The website of popular English daily Hindustan Times has undergone significant transformation. The front end of the landing page has introduced larger thumbnail images alongside the existence of ample white space on the screen, among other changes. A few months back HT put into place a new Content Management System (CMS) with the help of Milan-based EidosMedia.
HT Media informed exchange4media that the design changes at the front end have been powered by Methode, the CMS technology playing out in the back which enables e-publishing. Explaining the rationale behind the move, Rajiv Verma, CEO at HT Media, stated that the central focus of HT both as a brand and a digital product is to empower users by helping them to make sense of the world they live in.
“The new website design marries it with contemporary user interfaces and technologies to create a compelling, world class reading experience,” said Verma. According to Shantanu Bhanja, readers are at the heart of the entire exercise.
The company believes that the new design will make relevant content more discoverable and visually appealing to readers. “The attempt has been to design the new website in a way to make content discoverable, relevant, consumable and delightful for all types of readers through well thought out navigation, information hierarchy and visual layering," said Bhanja, CEO, HT Digital Streams.
Keeping an eye on the shrinking attention span of news consumers, HT has introduced a feature called “whatnow”. Bobby Ghosh referred to it as an easy way to absorb news. “This feature has been specially designed to be mobile friendly and appeal to those who consume news on the go,” said Ghosh, Editor-in-Chief at HT Digital Streams.
Since the last few years, HT has laid heavy emphasis on orienting and projecting itself as a “digital-first” media company. The integrated newsroom in Delhi has come into existence after structural workflow changes at the organisation. While HT has exhibited keenness to be digital ready, it must brace itself for severe competition.
The Hindu, a rival to Hindustan Times and Times of India, also revamped its website recently. Among the news broadcast players, Zee Media and Network 18 have embraced integrated newsrooms very much like HT. Despite the heavy digital push, HT has fallen behind many in terms of internet traffic.
Alexa’s web traffic data puts HT’s website traffic figures behind the likes of TOI, The Indian Express and The Hindu, among others. But the organisation is convinced that its bold experiments will pay off financially. “The new website is an expression of the new digital first culture at HT Media and it is that overall approach which will drive an accelerated growth in HT’s digital business,” HT Media stated.