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Indian News Websites Have Poor UX

"Men are visual creatures" - well, if you say so.

I know I like pretty graphics and colourful icons. I feel at ease when I see a clean, white, frosted, minimal design. A simple design of an app or website tells you a lot about the efforts the developer took to create a pleasing experience.

However, this is far from what Indian news website provide you. It's all but clean. From the moment you visit the website, you're bombarded with ads. And it doesn't stop there, they are going to autoplay video ads. Because who doesn't love unexpected video ads! Did I tell you the ads play with sound turned on? Your colleagues must know you're reading news at work right? Yeah, the website's got your back.
Screenshot of India Today's landing page
India Today Landing Page (Full Page)
Screenshot of India Today's landing page
India Today Landing Page (Viewport)
Screenshot of NDTV's landing page
NDTV Landing Page (Viewport)
As you can see, from the very beginning, you're greeted with overlays and full-page ads. Now let's see some news websites with clean landing pages.

Screenshot of The Japan Times' landing page
The Japan Times
Screenshot of The New York Times' landing page
The New York Times
The websites above use a design that resembles newspapers. Of course these websites have ads. But the ads are confined in an area, not thrown on your face! Now let's see the reading experience.
An article on The New York Times
An Article about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on The New York Times
An article on The Japan Times
An Article on The Japan Times
You can immediately tell that these website provide a very pleasing reading experience. These websites don't distract you from the content. And there's a clear indication of what's part of the article and what's an ad. Now let's see what the Indian counterpart offers.
An article on India Today
An Article on India Today
Can you tell where the article starts and where it ends? All I see are text and video ads. I'm not against ads. I like them. I often get interesting ideas from ads. But I'm against ads that trick users and don't provide any value.

Indian news websites accurately demonstrate how not to design websites. We're here to READ news. So make your websites more reading-friendly. Use a sepia background or better yet, add a dark mode.

The website owners talk about their loss due to ad-blockers. But they don't seem to care about the poor experience their websites provide. I don't use ad-blockers. I believe the content creators deserve to make money from the contents they share free of cost. But when the ads take the front and center of the website, it's hard justify.

Update: Since publishing the post, I realized another annoyance on these websites. Say there's a post about the OnePlus 3 and the word OnePlus is underlined (so it's a link). You'd expect this link to take you to OnePlus' official website. But instead, the link will take you to a page which lists all the posts on that website about OnePlus.


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