வணக்கம் / はじめまして / Hello. I am Balakumar Muthu

I am an International Award-winning Entrepreneur, Technologist, received Asia Innovation Award from SingTel, Singapore, Full-stack Designer & Developer building Websites for more than 17+ years, Software Consultant for Japanese Companies, Creative DIY Hacker and a Geek based in Asia. Currently working towards the great mission to make the world a better place to work.

/ Expertise

I specializes in most aspects of Web business, including strategy, creative, design, development and it's growth. My expertise and interest includes Front-end development, UI/UX Design, Branding, E-commerce, IoT, Software as a service (SaaS), Cloud Computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Big Data, Singularity, AI, User Onboarding, Typography, Developing Social Networking Platforms (SNS), Product Prototyping, SEO and Linux & Open Source Technologies.

/ Awards, Recognition


Awarded the "Asia's Top 50 Innovation Award” (winner lists) from SingTel, Singapore, Winner of "Red Herring Asia Award" (finalists) for Technology Innovation.

Selected at Google India - Interview as one of the Top 5 Finalist out of 16,000 + people. Created Google Kids – a search engine for kids prototype for demonstrating during my Google India Interview.

First Prize Winner of "Java Master Contest", conducted by Sun Microsystems and BenQ Siemens Germany. Sun Microsystems Duke's Choice Awards” - *** "Hello World(s)!" From Code to Culture: A 10 Year Celebration of Java Technology ***, Book. Sun Microsystems appreciation for testing early versions of Java Platform.

TEDx Fellow and Mentor for NurtureTalent Startup Boot Camp at IIT Madras.

Some of my previous Web products (View 1, View 2) have received a great response from China and Japan. Also ranked as world’s top 50 hosted blogging platform by Alexa.com.

Early contributed member of World Wide Web Consortium (W3.org), W3C HTML 5 Working Group and Internet Society (ISOC) India Chapter.

/ Interests

I enjoy travel / adventure, rock climbing, simple things — nature, reading. I love Japanese culture, trying different flavor of tea, Zen philosophy, making mistakes & learning from them, DIY hacks, and a die-hard fan of JDrama, Western movies and Comics.

/ Featured at



Me and My works has been featured at ZDNet Asia, Economic Times, Yahoo! Japan, MSN Japan, 100shiki.com, Infoseek, Japan.Internet.com, Livedoor.com, Sina.com, Yangtse.com, Idoican.com, shm.com.cn[pdf] and many other popular Asian publishers. Java.net published my Java Duke Holiday Pictures from 1000's of submission.

/ Writings & Contributions

My blog is Listed as 'Favorite Blog lists at Sun Microsystems' Web Blog in 2005. Blogging since 2002 and listed as the 'Top 10 Tech blogger' by 'Blog Street India' and rated as the 'Top 50 Tech Blogger' by 'Blogs Top List' in 2005 – 2007. My blog posts have also been featured at Google Blogoscoped.com, Netscape.com, Java.net, Webpronews, Planet Mozilla, Linux Toy and few other popular blogs. Made my own blogging site at Yahoo! Geocities as geocities.com/i5bala (screenshots) in early 2002.

Published Usability report on Yahoo! Flickr, MSN Hotmail and Rediff.com.

Wikipedian, contributed for more than 100's of Wikipedia pages in various topics in Computer/Internet Technology category. Contributing writer of DeveloperIQ Magazine on the latest Web Technologies.

Co-organizer of Mozilla Firefox Party India, for the most early release of Firefox 2 and the IdeaCamp Pune. Regular to Tech meetups from BarCamp, BlogCamp, WikiCamp Unconferences to Sun TechDays, BEA Dev2Dev Days, Oracle Developer Forum, Google Developer Days and many other tech conferences. Attended Sessions with David Axmark, CoFounder & VP of MySQL and with Richard Stallman [RMS], GNU Founder Lectures.

Designer of DevCamp India Unconference Official event brand and WikiCamp conference India event brand, participated by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales.

Being a big supporter of Linux - Ubuntu & Open source movement, organized the "Ubuntu Dapper Drake T-Shirts Contest" to create more awareness and interest for the early versions of Ubuntu Linux.

/ Contact

Personally, you won’t find me on Facebook. To stay in touch or Want to work together? You can text me at: balakumar.muthu@gmail.com



  •           Self-made man

    Self- made man, the statue I greatly admire and the principle I strongly believe. "... left to his own devices, man will use his god-given talents to be creative, productive, and prosperous. Using free will, he will better his own situation and that of those around him, thereby influencing in a positive way his own destiny..."

  •           My Guru Swami 

Vivekananda

    "... get up, and set your shoulder to the wheel-how long is this life for? as you have come into this world, leave some mark behind. otherwise where is the difference between you and the trees and stones? - they too come into existence, decay and die..."
    - Swami Vivekananda


Design and Usability Issues/Errors in Rediffmail.com !!

Last week, I created a new Mail account for one my personal use in Rediff.com’s Rediffmail.com. It is one of the most popular Mailing service used by most Indians all over the world since 1996. While I am browsing the site, I could see some of the basic Design and Usability Issues in Rediffmail. Here I am listing some of them:

In the Home page of ‘Rediff.com’, the header Icons on the top, can be used the web space more effectively. The blank space on the left [1] and right [2] side, seems to be bit odd to the user and they could be used to showcase other Rediff’s services like Rediff Bol, Rediff Blogs, Rediff Photos, etc, like we have in Yahoo! Mail.



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[click to see the full size image]


When I am getting started with Rediffmail, to create a new account, the registration form seems to be breaking the order. In the ‘Password Reminder Information’, I could see the field like Country, City and in ‘Tell us about yourself’ section we have State and PinCode fields. They must have them grouped in ‘Tell us about yourself’ section. There no specification to the user, which is optional or mandatory field, by providing a ‘*’ near the mandatory fields. I ignored the Occupation filed thinking that would be an optional field, but that is mandatory field, I could know only when I submitted the form.



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Copyright message in the footer, still with copyright to 2004. This is not a big issue but still it has to be changed.



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Next, I started with composing a mail and tried with attaching some files. When I finished attaching the files, I couldn’t find the ‘Done’ button. Look I have attached only 3 files, but there are 4 files in the list. Look at the first one item in the list ‘List of attached file(s)’; actually it is label to the list, which has to be shown as label not inside the List item itself, but outside the item list. It confuses the user; I can even able to select that first item too!!




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The Done button is just hiding; I have to scroll to the right to get the ‘Done’ button. New users obviously must find it difficult; have to search for the all the buttons. More over they also prevented the maximizing the page.



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After I have attached 3 files and returned back to mail composer, I could see only one file. The attached files can be displayed in listed order to see all the attached files.



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Distracting user mostly with frequent popup like this, this popup is of no much use as most of the browsers have popup blockers, which promptly stops them.



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[click to see the full size image]

In the ‘My Settings’ page, the ‘Personal Information’ and ‘Manage your Mail’ strips color pattern at first looks like Google Adsense ads. I think the color pattern has to be changed to merge with the theme.

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[click to see the full size image]


When I landed on the Customer Care page, it has two buttons in bottom of the page with two different colors; one button is in pink color and other looks like a normal button, I couldn’t understand what they convey to the user. Once again look at the Copyright still in 2003.

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[click to see the full size image]


When I moved to Upgrade Rediffmail page, I could see two copyright messages in the footer, with copyright to 2004. I think they have to upgrade the year first and remove the extra footer next.



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These are some of the issues, I could see very well in just a single instance of my analysis of the website. They just seems to be very simple, but they really matter to maintain the standard and quality of a website and could obviously reduce the sites reliability. I feel Rediffmail, has to improve their user experience, especially by improving their User Interface and expect their services to continue great like now, until then they can’t compete with other major players. Hope Rediff hear me ...

--
Balakumar Muthu

Update: I have sent this post to Rediff.com's Customer care and to the CEO of Rediff. Although I haven't received any official information from them, I could find the changes I have pointed out especially their Home page.

6 Comments:

At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Dreamchaser said...

Very good experimentation Bala! Did you contact thier team with this post ? Indeed all these issues are silly and I am wondering how did they ever forget to fix thos.

They need to learn a lot rather than earn a lot from those stupid pop-up ads !

Cheers,
Dreamchaser

 
At 5:29 PM, Blogger Vasudevan Deepak Kumar said...

Bala,

Real tough test results to rediffmail.com. Did you send the results to Rediff CustomerCare? Any responses?

Rediff claims to be a top Indian website among all countries in the world.

They should treat this as a high priority and correct it, since otherwise it presents a bad image to the country too.

 
At 5:58 AM, Anonymous dinesh said...

Great effort, wish Rediff had noticed your critique.

 
At 3:13 PM, Blogger balakumar said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger balakumar said...

First of all thank you guys for your note :)... I have sent a mail to rediff's customercare, but NO reply... !!

 
At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Pallavi Deshmukh said...

Great observation, I hope Rediff hears this and carries the necessary changes to enhance the user experience.

 

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