Why your mouse hates Govt portals
The information age has dawned not just on netizens hooked to Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia. With every department boasting of a website, even the Indian government has taken to the digital highway with a bang. But there's a slight problem. A study on govt department websites says they are difficult to navigate and have poor design sense, reports Chetan Chauhan.india Updated: Sep 14, 2009 01:33 IST
The information age has dawned not just on netizens hooked to Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia. With every department boasting of a website, even the Indian government has taken to the digital highway with a bang. But there's a slight problem.
A study — Indian Government Online-2009 — carried out by Webchutney, a company that provides consultancy services in portal implementation, has found government websites lacking user-friendly features.
The citizens, who want to access information from government websites, have to bear with, among a host of unfriendly features, the website's poor design.
Of the 35 state and central government websites studied, only 33 per cent had a sitemap to help navigate loads of information on the portal. Only 21 per cent had a section on frequently asked questions (FAQ). The Indian government that hosts close to 6,770 websites is among the largest online information providers in the world.
"The amount of time lost in identifying relevant sources of information due to lack of a site map can negate the very intent of having a website," the study said.
"The cause of the problem was failure of the websites to meet global standards in best practices, design and functionality, leading to citizens facing problems in accessing information."
The Ministry of Labour website fails to meet several design guidelines necessary for any portal to be effective, the study said.
The findings come at a time when the government has decided to invest heavily on e-governance (Rs 2,530 crore in the budget of 2009-10) and provide services in flagship programmes with the help of Information Technology.
"All National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme workers would be able to access their account summary on web through panchayat-level IT centres," said Dr Mihir Shah, member, planning commission rural development in-charge.
Several e-governance initiatives have already been successful. A Commerce ministry project for industry to access government information and on-line teacher's transfer in Kerala is one of them.
"Citizens are increasingly using online media to interact with the government," the study said.