வணக்கம் தோழா / नमस्ते दोस्त / Hello Buddy!

लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु

Lokāḥ Samastāḥ Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings find happiness and freedom. May my actions help bring joy and liberation to everyone.

I am Balakumar Muthu, an International Award-winning Entrepreneur, TEDx fellow, and Technologist, who received the Top 50 Asia Innovation Award from SingTel in Singapore, Top 100 Startups Award from NASSCOM, Java Master Award & Duke's Choice Award from Sun Microsystems and BenQ Siemens Germany, and Red Herring Asia Award for technology innovation.

With over 17+ years of experience in IT/Software Consulting, with a particular focus on Japanese companies and strong expertise in Design & Product Engineering, UI/UX Web Design and Development for various B2B / B2C startups, SMEs, Enterprises, and several Fortune 500 companies. I specialize in architecting, designing, and building web applications to address both technology and business challenges across various domains, such as Software as a Service (SaaS), E-commerce, Online Marketplaces, Social Networking Services (SNS), Blogging platforms (CMS / Wiki), Usability/Branding, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Apps in Ed Tech, Retail Tech, Prop Tech, Med Tech, and Logistics Tech.

As an entrepreneur, my journey began in 2007 when I founded LoveLogger, the world's first private social blogging platform for pairs, which received a massive response from Hong Kong, Japan, China, and South Korea, accumulating over half a million users before its exit. It was featured in many prestigious internet magazines, including Yahoo! Japan, MSN Japan, Infoseek, Japan.Internet.com, Livedoor.com, Sina.com and various other popular Asian publishers. I have also launched a couple of other successful startups, sold a few, and had a few fail.

An Hatha Yoga practitioner and avid Travel & Culture Photographer, documenting my journeys at CasualWalker.com, which is ranked as one of the Top 75 Travel Blogs in India. Additionally, I am a Travel & Culture Media Reporter and have been selected as the Official Honorary Reporter for the Korean Culture and Information Service of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

I enjoy meeting new folks and replying to all emails, so feel free to drop me a line and say hello to balakumar.muthu@gmail.com

Awards & Recognitions, I have received

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

My Startup was selected as one of the "Top 100 Startups" to get showcased at NASSCOM Product Conclave (NCP), Asia's largest platform for Product and Startup Companies to connect with Software Product leaders.

First Prize Winner of "Java Master Award " contest, conducted by Sun Microsystems and BenQ Siemens Germany.

Received Sun Microsystems Duke's Choice Awards - 10 Year Celebration of Java Technology and Sun Microsystems appreciation for my contribution to the early versions of Java Platform.

My Previous Startup LoveLogger, the world's first Collaborative Blogging & Private Network for Pairs, which received a great response from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and China. LoveLogger was awarded the “Asia's Top 50 Apps 2011 Award” (winner lists) from SingTel, Singapore and the Winner of "Red Herring Asia Award" for Technology Innovation. It was also featured in many popular magazines & portals from Japan, Korea, and China. This product was launched even before the current popular pair apps like Pairy, Between, Hey, Cupple.

TEDx Fellow and Mentor for NurtureTalent Startup Boot Camp at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.

Selected as the Official Honorary Reporter for the Korean Culture and Information Service of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

I started tech blogging in 2002 during my early college days and listed as the 'Top 10 Tech blogger' by 'Blog Street India' and rated as the 'Top 50 Tech Blogger' by 'Blogs Top List'. My Tech blog is also listed as Favorite Blog lists at their Official Sun Microsystems Web Blog. My Tech 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.

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

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

Curator of Casual Walker a Travel & Culture - Photography journal and guide, focuses on a wide range of visual stories - connecting Travel, Traditions, Indian Temples, Art Galleries, Culture, Events, Museums, Yoga & Vedas, Foods & Eats, Indian Dances, Wild Life, Hotels & Stays, and Nature and Living. It is ranked as the Top 75 Travel Blogs in India.

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.

My Expertise & specializations

I specialize in most aspects of Web business, including strategy, creativity, design, development, and its growth. My strong expertise and experience include front-end development, UI/UX web design and usability, branding, content management systems (CMS), e-commerce, software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing, social networking services (SNS), Amazon Web Services (AWS), enterprise apps in Ed Tech, Retail Tech, Prop Tech, Med Tech, Logistics Tech, and Food Tech, web security, firewall, user onboarding, typography, product prototyping, SEO, and Linux & open-source technologies.

My Personal Interests

I enjoy travel & photography, yoga, rock climbing, simple things — nature, reading. I love philosophy, art, culture, highly interested and passionate about the Indian, Korean & Japanese traditions, trying different flavors of tea, Wabi-sabi, Zen philosophy, making mistakes & learning from them, DIY hacks, and Western movies and Comics.

My Works featured at press / media

My works have been featured & covered by ZDNet Asia, Economic Times, British Council India, Times of India (TOI), Citizen Matters, Yahoo! Japan, MSN Japan, Infoseek, Japan.Internet.com, Livedoor.com, Google Blogoscoped, Netscape.com, Java.net, Webpronews, Planet Mozilla, Linux Toy, DeveloperIQ, Sina.com and many other popular Asian publishers. Java.net published my Java Duke Holiday Pictures from 1000's of submission.

My Travel & Culture Photography

Contact & Reach me

Want to work together, grabbing a coffee, or say hello? Good! personally, I have zero presence on Facebook or Twitter. You can ping and text me:


Self - made man
the statue I greatly admire & the principle I strongly believe

“... left to his own devices, man will use his god-given talents to be creative, productive, & 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...”

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.

 click to see the full size image

[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.



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


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!!


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.


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.


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.


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. 


At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous 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 !

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

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