Preview the new afaqs!

By Sreekant Khandekar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Others
Last updated : August 02, 2010
Why afaqs! went in for a new look. And what you could expect in coming weeks

Since we launched this website in 1999, the online medium has been transformed as has been the business that afaqs! covers. So drastic has been the change that two years ago we even changed the name of the site to afaqs! (from the original agencyfaqs!) to reflect our coverage of media and more rather than just advertising.

All this change had been putting enormous strain on the existing design. More and more features were added to afaqs! over the years and somehow accommodated within the existing visual framework. It had reached a point where the old structure had to be torn down and an entirely new one created if we wanted to introduce anything new at all.

The new site is based on our understanding of what a good business to business (B2B) site should be. Engrossing B2B sites are hard to find not just in India but even in the West. Most of them are depressingly depressing - if you will excuse the emphatically wrong English - as if the dreariest aspect of industry should define the sites that cover it. While afaqs! will continue to do its work with seriousness, this will not prevent us from looking at all kinds of sites - whether social networking or games or city-focused sites - to make your experience more enjoyable. If it is an online community we claim to have, our site should reflect that through interactivity.

To find a designer who had the kind of experience in doing a public website like ours we spoke with firms in both India and overseas. After a hunt spanning several weeks we decided on Mark Boulton, a UK-based designer whose firm has had a wide array of clients including Drupal, Iceland Express, ESPN and British Energy. Mark has even redesigned the website of Garcia Media, the world's most celebrated newspaper design studio. (For more on the work of Mark Boulton Design, check out http://www.markboultondesign.com/ourwork)

With about 75,000 pages of archived content and nearly 200 templates to create, the design process has taken several months. It has forced us to relook what the website does and what our readers - more than 200,000 (at last audit count) - want. A lot has gone into the technology end of it to make the site quicker and more accessible to visitors.

What you see is only the beginning. This is still the new afaqs! beta (http://beta.afaqs.com/) and over the next couple of months we are going to roll out a whole host of features that haven't been seen in business sites anywhere. In return for all this, there is just one thing we'd like from you: your feedback below on what you think of the new design. It'll help.

For feedback/comments, please write to newsteam@afaqs.com

First Published : August 02, 2010

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