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Five Things The Rakyat Post Needs To Improve On

The Rakyat Post has been my favourite news site. Well, it’s more of a news aggregator, syndicating web content from various different sites in one location for easy viewing. Many of their stories are taken from around the web, re-written and then published again on the site.

While I love reading the site, I’m starting to notice a few bugs and website mistakes which I think should be addressed by The Rakyat Post as soon as possible. While they went somewhat silent on the recent Cilisos article, I wonder if they will also go silent on this. Rather than send them a long email which will most likely go unread, I thought I’ll just publish this on my personal site.

1. Full Width Layout or Narrow Layout. Consistency Please.

If you go on to the front page, you’ll notice that the layout is relatively wide, which is how I like it. It sort of utilizes the full screen of my laptop.

front

Front page is wide and nice

When you click on an article to read however, the page shrinks. Why?



front2

The narrow article layout

What they should be looking at is to have some consistency. If your going to keep it wide, then it should be wide throughout the site and not just for the front page. What the designer would have most likely done is tweak the layout of the front page template and not the rest. For the front page though, the sad part is that they forgot to tweak the footer to be wide as well.

The footer looks odd as it does not take up the entire bottom portion

The footer looks odd as it does not take up the entire bottom portion, leaving an awkward white space on the right.

2. Responsive Design

photoThe site uses a mobile site which you get redirected when accessing it from a mobile device. This obviously does not work all the time. There has been many times when I load the site on my Iphone, I end up with a full screen site that does not even shrink to fit, thanks to the fixed menu header at the top. So reading the front page on my phone becomes such a pain. I have to literally swap left and right to actually browse through the content.

They should just tweak their CSS to have various layouts that fit different screen sizes. I honestly hope they are not planning to launch a native mobile app for their site. A mobile app for news sites are literally history these days. Many prefer to access a mobile optimized site instead.

3. Fix The Membership  System

If your planning to reset your password, good luck. It’s been more than half an hour and I have yet to receive the password reset email. It’s not in my junk or spam. (update: I received the password reset email almost an hour after I wrote this.) The other bugs of the membership system which you can do a live test is that if you key in a wrong password, you have no indication. The screen just remains the same. When I click on “Login with FB” the page refreshes but ont he top right, it still says  Login/Register.

I did a bit of research on this. They are using BBPress for the membership but somehow I think, it never got installed correctly.

They are using Disqus for the commenting which makes the entire membership system pointless. Disqus uses its own login algorithm and its not linked to the main site. So I can be logged out on The Rakyat Post yet logged in on their commenting system via Disqus. Which makes me wonder, why even have a membership system in the first place?

4. Protect Your Site’s Login and Core Files

They are using WordPress to run the site, which is great! However, the basics are not taken care off. To login the core admin panel of the site, you can simply head over to the standard wordpress login page – http://therakyatpost.com/wp-admin and voila, the login prompt appears!

The login prompt

The login prompt

5. Get your own Rakyat Post Columnist / Author Page with free badges

I see the whole new columnist now appearing on the front page. They are displaying all the authors who have published on the site.

columnist

Once you click on a columnist, you will be taken to the columnist page (as shown below) which has a redundant “Follow” and  “Message” link. Both don’t work.

columnist2

You see the three badges above? If you look at the source code, you will find that they represent a superuser, networker and political pundit. Wonderful! Now when I replace my username with the authors name in the url, here’s what I get:

columnist3

Holy smokes! You get your own author page with three badges. I’m apparently a political pundit at The Rakyat Post!!!

These are of course just a few of the things which need urgent attention from their web team. Becoming a top news site in Malaysia is not just about building backlinks and making an article as SEO friendly as possible but also about getting the design and user interface right. Many businesses these days completely overlook the entire User Experience (UX).

Certain challenges brought up here (e.g. the access to the login panel) are major security breaches which should not even occur with a site like The Rakyat Post.  I hope that they will make an attempt to fix the above as soon as possible. You can also read an older article of  mine on the disastrous Maybank banking website roll out here.

Hopefully The Rakyat Post can fix these errors and many other minor ones which can help improve the overall experience of the site that can obviously lead to more visitors. Have a great week ahead guys!

Update: The Team at Rakyat Post has viewed this article and all changes were implemented within two weeks from this article. Kudos to The Rakyat Post!

 

Kugan Kumar

V.Kugantharan is the founder of Joy With Music, where he teaches adults and kids the joys of playing the piano. He also runs a web design agency, 504 Studios. A father of a very "opinionated" four-year-old, he divides his time between his passions -- blogging, reading, music, design and books.

Comments (2) Write a comment

  1. Agreed about the layout on a smartphone. I used to be able to read from my smartphone but now when I click on an article, the article width is not shrunk to smartphone size and I end up having to scroll to the right to read which is difficult, so I stopped reading rakyat post

    They should fix their code. Reading from smartphone is when I mostly read the rakyat post – so convenient when you’re waiting for something.

    Reply

  2. Good to know that The Rakyat Post has actually been very proactive and implemented all the changes.

    Reply

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