Sandesh and Divya Bhaskar are two widely read news paper from Gujarat. Both of them are recently working on new looks of their website. I visited both new looks and overall it was a good change. Using my experience of Web Technologies and Journalism, I did detail review of these sites, Njoy it !!
Its an amazing look. They might have followed some of the exisiting English site's look, but its looks simply the great! Though its still in its Beta release, they are yet to transfer their main site with the new look.
Speed : Its one of the important criteria to check performance of any site, specially this is being media website, speed is the master key to succeed. Speed of the new site is almost same like old site, which is really not very good. One need to focus on this, homepage loading should not take more than 30 seconds !
Availability : I never seen this site unavailable. So it has good hosting service as well as good maintenance staff to take care of availability of the site, ideally 24 by 7.
Technology: This site uses PHP as a server side language. Its a successful language though its not standard for any media websites. I am not yet sure whether they are using any CMS tool but it seems not. Media site should use good successful CMS tool. As they have to play a lot with content. Also, I am not sure whether they are using caching or not. It could save a lot of time and improve performance by X folds.
Usability: પાક.માં પૂરની સ્થિતિને લીધે ભા... this is one of the link on the site. One really can not decide whether to click this link or not ! They should display atleast 50 characters which can give users a readbale content to decide.
Latest Technologies: Already mentioned earlier about CMS, the other pointin frontend desiging is, latest websites normally uses Div based tables. The new site has most of the design based on div but still its not 100% divs. It does use table/td/tr also. Which does not give flexibility.
Homepage Design: White background is more or less very standard now. The new site follows it.
Fonts: its UTF-8 fonts so easily can be deployed on any platforms and can be read in all applications. Thats a positive point for a vernacular language website.
Errors: I have noticed many typing errors on this site earlier, unless they trained the staff or replaced it is bound to happen again. Click here for latest example of typing error . View my blog for many more.
Page Refresh: They taken care of this problem in the new version.
While Devendra Patel takes on Asharam, let me take on Sandesh's new website :)
New look of Sandesh is not as good as their old one. Sometime on some pages it looks ugly. Sorry but at the spur of moment I could not find any other better word. They too tried to inherit some of the features from famous english media websites, though its a good sign.
Speed: Bad! It littlerally takes in terms of minute(s) ! Not acceptable, we need to look aggresively and very high. Unless we think high, we cant produce the best. Just got 3 different types of errors before seeing the home page.
Technology: This is using Microsoft technology. Same point as Bhaskar. Media sites should have good CMS then language like ASP(X). This site is on the basis of old table-td-tr based design. Can someone welcome their developers to 21st century pls !
Errors: Ooops a lot of ! All different varieties of errors ! They dont have error handling mechanism implemented. Unless you can not see their errors in client browser. Try clicking this link, this is a tempered link and so incorrect link but on the server of nytimes ( New York Times). It will not show you error page ! No good site will show it. But cheap sites will.
Content Errors: I have not seen many errors on Sandesh like Gujarat Samachar or Bhaskar. A plus point!
Fonts: It follows standard UTF-8 fonts- a very good sign, specially for a vernacular languge media site.
Usability: Its a good looking website like english media sites. Its quite user friendly too.
They have their websites since last century, I guess! They have been thinking to replace it since long. I reviewed one of their prototype close to 2 years back, but it never came up ! Lets hope they too will come up with new fantastic site soon.