Update: N. Ram, Editor of The Hindu, tells Exchange4Media that though the publication plans to break news on the website first, before it goes to print, there will be significant exceptions. The problem? “unfortunately in India, there are regular cases of infringement – lifting exclusive stories, and not so much as giving credit to you as the source,” says Ram. More here.
Original Story (Aug 17, 2009): The Hindu, the Indian daily published by Kasturi & Sons, has launched the beta version of its redesigned website. The redesigned version went live on August 15th 2009. Breaking news and updates have moved to the redesigned website, and currently both the new and the old website (www.hindu.com) have content from the feature sections. The Hindu intends to migrate its legacy content to the new design in a few months.
The site looks clean, and the ‘Breaking News’ section of the site highlights how recent the news published is, though ideally, breaking news should be in the first scroll. The text on the page could be darker, and in my opinion, the “Opinion” segment is too far down the index page as well. News is a commodity, and opinion acts as a key differentiator for publications. The text based content has been pushed down to make space for images, which may attract more attention. The older version of the Hindu’s website
Old New Features
The new features, though a significant upgrade compared to the previous Hindu design, are frankly quite common among news publication websites worldwide. Unlike the previous site, the new one allows commenting, and will eventually also incorporate social media tools and multi-media content. Comments are being moderated by the publication. The new site also allows users to brows news by category and sub-category, city-wise segmentation of news, as well as most popular and most commented news.
Apart from this, story pages showcase related categories (named ‘Topics’) and photos for more content discovery. Categories appear to be a key area of focus for the Hindu, allowing extensive search and sub-segmentation of content within categories.
The Hindu now has the IAB standard 300×250 px, a popular branding related unit, prominently displayed in the first scroll of every page. In the older design, this unit was not on the homepage, and at the end of every news post. Most of the ads on the website are Google ads, and even the text based ads are in segments 300×250 px in size. Below the first scroll on story pages, two other 300×250 px units are being used for internal ads. Both the 468×60 px and 120×600 px units that the Hindu was using in its previous design are missing from the beta.
The site has been redesigned by Mario Garcia Jr., of Garcia Media, Tampa. Florida, USA, the workflow solution is by CCI Europe A/S, Denmark and the web publishing system is from Escenic A/S, Norway, according to a note put up by Editor, N.Ram.