comment number 21. Posted by RosieT

    on 17 Feb 2012 21:51

    Seems you were right, bean.

    The Blog is a form of "Vanity Publishing."

    I did wonder.

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  • Comment number 20. Posted by RosieT

    on 14 Feb 2012 21:20

    Thanks, old bean.

    But I would expect Keri to be courteous enough to respond to my request, as to why he does not see that getting the family tree correct is more than an "enhancement" or "content improvements I'd like to make."

    Surely it is fundamental to the programme to have the "facts" in place? Not to have thought bubbles and incorrect cartoon maps with Lower Loxley plonked just anywhere?

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  • Comment number 19. Posted by anna kist

    on 9 Feb 2012 10:30

    Good to see you, Rosie, but I doubt you will get a response. These blogs are deader than dead

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  • Comment number 18. Posted by RosieT

    on 9 Feb 2012 09:06

    Keri, I thought that since you have closed the Blog, where I raised the Alistair family tree anomalies a year and 3 months ago (having also raised the point, many, many times, when the FIRST inaccurate Family tree was put on the previous site) that this would be the place to raise the fact that there is no mention of correcting the “Hebden family” and other inaccuracies in the family tree.

    You head the piece with “You will soon be seeing some enhancements to this website.” You make no mention of correcting the errors which I and others have been rabbiting on about for years, in the family tree and the Who’s Who.
    These are things people have asked you about, and you do not seem to address in the Blog, but we get a vague comment about you wanting to make “improvements.”

    I am very sorry about this.

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  • Comment number 17. Posted by Tayler Cresswell

    on 3 Feb 2012 16:27

    Hi RosieT

    There's been a problem with the Family Tree and it's in for repairs.

    Tayler

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