Screenshot of firstpost.com
Despite having amazing media in general, Indian websites usually suck. The Hindu has only recently emerged from its 1995 design ghetto. The Times Of India emerged sooner but it’s still burdened by evolutionary throwbacks like a needlessly long domain name (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/). While those mainstream properties have only recently entered the 2000s, there’s a new one that seems situated in 2011. It’s called First Post.
First off, it’s running on WordPress, a blogging CMS very dear to my heart. It’s also tightly integrated with Twitter. Third, it’s interesting. Most Indian sites are either too Indian (and incomprehensible), or, well, usually just that. I want to watch NDTV but when I turn it on there’s a lot of people yelling and I DON’T KNOW WHY. Firstpost covers the Indian beat but with humor, suggesting what Pakistan’s PM should say and recommending that the Hindu/Muslim dispute over Ayodhya be solved by giving all parties stakes in an IPL cricket franchise. Good stuff.
More to the point, the content is readable. I think Indians have print design down pretty well, but web design has been sorely lacking. Not that there isn’t good web design in India (there must be) but that the standards are way lower than their English and content standards. First Post is the first site I know of that runs on a modern CMS (rather than something worse they made in-house) and which integrates with Twitter/Facebook in a natural way. Most sites get that you need to have a Twitter/FB account, but few actually integrate it to the site. On Firstpost, however, not only can you share each post, you can also comment using an established identity.
For that they’re using Disqus, an established plugin, but again many companies would reject the easy solution and try to roll their own. So, for doing less and focusing on quality content and interaction, I give firstpost.com a recommend.