Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Munjal responds to my take on Riya

Munjal, CEO of Riya, responded to some of the comments that Jeremiah had posted earlier on, about the new look-and-feel of Riya.

He also took a moment to address my comments on Jeremiah’s blog as to how I felt Riya’s current website template was rather “dense”. Here was Munjal’s response to that on his blog:

Mario Sundar a commenter on Jeremiah’s blog wrote that things were a little dense. One of the key paradigms we are trying is a browse metaphor to compliment the search metaphor. The jury is out on this but we will see.

Firstly, Munjal, I think it’s great that you are addressing some of the issues that the blogosphere has raised on Riya’s new look-and-feel. I believe this is one of the most crucial benefits that a blog provides in terms of engaging the community in the marketing of a product/service. This truly is community marketing at its best.

I am not sure if you had a chance to check out my mini-3-point-take on Riya’s makeover. However my main suggestions regarding Riya’s front page seems to have been considered.

Here’s the summary:

1. Focus on the KILLER differentiator on the front page – As an agnostic non-tech user, I couldnt zero in on what the core killer differentiator of Riya was from the front page. From a marketing perspective, that needs to be outlined right upfront as do Flickr, and and I had to do some digging to figure that out.

Update: I now see a brief descriptor on your front page, which says:
“Riya Photo Search: We use face recognition, text recognition and more to look inside the photograph so you can find the photo you want. Search above or browse below”.

Way to go! My 3 point killer differentiator would encompass Photo: Recognize – Tag – Search – Recall. I think your marketing challenge is in translating the KILLER tech behind your service into plain user-speak.

2. Demo me!?: I know there’s an online demo on how Riya works, at the bottom of the page, but it may be put to better use (esp. owing to the fact that Riya has some path-breaking technology) if it were right on top, next to CEO blog or in its place, since its important for your users to have the option of checking out a demo if they so desire without their having to scroll all the way.

The reason I mention this, is that it’s easy to miss the tour because of the browse metaphor that Riya currently employs.

3. Ask and you shall receive – Offering a tiered approach to the browse metaphor from the front page. What I mean is that as an end-user, I’d rather be given the option on the front page as to whether or not I’d prefer a browse or search mechanism, kind of like in Flickr. I can’t wait to find out the verdict with regards to the browse vs. search metaphor from your teams.

I can see what a cool, useful tool, Riya is turning out to be.

Once again, Munjal, Thanks for taking note. Wish you and your team all the very best.

Update: Well, here’s a much more fleshed out critique of Riya’s new website by Neil Patel on his blog.

After repeated criticisms from the blogging community Munjal has just come up with an open-call for a re-design of Riya’s web page. If there are any designers/marketers out there – take a stab. Here’s Munjal’s call for a Riya web-redesign competition.

Kudos to Munjal for raising the stakes!

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