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Website’s Usability and User Experience February 11, 2010

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , add a comment

I am attending a triaing program on Website’s Usability and User Experience, the seesion is being taken by our colleague Swati Arora.

My random thoughts:

  1. Who is your user?
  2. Why has he come to your website?
  3. How long would he be there?
  4. User experience is all about sending the right person to the right content. There may be several sources for the same content, which is the best resource is always a challenge.
  5. User experience has to be the starting point of site designing.
  6. Navigational aspects and their documentation can improve usability of the website.
  7. User-experience audit, when did you last conciser it? User experience audit can be very different than a User feedback form.
  8. Measuring User Experience is important, measurements can be a mix of automated reports and derived numbers
  9. User Experience has to coexist with SEO and Landing page optimization
  10. Prototype testing can be a harbinger and should be taken seriously
  11. Purpose of site in today’s world can be fluid too, the usability and user experience in that case would have to be seamless and with no transition breaks
  12. Historical perspective of the site can be tough to assess
  13. Profitability of the site needs to be mapped with the user experience

Thank you Swati for your time and the session. I found it interesting and useful.

Twenty Most Useful Indian Sites November 5, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , 18comments

Total of 30 parameters and close to about 200 hours of my personal involvement has resulted in one list:

Here is “The Authoritative List of India’s Twenty Most Useful Websites”

The list with one parameter and Useful Ranking is being made public with this post. The complete study/report can be shared with anyone at a nominal cost of  $25,000.00.  Number of sites studied for this report are over 2000.

Your comments and specific questions would be welcome.

Important:

  1. Mapsofindia.com which made to this list is owned by Compare Infobase Limited
  2. IndiaMart.com & ClickIndia.com are founded/co-founded by Dinesh Agarwal, I know Dinesh
  3. MakeMyTrip.com founder is Deep Kalra who chairs NASSCOM SIG on Internet of which I am also a member
  4. I have considered only those websites which are Indian in origin and deed
  5. We had a tie between BigAdda and Ibibo – we included Ibibo
Website Google PR Google PR Rank Useful Rank
Rediff.com 7 3 1
IRCTC.co.in 8 1 2
Indiatimes.com 7 3 3
BSNL.in 8 1 4
Naukri.com 7 3 5
Cricinfo.com 7 3 6
BharatStudent.com 7 3 7
NDTV.com 7 3 8
MapsofIndia.com 7 3 9
IndiaMart.com 6 10 10
HDFCbank.com 6 10 11
BookMyShow.com 6 10 12
Magicbricks.com 6 10 13
Sulekha.com 5 15 14
ibibo.com 5 15 15
Shaadi.com 5 15 16
Clickindia.com 5 15 17
ICICIdirect.com 5 15 18
Makemytrip.com 5 15 19
Redbus.in 6 10 20

Do post a comment, it is important to us:

November – Top Indian Sites in the US November 3, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , 2comments

Here is the November update of the Top Indian Sites in the US. I am seriously considering moving this post to a site, let me hope – I am able to do it before my next month report becomes due.

Rank Top 50 Indian websites in US Quantcast Rank 11/2
1 mapsofworld.com 1,149
2 rediff.com 1,712
3 bollywoodsargam.com 1,975
4 indiatimes.com 3,002
5 sulekha.com 4,402
6 ibibo.com 4,956
7 bharatstudent.com 5,350
8 dgreetings.com 6,099
9 tradeindia.com 6,202
10 indiamart.com 6,556
11 mydearvalentine.com 6,581
12 sify.com 6,954
13 guruji.com 6,955
14 chakpak.com 8,035
15 hindustantimes.com 8,775
16 in.com 9,685
17 shaadi.com 10,127
18 cricinfo.com 10,281
19 hindu.com 11,526
20 mapsofindia.com 12,759
21 bharatmatrimony.com 13,160
22 webindia123.com 13,758
23 expressindia.com 13,784
24 clickindia.com 14,561
25 makemytrip.com 19,043
26 ndtv.com 19,561
27 bollywoodhungama.com 20,347
28 rajshri.com 22,713
29 tribuneindia.com 22,785
30 samachar.com 26,231
31 raaga.com 28,706
32 jeevansathi.com 37,616
33 timesjobs.com 37,874
34 indiainfo.com 41,456
35 carwale.com 42,265
36 beautytipshub.com 45,356
37 rediffmail.com 46,526
38 zapak.com 47,537
39 indiaedu.com 50,567
40 indya.com 54,549
41 icicibank.com 55,305
42 naukrihub.com 55,476
43 indiahousing.com 58,842
44 bseindia.com 59,974
45 ibnlive.com 60,887
46 magicbricks.com 65,739
47 indiaglitz.com 67,054
48 craftsinindia.com 71,579
49 naukri.com 74,577
50 liveindia.com 89,051

Top Indian Websites in the US Oct-09 October 2, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : websites , 1 comment so far

Here we go again. Our own site http://Mapsofworld.com again tops the charts of Top Indian Websites in the US for the Month of October 2009. We capture this data on 1st f every month and we use Quantcast as our source.

October 1, 2009
Rank Top 50 Indian websites in US Quantcast Rank 10/1
1 mapsofworld.com 1,128
2 rediff.com 1,932
3 bollywoodsargam.com 1,935
4 indiatimes.com 3,035
5 sulekha.com 4,944
6 indiamart.com 5,692
7 dgreetings.com 6,545
8 guruji.com 6,996
9 ibibo.com 7,221
10 mydearvalentine.com 7,257
11 chakpak.com 7,354
12 tradeindia.com 8,225
13 bharatstudent.com 8,720
14 hindustantimes.com 8,906
15 cricinfo.com 8,942
16 sify.com 9,862
17 shaadi.com 10,115
18 hindu.com 10,216
19 clickindia.com 11,526
20 webindia123.com 12,581
21 mapsofindia.com 13,626
22 bharatmatrimony.com 13,890
23 in.com 13,938
24 ndtv.com 14,510
25 tribuneindia.com 16,855
26 expressindia.com 17,723
27 makemytrip.com 21,237
28 bollywoodhungama.com 22,171
29 rajshri.com 23,552
30 zapak.com 26,392
31 samachar.com 28,655
32 timesjobs.com 33,951
33 icicibank.com 36,177
34 rediffmail.com 37,757
35 beautytipshub.com 39,938
36 naukri.com 40,804
37 raaga.com 43,795
38 jeevansathi.com 45,115
39 carwale.com 46,581
40 indiainfo.com 50,420
41 indiaedu.com 50,859
42 indiaglitz.com 58,392
43 indya.com 58,401
44 naukrihub.com 58,876
45 indiahousing.com 59,407
46 liveindia.com 64,813
47 ibnlive.com 72,290
48 craftsinindia.com 83,186
49 realbollywood.com 86,120
50 timesofindia.com 88,436

Website Incubation and Compare Infobase May 5, 2009

Posted by simarprit in : Uncategorized , 1 comment so far

Since quite sometime i have been thinking of penning down my thoughts on what i do for a living.  whenever I sat down to do this, I landed up asking myself hundreds of questions and the net result, nothing penned down.  Today I am sitting with the intent of making an all out effort of writing down synopsis of last 11 years of work.

In 1998, Compare Infobase Limited was incorporated as a Private Limited company with the mandate of developing and selling websites.  For a company to have developing and selling websites as its objective was as new in 1999 as it is today.  Almost all Internet companies worldwide focus on developing one or two or may be a handful of websites and then ramped them up to very large sites.  Somehow I wanted to develop an organization which worked on many websites at lower and middle range of price brackets.  The genesis of this thought probably was the conservative upbringing and lack of readiness to put all eggs in 1 basket.

Compare Infobase started with its 1st website Indiaprofile.com, which was made with an objective of projecting India to the world.  http://indiaprofile.com was sold to a tour operator after 5 years of its incorporation and is now a descent revenue generator for its new owner.

Mapsofindia.com was more a need of the time then a journey into cartography.  Plain and simple there were no Indian point of view maps of Internet way back in 1998.  The UN adopted Map of India which truncates Kashmir and certain other parts of India was the most prevalent and the known face of India on the Internet.  http://mapsofindia.com since then has grown to be a site which attracts over 100,000 people everyday and a site which has made the Map of India with India’s point of view, the recognizable face of India.

Something very funny happened in 2006, General Musharraf made a presentation to global audience on Pakistan and its investment potential and as the luck would have it the presentation had the map of Pakistan without the part of Kashmir which Pakistan claims as their own.  It was very embarrassing for Pakistan for General Musharraf and a cause of big celebration at Compare.  We could hear ourselves saying that Mapsofindia has done what it has set out to do – job done, mission accomplished.

With over 100,000 pages of mapping and generic information on India, Mapsofindia.com is one of the largest primary repositories of information on India.

Compare Infobase took a conscious call not to sell Mapsofindia but to grow it for itself and to nurture other sites on various verticals on India.

Running Mapsofindia gave ideas for a whole bunch of websites.  Compare decided to foray Education, Economy, Travel, Jobs, Handicrafts and Celebrations.  1999 saw a host of websites launched by Compare Infobase.  Indiaedu.com took the mantle of covering the education vertical for Compare. Indiaedu.com created India’s 1st database of education Institutes and the site which started with just 20 pages is today a repository of over 20,000 educational Institutions in India and was recently sold by us and is now a flourishing independent business.  There is a smile on my face everytime I look at Indiaedu and this smile is of satisfaction.  http://indiaedu.com is a unique example of Silicon Valley reaching out to India.  Indiaedu.com is owned by two Silicon Valley professionals, both of them have never been to India and nor have had any Indian relative.  Its a pure business for them, which they are pursuing and growing.  Compare Infobase continues to maintain and manage its incubation on their behalf, the quality standards and the best practices which have been put in place ensure that the site keeps growing day after day.

If Indiaedu.com got sold to Silicon Valley professionals based in Silicon Valley then an advertising and marketing geek decided to buy http://economywatch.com for his Singapore run business.  Economywatch.com covers India and the US Economy in great detail and now under its new ownership covers economies of other countries as well.  Once again Compare remains associated with this unique project and continues to contribute to its growth.  If the clock is to put back to 1998–99, one can’t help reflecting upon the easy availability of the right domain name of the right Incubation project.  Compare was incubating projects then, Compare is incubation projects now, but the projects being incubated now struggle for good domain names – I wish we would find some way out to have relevant domain names easily available to us.  Economy Watch, a great domain name, a great site, a good owner, an idea incubated, a business created, a business sold, another smile of satisfaction.

More to come…

Online News Headlines December 20, 2008

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When we decided to work on http://headlinesindia.com the target was clearly defined – We wanted to be a site which was made for “India on Internet” generation.

Three years back, we are there, almost there. Headlines India has become one of the finest sites in the India News business. We do not have content or sleekness offered by some of the sites owned by renowned publishing houses (as yet) but what makes us a runway success is our focus on needs of the Internet audience and our focus on giving headlines quick and brisk.

There are challenges of running a news website and these challenges get compounded where the site is being run by an internet company and not a media house or a publishing house. A technology company brings its own challenges and burden. It has abias towards technology over news, it looks at news as sensation and not as the main line business.

Headlines India is trying to cross that chasm and become a truly global Indian News Website.

Agile Development and Microblogging December 19, 2008

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Last year I spent over 40 days in various seminars and conferences. I went from city to city learning things and attending workshops and listening to people. Four projects have come out so far from the numerous lectures I attended to.

The most interesting of the four is the microblogging project we are working on. The notes from over fourteen sessions have gone into making of this project. The sessions I attended on Microblogging and Agile Software Development have of-course been the base for development of DIl Khol Ke Bol – an India centric Roman Script based microblogging project, but it is important to note that the sessions on Search Engine Strategies, Landing Page Optimization, Role of Graphics in Social networking Platforms have made significant contribution.

The sessions on the role of PR in social networking platforms and the importance of the environment for success of a project have had a significant influence on the way we are moving in http://www.dilkholkebol.com

Micro-blogging in India December 18, 2008

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Question: Would micro-blogging succeed in India?
Answer: I am sure it would. It should, we are investing our best resources in it.
Question: Why would micro-blogging succeed in India?
Answer: We, as Indians, have too much to share.
Question: Which section of population would push micro-blogging in India?
Answer: 25 to 50 age group would be the first one. Largely mail. Spread throughout India. Platform would be both, but internet is likely to be more than mobile atleast in short term.
Question: What could be the volume of messages?
Answer: Volume could be about a million messages a day for the market leader.
Question: What are the three key success factors.
Answer: Platform. Platform. Platform

India’s First Micro Blogging Site December 11, 2008

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When we were discussing the concept of launching a micro blogging site and were thinking through a name for the site which would be hit across all generations of Indians all over the world – Komal said Dil Khol Ke Bol. All of us felt so excited about it and the project reflects our excitement. http://www.DilKholKeBol.com is Compare Infobase’s way of going all out and encouraging people to be loud and clear.

The Face of India – Mapsofindia.com July 2, 2008

Posted by simarprit in : Business, India, Internet, Maps , 2comments

Thank you Rajiv. You made my day. It felt very good to be associated with a site which is seen as “the Face of India”. I thank your school going daughter Nona for bringing it to your notice, and I thank you for bringing it up with me.

I would like to take this opportunity to write “The Story of Maps of India”, why we made it and why it is loved..

It all started in April of 1996 when I was searching for a Map of India on Yahoo! of course Google was not a known word then. There were quite a few Indian Maps available on the internet but not one I would have liked to use. Each one of them had a truncated Kashmir depending on cartographers free will. Some maps had no North East of India, and most had no Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands.

That’s not what we were taught India looks like. It was full Kashmir a defined North East and the islands, all had to be there. It remained a thought. When I started Compare Infobase and we started working on our first website IndiaProfile.com the thought got translated to a web presence. We created a section in IndiaProfile.com called Maps of India. India had the correct face on the Internet. I was happy. But the page won’t show on Yahoo!

Why Sun rises from the east?

Why the date line is where it is?

Why England is in the center of the world?

Why Dollar is the currency of many countries?

Why English despite so few “English Men & English Women” is the most widely spoken language? Why? Why?

Many questions, one answer?

Dominance. Britishers dominated the world during those centuries and they made everyone see, believe, follow and accept what was right for them or as per them.

So, as Sun “rose” from East of the England, it bacame Sun rises from the East. The biggest Universal lie in the world. It remains a tough challenge till date to explain that the Sun never rises and the Sun never sets, it only appears and disappears from those directions.

Dominance. Dominance. Dominance.  Quality dominance. Universal domainance. Consistent dominance. Omnipresent dominance.  Taking a leaf out of the World History, Indiaprofile created a folder http://www.Indiapofile.com/Maps and titled it Maps of India. The folder which started with 5 maps became a website in less than three months as http://www.mapsofindia.com and had 50 maps to begin with. With the correct map on the net every one started logging on to Maps of India. The maps were: Quality Maps; in multiple subjects; they were always present in terms of zero downtime, you could get them when you wanted them. Number 50 became 250 and 250 became 500 and 500 became 1000 all in less than one year.

The Face of India was born. Mapsofindia.com was established as the site which displayed the face of India, the correct face of India. The quest continued. Mapsofindia.com became the place to get The Map of India, any time every time.

Usha Vidyasagar who currently heads the Maps of India project within Compare Infobase and Ajay Saxena our ex-colleague played a significant role. Usha with her Masters in Business Economics background started marrying data to maps. Demographic, Economic, Industrial, Political the list just won’t stop. I remember in one of those meetings in our second floor 125 sq. ft. office, I showed Usha my Readers Digest  -The Great World Atlas, I also shared with Usha an India Atlas bought by my father in 1948. The dream Mapsofindia.com should have Maps of such high quality with data of such high credibility. Ajay was Masters in Geography, he became the corner stone for quality and consistency of Maps. Ajay led the cartographic initiative, Usha the Atlas initiative and your’s truly kept on coming up with “we need”.

Mapsofindia.com started growing. It grew steadily initially and slowly started picking up speed. Number of users which were 7 the first day the site went live, went up to 1,000 a day by the time site completed one year. At 100,000 users a day for a thematic mapping site, I am pleased. The steady climb of Mapsofindia.com would ensure that the site starts hitting a million users a day  in next five years. For a thematic mapping site on a specific geography it is a great aspirational figure. Mapsofindia.com remains the best mapping site on India despite numerous challenges to its dominance. Interestingly the next three  most popular mapping sites on India are all stable mates of Mapsofindia.com; http://www.maps-india.com (Maps India) focuses on maps for travel and travel information; http://www.indiamapstore.com (India Map Store) is an estore for focuses on sale of printed maps and travel books; http://www.Mapsofworld.com (Maps of World) now a legend in its own right has a detailed India section which is growing steadily.

Much More to come…