Because it is Sunday…

…Open Thread, folks.

Toss in links to stuff that is worth reading.,

Talk of what is top of your mind — the things you feel strongly about and don’t think is being discussed enough.

And in passing — because this blog is now here to stay — tell me what works, what doesn’t, what you want to see more of, what you expect to see on here but don’t…

Like I said — open house. Meanwhile, I am off to spend the day with Ramesh Srivats and Mahesh Shankar

Their plans for the spanking new fantasy sports site Fandromeda will feature on the agenda (Check it out, if you haven’t already — this is a beginning, the team has a lot more coming up, sign up and come along for the ride). So will beer. Lots more of the latter than the former.

See you back here tomorrow morning.

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6 thoughts on “Because it is Sunday…

    • Sure, but nothing new in it. Polarisation has been the preferred game plan even back in the time of NDA 1. Reminds me of that old business adage: You can’t do the same thing you did yesterday and expect different results today.

      I am not sure polarisation is effective strategy (never mind the debate about good and bad for now). The base is almost always yours. Equally, the polar political opposite is never going to be yours, no matter what you do. The electoral battle is for the middle ground, really — which is the game Modi played well in 2014. He was not tailoring his appeal to the hard base, but to those people who were fed up with the existing landscape, who saw no merit in either extreme. Hence the coming together of the young and of women; hence also the Dalits and even Muslims deserting their traditional parties in sizeable numbers and voting BJP. It beats me why you would now want to reverse that thinking and go back to an extreme position — in the process driving a lot of the middle away from you.

  1. Can we discuss if news webpage designing is a science yet and how does it work especially in India? It might be difficult for you to discuss it as you are associated with one but it would be great to hear your thoughts.

    My favorite news source still remains rediff.com and I find its articles least biased. Even the entertainment section with the so called “needless” pictures and slideshows have a charm of its own. However, the layout of rediff sucks big time both for mobile and PC.

    Scroll, on the other hand has nice crispy font and an excellent pop up free ad free website, but has a strong say in order of importance and not letting the readers decide what they want.

    I find timesofindia as the best in terms of layout with two very distinct columns for entertainment and news and I devour both. But most of my friends seem to think that urmilas husband’s movie appearances and Kanhaiya’s speech cannot be prioritized at the same time.
    Also they have lot of pop up ads.

    I would really like you to blog about the “science of news website design”, in Indian context and if you have any favorites.

    • I don’t have a problem responding to that (and I am not officially part of Scroll, btw). It’s just that the question is a lot more nuanced than can be answered in comments, or even in the course of one blog post.

      Briefly, though, two things worth keeping in mind: News-site design is more often an outcome of the business plans of the bosses than a function of optimising content. In fact, from whatever I’ve experienced, what is best for content is a point that rarely, if ever, comes up. So the assumption that the various designs you see are based on content optimisation is not quite the way it works in practice.

      The other point is, IMO there is no one optimal template. I’d want, when designing a news site, for the focus to be on what the site’s intent is, what its resources are, the nature, types and quantum of content that it believes it will create, and therefore its reader acquisition and retention strategy. Quick example: We see the homepage as the flypaper and put all our efforts into “designing” it and trying to “optimise” space. But consider this: The homepage only serves the function of the display window of a shop — the real consumption happens inside. That is to say, the homepage gets a visitor to click once — depth of engagement depends on what the reader does AFTER he clicks on that first link. In other words, you have to treat the story page, not the home page, as your best opportunity. Determine through data how long the reader spends, and what the exit points are, and then put stuff in the reader’s eyeline that will make him click through to another story, and another. My pet peeve is that the story page is never taken seriously, in terms of design, and that is a fatal mistake.

      More later, but if you want to explore the subject, prem.panicker at gmail gets me.

  2. Mike Brearly placed more faith in Shashank Manohar as an ICC administrator than Srinivasan at the Pataudi memorial lecture. Proof says something else (it was conjectured earlier, that CAB was sponsored by others) http://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/a-remote-control-called-lkm/296387

    Also, the Dharamshala game shift ( http://www.espncricinfo.com/icc-world-twenty20-2016/content/story/980843.html ) was politics, almost like the 2009 IPL shift. Both sides can be blamed here in 2016, but Chidambaram was not being unreasonable in 2009, asking Lalit Modi to wait, you also had a blog on this I remember.

    Dharamshala & Nagpur are the prime venues this WC T-20, no doubt indicating the shift in BCCI. No one seems ready to get off their high horse :/ and fans suffer (as is usually the case, irrespective of who’s the boss at BCCI).

    • When have fans ever been part of any calculation by the BCCI (or most cricket boards, for that matter?). As for Manohar, the man is nothing more than an opportunist — he sees in the present chaos a chance to burnish his own halo and in the process, put his past behind him. And to this end, the only currency he expends is words.

      About time for a longer blogpost, but I am waiting to see where the SC goes. As far as I know, the court is increasingly pissed with the BCCI and very apt to just force reform down their throats, since the board shows no inclination to do the right thing.

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