Rediff.com, the Indian news portal which had implemented a rather tragic and quite inexplicable redesign a few years ago, with the objective of making it mobile friendly, has attempted to top that one by switching to a new “tiled” design which is significantly more visual in nature. Our take on it:
– The last design left Rediff with much too much white space, not enough content on the homepage for a user to discover: it was much too sparse. This design addresses that problem by using images, which are more likely to drive clickthroughs.
– There is an issue for readers, in terms of being able to differentiate between content and advertising on a particular page, since everything is image based. This will drive clickthroughs.
– The advantage with a tiled design is that Rediff has the flexibility to shift things around on the homepage, and place ads of a fixed width but variable length, in any column on the website.
– The placement of content appears to be rather arbitrary. There is no coherence in the placement of tiles – Business (News), Cricket, News, Videos, Advertising, Get Ahead, Discussion, Shop & gift. As a visitor, I find this extremely irritating because, from a usability standpoint, I am used to things being in a particular place – say, one particular column for Business News, one for Cricket. The random placement of tiles means that I have to and make an effort to search for what I’m looking for.
– In a tiled interface, the lack of visual content on the news page look rather odd, because there are blank spaces in some parts.
– It’s next to impossible to skim through news headlines now. One needs to scroll through many images.
– The shift to the tiled interface on mobile (It’s a 2×3 matrix) means that on the homepage, there are only six items showcased. The user is forced to click through. Images consume unnecessary data and take time to load, especially in case of a 2G connection.
This is an iterative process, and Rediff will probably tweak this over time. It’s not as much of a disaster as the last design, in my opinion.
On a side note, I’m not sure of what Rediff’s editorial team is doing. I’m not being prude, it’s just that it’s really odd that Rediff’s “Get Ahead” section, which I thought was their careers section, has stories like:
– Rihanna goes topless again and more fashion news!
– How to identify a love cheat
– REVEALED: Why men prefer porn over real sex
Anything for pageviews, eh?