Russia launches new version of president’s website

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

MOSCOW. April 8 (Interfax) – A new version of the Russian president’s website launched on Wednesday took a year to develop within the current budget, no extra funds were allocated, the Kremlin said.

“An updated version of the official website of the Russian president has been opened. The previous version was launched more than five years ago, in September 2009. Over the period, technical capabilities have changed noticeably, new formats of data presentation have emerged, but most importantly, a sufficient number of users’ feedbacks has accumulated, which we tried to take into account when developing the new website,” a Kremlin spokesperson told reporters on Wednesday.

The new version is radically different from the previous one, he said.

“All work was carried out within the current funding for the website, its support and development. The development took about one year of active work,” the spokesperson said, adding that five and a half years is a sufficient time period for a website to be renewed.

Throughout a year, the president’s website is visited by about 100,000 people daily, and there are days when it gets up to 200,000 visitors, the spokesperson said.

Documents and Pictures are the most popular pages of the website. Both sections were improved. “We have renewed the head of state’s photo bank which will be constantly updated. There are also ‘official photographs of the president’ which can be used for publication and downloaded by any user,” the spokesperson said.

The Russian president’s website is one of the most advanced presidential websites in the world, said the developers, who did not use foreign examples since the different traditions in data presentation.

“Global experiences vary. If you look at the websites of the CIS leaders, they used to copy that of the Russian president in many ways, but now less so. If we look at the website of the White House chief, this is different, this is the website of the U.S. government. Their emphasis is on a different type of content. And all the news concerning the agenda is contained in the Briefings section. The same can be said about the website of the British prime minister. All have various traditions of displaying information, and that largely defines how the website looks like,” the Kremlin said.

The new website of the Russian president underwent all necessary certification and is highly protected. “In terms of security, everything is protected here, the protection scheme is the same as it used to be. The website underwent all necessary certification. It is clear that perhaps there are some people who will want to test the website for strength, but we will beat them off,” the source said.

Designers worked over text format to make it more readable. “A team of Russian specialists worked, with whom we regularly cooperate. All work over the presidential website is regulated by the law and supported by the Russian Ministry of Communications and the Russian Federal Security Service,” the Kremlin official said.

The personal website of the Russian website remained unchanged but in future will be improved as well, the spokesperson said.

Among the current innovations is the combining of all archives of the previous websites of the Russian president. “Now the entire material, starting from January 2000, has been search-indexed and is available on the current website,” the spokesperson said.

Also improved is Documents, the most visited section of the Russian president’s website. As well as decrees, orders and laws, the section now contains the president’s instructions and copies of the documents posted on the official legal news portal.

“Despite the fact that Kremlin.ru never was and never will be the official publisher, many go to this page in search of documents,” the spokesperson said.

A separate technical solution was devised to enable website viewing from various devices, the source said. “Textual format has been changed to make it more convenient to read the website content on the screen. New fonts have been selected. The adaptive web design allows to view the website on various devices, from smartphones to tablets to large-format monitors on which you can read the website content while keeping access to navigation on the page from which you went to the selected publication,” the Kremlin official said.

Thus, one can view the website without opening additional pages, by using two independent columns in one window. “Pictograms allow viewing the entire content that is now available,” the spokesperson said.

It is estimated that wide screens and mobile phones each account for 20% of the website visitors, the source said. “But we understand that these segments will be growing, so we took that into account straight away,” he said.

There are now broader possibilities of working with transcripts of speeches from the events attended by the president. “To make it easier for people to work with large texts, we introduced a search by speaker and subject. One can navigate not only by text but by video as well,” Kremlin said.

The website will have fewer sections and links but its overall content has been optimized. “The main page contains links to Events, Structure, Video & Pictures, Documents, Contacts, and Search. Subsections appear upon click. Also, here we have the core material from the current agenda of the past few days. Geographic presentation has been improved. It also contains news about the presidential administration and the work of commissions and councils,” the Kremlin official said.

To view the new website, users are recommended to use browsers such as Microsoft internet Explorer 8, Mozila Firefox 4, Google Chrome 5, Opera 11.5, safari 5.0 and above.

The website implements the principle of navigation without page reloading and is supported by all modern browsers, which make its work smoother and speed up navigation.

All images on the website have been adapted for viewing on devices with normal and magnified pixel density.

To watch videos, a hybrid technology is being used that allows playing a video in HTML5 or Adobe Flash.