What's with Indian Web2.0 Startups Design

Ok, I know it's easy to criticize. However, my frustration at the increasing number of web2.0 companies from India with interfaces that are a far cry in basics of design makes me post this. I am disappointed to see this more and more. I agree your technology and your product are great but basic lack of courtesy to design and lack of usage perspective will hamper your growth and also lead to a very negative impression.
In this post I will discuss some of the basic mistakes and how these can be avoided. There is one site which has impressed me with there approach. Picsquare, I have pointed to them in one of my earlier posts on hungrybangalore.

[tHe hOme]
The days of dead pan html and spartan looks are gone, its the age of color and style. Check this screenshot from a site which comes up after I login.
If this is what I need to use to navigate, I will think twice before I proceed. Forget about the web2.0 looks, this site has got the ground basics wrong. The font size is too small. I doubt if the person who designed this page can read the menu right below my name. Remember, its not what technology you offer that makes your company great, it's what the consumer perceives. This kind of a design is not going to win any one for you.

Oh! my god, I just hate the login screen, I hate to login to every site. This is not just Indian but global phenomena. I don't understand why they make login mandatory and design such useless interface. This particular page has a bug, once I submit the screen, it does not go to a new page which tells me that my account information is saved or some blah blah. It just stays on the same page with mandatory fields marked in red. Considering this is a site for buying and selling, will you be comfortable with doing business with them? Check out my earlier post on registration and usability.

The most important thing that one looks for when one visits a site is to go through it. I find it most difficult to maneuver through the sites and find what I want. This is something that most of these have got right to some extent. The only suggestion being make it more visible (distinct), so that some one who wants something from the site can find how to get to that easily without haggling around.

This I find is the least cared about in all most all the sites. The font style changes from navigation menu, to content, to page header to page footer. There is no uniformity in the fonts selected nor in the font size. You have to realize that these are some design principles which have come over time. It's not a nice idea to break them unless you have a ground breaking stuff.

[wHat nExt]
Some of these sites offer a plugin/software for download. However, there is not a single page on how to install. Not even in FAQ's. I have never taken the pain to test some of the products just because there is no instruction how to use them and I don't have all the time in the world to figure their usage.

[wHo aRe yOu ]
This was the most surprising and bizarre. What do you do? It is essential to know what your company offers? And this should be apparent from the first view of your site. Not after scrolling down and under.

[iN sUmmary]
i.Don't break the basic design rules.
ii. Make it easy for user to use your site.
iii. Don't make me use a microscope to read your site.

I will review some of the sites in detail in the coming days, and see what they got right and where they can improve.


Anonymous said...

I agree to a lot of things you have pointed. Another aspect that I would like to put forth is Repetition. Before designing a site, don't these guys do ANY homework. Look at the astounding number of sites in the Beta phase that look almost similar to each other.
You hear them raving about their "niche concept" and their "differentiating factors", but none of that is seen on the websites.

Unknown said...

I kind of agree / disagree. I don't feel repetition/copying is an issue. But a poor job of it is for sure a problem with many of these sites?
check out inasra.com. I like it for the good job they have done.