Case study - eCommerce sites - Indiatimes

Navigating the Changing Times: HFI helps overhaul to optimize user experience and establish a clear brand identity is the largest e-commerce site in India, having launched in 1997 with a vision of becoming the "destination portal for everything Indian." The site gets over 400 million page views per month and is the country's third largest online property, just behind Rediff and Yahoo.

As traffic has increased over the years, however, and its 70 key channel sites swelled with new content and features. Even savvy users were unable to easily navigate these sites – which included email, movies, astrology, blogs, dating and chat, as well as e-commerce sites for travel, shopping and mobile value-added services. Moreover, the channel sites faced steep competition from all directions. Indiatimes needed a major site overhaul to maintain its market edge, so the owners turned to HFI for user experience design expertise.

Challenge: Re-establishing a cohesive brand identity

Most Indiatimes users couldn't recognize the 70 different websites as being connected to one another. Inconsistencies in navigation and design made it difficult to move from one to another. Within sites, the organization of content was inconsistent and often confusing. As a result, users were migrating to competitors' sites that had fewer offerings but better usability.

HFI collaborated on a massive redesign effort to reestablish a cohesive Indiatimes brand identity. This effort focused on nine primary websites, each with unique business requirements that had to be met without compromising user needs. Yet while the individuality of each website needed to be maintained, consistency and overall brand identification for Indiatimes required strengthening. Early in the redesign process, the following high-level objectives emerged:

  • Provide seamless navigation on the home site and across various channels
  • Present uniform branding throughout
  • offer an uncluttered presentation, with clear demarcation for advertising and content
  • Increase portal visitors, page views, site "stickiness," conversion, and ad revenue
  • Cater to both domestic and international audiences

HFI's Approach: Research, rebrand & redesign

HFI evaluated Indiatimes' existing sites to understand the inherent issues and bottlenecks, then conducted extensive user behavior research, including over 100 face-to-face interviews in key Indian cities and remote sessions via phone. Special attention was placed on understanding the cultural issues and motivations of Indians and nonresident Indians. Based on this data and usability best practices, HFI recommended specific improvements for navigation, interaction, terminology, color, and layout.

HFI also proposed a new information architecture for each site. The process was completed by creating and implementing reusable page design templates (or standards), which provide guidelines for navigation, interaction, and detailed design.

These templates helped establish a uniform brand identity and ensured that future Web pages would be created with greater speed, less cost, and better usability.

Benefits: Less clutter, improved user satisfaction

The redesigned Indiatimes portal now presents content and applications in an intuitive, consistent, clutter-free way. Users can easily find articles, audio-visual content, opinion-gathering tools, and special offers on redesigned sites. They can also navigate seamlessly between different Indiatimes websites, which is crucial to expanding awareness and developing brand loyalty.

An online survey showed that users greatly appreciate the new navigation, clarity of visual design, and breadth of content available. Preliminary data gathered by Indiatimes confirmed an increase in page views and visitors (20-35%), plus an increase in click-through-rates and revenue from Google ads (50%).

HFI and Indiatimes plan to move beyond traditional usability research and launch studies using HFI's PETscan methodology. This new approach assesses how Persuasion, Emotion and Trust affect users' online decision making and interactions.


Vineet Jain
Times Internet Ltd.

In the words of Times Internet Ltd. Chairman Vineet Jain, "The Internet
business is no longer the domain of a company; it is the user's demand for uncluttered content that has paved the way for the evolution of usability on the Net. The new look of and its associated sites reflect this philosophy. It will redefine the way we do business and the way users can navigate with ease, get credible news at a glance, and transact with trust and confidence."

By collaborating with HFI, Indiatimes is putting users first – and successfully navigating the waves of change.

Unifying the brand


Before - Logos appeared dated and each site had a different logo with no consistency in terms of font, graphic treatment and overall style


After - HFI redesigned the logos to look more contemporary and maintain

Indiatimes portal



  • Unclear identity and value proposition
  • No seamless experience when moving between the Indiatimes portal and its verticals
  • Left navigation is too long with overlapping categories
  • Does not provide user terminology and sync with the real world scenarios
  • Cluttered layout of ads and content leading to monetization conflict (between ads & content)
  • Overwhelming and distracting content


  • Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
  • Structured and organized layout with strong focus area, which helps users to find information with ease
  • Relevant services that can increase "stickiness" of the site
  • Established transparency in the transaction system by providing accurate and non-misleading content
  • Accessibility to a seamless service and support system
  • Clear personalization options and access to localized information
  • Created a new look and feel for the portal and verticals

Indiatimes Times of India



  • Homepage overwhelming and cluttered
  • The long left navigation made it difficult to locate news categories quickly
  • Top navigation offered nothing that supported users frequently accessed tasks
  • Advertisements added to the clutter and were perceived to be a big distraction
  • Overall dull and unexciting look and feel
  • Pop-ups & fly-ins were irritating


  • Redesigned homepage helps users find latest news and important site offerings up front
  • Improved navigation structure to get the overall content categorization
  • Enhanced information grouping to differentiate various news content
  • Developed a strategy to present advertisement and promotional content across the site
  • Simple and appealing overall look and fee

The Economic Times



  • Links took up prime content space, pushing important market information below the fold
  • Information scattered across the page
  • Key information lies hidden within links
  • Difficult to access related information
  • Page design did not aid in visual scanning


  • A single page shows stock quote snapshot without having to scroll
  • Table summarizes stock performance
  • Interactive chart tracks stock performance over a period of time against key competitive stocks
  • Direct access to stock-related news, research, discussions, interviews and expert comments
  • Persistent menu provides company’s complete market/financial information

Indiatimes Broadband



  • Unclear identity and value proposition
  • Low interactivity
  • Lack of exclusive content
  • Difficult navigation and misleading information scent
  • Unsatisfactory organization of content
  • Disturbing animated advertisements
  • Lack of engaging features that users expect to find on such a site (e.g. blogs, podcasts etc.)


  • Clearly communicated brand objectives and value proposition
  • Redesigned the information architecture
  • Improved the layout, look and feel of the site to showcase the best content
  • Presented extensive, most recent, and upcoming content in an attractive and uncluttered way
  • Provided for building user communities
  • Enhanced user experience by providing tools like Upload Video/audio, embedded media player, Webcasts, Podcasts, Live Interactive Graphics, etc.

Indiatimes Cricket



  • Unclear categorization in the main navigation mechanism
  • Scorecard is difficult to find
  • Live scores are slower that competitor sites
  • Pop-up advertisements tend to annoy users
  • Too many micro sites with different navigation and structure
  • Only basic information is provided
  • Teams of other countries, domestic cricket and women’s cricket are not covered


  • Clearly communicated brand objectives and value proposition
  • Redesigned the information architecture
  • Improved the layout, look and feel of the site to showcase the best content
  • Presented extensive, most recent, and upcoming content in an attractive and uncluttered way
  • Provided for building user communities
  • Enhanced user experience by providing tools like Upload Video/audio, embedded media player, Webcasts, Podcasts, Live Interactive Graphics, etc.

Indiatimes Mail



  • Access to important tasks missing on the landing page of email
  • Navigation does not give sufficient "You are here" cues to provide sense of place
  • Tasks related to e-mail are mixed with others in the left navigation menu
  • No consistency in the way logos, brand name and brand colors are used and placed on the pages
  • The mechanism to search an address in the address book is complex
  • Lack of visual hierarchy


  • Addressed the strategic vision of establishing Indiatimes Mail as online home-base for the customer
  • Fully utilized functional capabilities of Zimbra and Zimlets in particular
  • Designed two interface options; Ajax-based for users with high bandwidth and HTML-based option for users with low bandwidth
  • Futuristic look and feel

Indiatimes Shopping



  • Inefficient showcasing of breadth of products provided
  • Cumbersome navigation and categorization
  • Purchase and checkout task flow not in accordance with users' mental model
  • Visually cluttered design


  • Self-evident site framework to ensure seamless, logical and simple buying experience
  • Clear navigation container helps user understand the site structure and easily find products
  • Categorization is streamlined based on user research
  • Optimum space utilization for navigation as well as promotional content

Indiatimes Movies



  • Brand identity and relation to the Indiatimes portal were unclear
  • Inconsistent navigation and categorization
  • Inconsistent link behavior
  • Lack of rich, detailed content and many cases of redundant information
  • Page layout de-emphasized important information
  • Poor browser management


  • Created a new look and brand identity that is visually pleasing and adds glamour
  • Redesigned the navigation to display the breadth and depth of the site
  • Organized the content in meaningful categories
  • Provided for current, engaging, and exclusive content
  • Enhanced interactivity of the site so that people stay engaged and visit more often
HFI's user experience consulting services
Consulting overview sheet
Download (77K pdf file)

“Our partnership with HFI has given us access to a vast storehouse of knowledge in the field of user design engineering. This has helped us in revisiting the brand, keeping user focus in mind, and creating a product that is not only user-friendly, but promises to set standards in the industry.”

Dinesh Wadhawan


Times Internet Ltd.

Get your project plan

Ask our UX expert

Privacy policy

Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

This Privacy Policy governs the manner in which Human Factors International, Inc., an Iowa corporation ("HFI") collects, uses, maintains and discloses information collected from users (each, a "User") of its website and any derivative or affiliated websites on which this Privacy Policy is posted (collectively, the "Website"). HFI reserves the right, at its discretion, to change, modify, add or remove portions of this Privacy Policy at any time by posting such changes to this page. You understand that you have the affirmative obligation to check this Privacy Policy periodically for changes, and you hereby agree to periodically review this Privacy Policy for such changes. The continued use of the Website following the posting of changes to this Privacy Policy constitutes an acceptance of those changes.


HFI may use "cookies" or "web beacons" to track how Users use the Website. A cookie is a piece of software that a web server can store on Users’ PCs and use to identify Users should they visit the Website again. Users may adjust their web browser software if they do not wish to accept cookies. To withdraw your consent after accepting a cookie, delete the cookie from your computer.


HFI believes that every User should know how it utilizes the information collected from Users. The Website is not directed at children under 13 years of age, and HFI does not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13 years of age online. Please note that the Website may contain links to other websites. These linked sites may not be operated or controlled by HFI. HFI is not responsible for the privacy practices of these or any other websites, and you access these websites entirely at your own risk. HFI recommends that you review the privacy practices of any other websites that you choose to visit.

HFI is based, and this website is hosted, in the United States of America. If User is from the European Union or other regions of the world with laws governing data collection and use that may differ from U.S. law and User is registering an account on the Website, visiting the Website, purchasing products or services from HFI or the Website, or otherwise using the Website, please note that any personally identifiable information that User provides to HFI will be transferred to the United States. Any such personally identifiable information provided will be processed and stored in the United States by HFI or a service provider acting on its behalf. By providing your personally identifiable information, User hereby specifically and expressly consents to such transfer and processing and the uses and disclosures set forth herein.

In the course of its business, HFI may perform expert reviews, usability testing, and other consulting work where personal privacy is a concern. HFI believes in the importance of protecting personal information, and may use measures to provide this protection, including, but not limited to, using consent forms for participants or "dummy" test data.

The Information HFI Collects

Users browsing the Website without registering an account or affirmatively providing personally identifiable information to HFI do so anonymously. Otherwise, HFI may collect personally identifiable information from Users in a variety of ways. Personally identifiable information may include, without limitation, (i)contact data (such as a User’s name, mailing and e-mail addresses, and phone number); (ii)demographic data (such as a User’s zip code, age and income); (iii) financial information collected to process purchases made from HFI via the Website or otherwise (such as credit card, debit card or other payment information); (iv) other information requested during the account registration process; and (v) other information requested by our service vendors in order to provide their services. If a User communicates with HFI by e-mail or otherwise, posts messages to any forums, completes online forms, surveys or entries or otherwise interacts with or uses the features on the Website, any information provided in such communications may be collected by HFI. HFI may also collect information about how Users use the Website, for example, by tracking the number of unique views received by the pages of the Website, or the domains and IP addresses from which Users originate. While not all of the information that HFI collects from Users is personally identifiable, it may be associated with personally identifiable information that Users provide HFI through the Website or otherwise. HFI may provide ways that the User can opt out of receiving certain information from HFI. If the User opts out of certain services, User information may still be collected for those services to which the User elects to subscribe. For those elected services, this Privacy Policy will apply.

How HFI Uses Information

HFI may use personally identifiable information collected through the Website for the specific purposes for which the information was collected, to process purchases and sales of products or services offered via the Website if any, to contact Users regarding products and services offered by HFI, its parent, subsidiary and other related companies in order to otherwise to enhance Users’ experience with HFI. HFI may also use information collected through the Website for research regarding the effectiveness of the Website and the business planning, marketing, advertising and sales efforts of HFI. HFI does not sell any User information under any circumstances.

Disclosure of Information

HFI may disclose personally identifiable information collected from Users to its parent, subsidiary and other related companies to use the information for the purposes outlined above, as necessary to provide the services offered by HFI and to provide the Website itself, and for the specific purposes for which the information was collected. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information at the request of law enforcement or governmental agencies or in response to subpoenas, court orders or other legal process, to establish, protect or exercise HFI’s legal or other rights or to defend against a legal claim or as otherwise required or allowed by law. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information in order to protect the rights, property or safety of a User or any other person. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information to investigate or prevent a violation by User of any contractual or other relationship with HFI or the perpetration of any illegal or harmful activity. HFI may also disclose aggregate, anonymous data based on information collected from Users to investors and potential partners. Finally, HFI may disclose or transfer personally identifiable information collected from Users in connection with or in contemplation of a sale of its assets or business or a merger, consolidation or other reorganization of its business.

Personal Information as Provided by User

If a User includes such User’s personally identifiable information as part of the User posting to the Website, such information may be made available to any parties using the Website. HFI does not edit or otherwise remove such information from User information before it is posted on the Website. If a User does not wish to have such User’s personally identifiable information made available in this manner, such User must remove any such information before posting. HFI is not liable for any damages caused or incurred due to personally identifiable information made available in the foregoing manners. For example, a User posts on an HFI-administered forum would be considered Personal Information as provided by User and subject to the terms of this section.

Security of Information

Information about Users that is maintained on HFI’s systems or those of its service providers is protected using industry standard security measures. However, no security measures are perfect or impenetrable, and HFI cannot guarantee that the information submitted to, maintained on or transmitted from its systems will be completely secure. HFI is not responsible for the circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures relating to the Website by any Users or third parties.

Correcting, Updating, Accessing or Removing Personal Information

If a User’s personally identifiable information changes, or if a User no longer desires to receive non-account specific information from HFI, HFI will endeavor to provide a way to correct, update and/or remove that User’s previously-provided personal data. This can be done by emailing a request to HFI at Additionally, you may request access to the personally identifiable information as collected by HFI by sending a request to HFI as set forth above. Please note that in certain circumstances, HFI may not be able to completely remove a User’s information from its systems. For example, HFI may retain a User’s personal information for legitimate business purposes, if it may be necessary to prevent fraud or future abuse, for account recovery purposes, if required by law or as retained in HFI’s data backup systems or cached or archived pages. All retained personally identifiable information will continue to be subject to the terms of the Privacy Policy to which the User has previously agreed.

Contacting HFI

If you have any questions or comments about this Privacy Policy, you may contact HFI via any of the following methods:
Human Factors International, Inc.
PO Box 2020
1680 highway 1, STE 3600
Fairfield IA 52556
(800) 242-4480

Terms and Conditions for Public Training Courses

Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

Cancellation of Course by HFI

HFI reserves the right to cancel any course up to 14 (fourteen) days prior to the first day of the course. Registrants will be promptly notified and will receive a full refund or be transferred to the equivalent class of their choice within a 12-month period. HFI is not responsible for travel expenses or any costs that may be incurred as a result of cancellations.

Cancellation of Course by Participants (All regions except India)

$100 processing fee if cancelling within two weeks of course start date.

Cancellation / Transfer by Participants (India)

4 Pack + Exam registration: Rs. 10,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (4 Pack-CUA/CXA) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

Cancellation / Transfer by Participants (Online Courses)

$100 processing fee if cancelling within two weeks of course start date. No cancellations or refunds less than two weeks prior to the first course start date.

Individual Modules: Rs. 3,000 per participant ‘per module’ processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (any Individual HFI course) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

Exam: Rs. 3,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the pre agreed CUA/CXA exam date before three weeks from the examination date. No refund or carry forward of the exam fees if requesting/cancelling or transferring the CUA/CXA exam within three weeks before the examination date.

No Recording Permitted

There will be no audio or video recording allowed in class. Students who have any disability that might affect their performance in this class are encouraged to speak with the instructor at the beginning of the class.

Course Materials Copyright

The course and training materials and all other handouts provided by HFI during the course are published, copyrighted works proprietary and owned exclusively by HFI. The course participant does not acquire title nor ownership rights in any of these materials. Further the course participant agrees not to reproduce, modify, and/or convert to electronic format (i.e., softcopy) any of the materials received from or provided by HFI. The materials provided in the class are for the sole use of the class participant. HFI does not provide the materials in electronic format to the participants in public or onsite courses.