HT Media Ltd has unveiled the all-new hindustantimes.com. Recognising the changing aspects of news and the needs of today’s multitasking, information-hungry youth, the new website will provide 24x7 breaking news updates in an extremely user-friendly style, with the latest interactive and personalised features.
Chaitanya Kalbag, Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan Times, said, “The new hindustantimes.com epitomises everything that the Hindustan Times will be going forward as — a truly 21st century newspaper with a convergent print/online strategy, web-savvy journalists who interact with similar audiences, and the full power of a national news network.”
Based on consumer and usability research, the new website has a neat, clean and clutter-free layout, easy to navigate drop-down menus and tab-based controls. Other added features include drill-down site search, auto-refresh, a resolution of 1024x768 for full screen utilization, and a fast download time.
A focussed content strategy, the absence of annoying pop-ups, and a range of interactive features from RSS feeds to personalised zones, instant polls to streaming video, stocks tracker to match scorecards, uploading photographs to rating stories, and then adding them to del.icio.us or IM links, are all designed to enhance the consumer experience.
With Microsoft as its technology partner, the new hindustantimes.com takes advantage of the powerful features of Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 combined with the out-of-the-box functionalities of the Microsoft Commerce Server 2007.
According to Rashmi Berry, Head, hindustantimes.com, “We will be adding new sections in the next six months. We have added more information in our general news, entertainment, sports which is focussing on cricket and the business section.” She added that a new format of mobile news would be added in the next three-four months.
Regarding advertisements, Berry said, “We will only have two banners on the site in which four advertisements can fit, as compared to other sites where there are a lot of advertisements. Also, we do not want to lose the brand value of HT.”
Functionalities developed using the ASP.Net platform include Web 2.0 features like instant switching using tab based controls, dynamic modules on related stories, and My Zone — a personalised news zone where the user defines his or her order of preference. Further, Ajax Controls are used for bringing in real-time updates of matches, stocks, opinion polls and picture slide shows.
For cricket fanatics, hindustantimes.com special coverage has details on ongoing matches with live score cards and ball-by-ball coverage, player and team statistics, expert views and match analysis.
Regarding future plans, Berry said, “We are going to launch blogs in the next two months. We will also be launching sites for HT Next and Dainik Hindustan. Both these sites will be launched in this financial year. We hope to see huge jump in numbers in this financial year. We will also launch a brand campaign for hindustantimes.com shortly.”