13 Jun 2006
I wanted to look up the local train timetable. So naturally, I decided to give the Indian Railways website a go.
Other than the fact that it was probably designed when the idea of the Internet was first conceived… I was appalled by the err.. unuser friendliness of the site.
The navigation is a lesson in chaos theory. Many links opened up new browser windows… some none at all. And the pages on the site are so inconsistent.
And the best part is this. On some pages, when you try to right click, you get an alert message screaming: “Sorry, you do not have permission to right click on this page.”
Oh great. Please tell me whom do I have to contact to obtain the permission. Heck, it’s my computer, my browser, my mouse, and my finger. I suspect they are thinking that allowing the users to right click is a potential security vulnerability. The next logical security measure would be to force people to start wearing special Goggles before viewing the website. Cool.
A week ago, there was this tribute to the Minister for Railways on the newspaper, glorifying him for having brought 100 million Rupees profit in the previous year. If only some amount of such profits is used properly to upgrade the websites of the government bodies.
Five years ago, a proper website would not have made a big difference. But today, as more and more people have access to the Web, it is imperative that something is done to revamp the ancient websites.
Let us address the problem of Digital Provide first. Then we can talk about Digital Divide.