Tips to developers of Indian Government websites…
Websites run by Indian Government are undoubtedly the most hated ones in internet for a number of reasons well known to frequent visitors of these sites, which not only remind you the internet of 90’s, but also a perfect example of how annoying and frustrating they can be. Some examples: 1 2 3 4
Here are some of the most annoying experiences one would get on the websites run by Indian Government. I’m also offering tips to developers behind these sites to work around these issues.
Ugly bitmaps near new content
Kill them. Sort your list in reverse chronological order. If the link really deserves attention, just highlight them using <strong> tag.
Fly over menus
These menus break Find on page and Mobile viewing. Use sidebars instead.
Plain texts for better SEO
Google aren’t indexing texts in your pictures yet. So, better use plain texts.
GIF images distract visitors
Kill them too. Wonder how mobile, tablet users are going to read and click them.
Make form fields auto fillable
It will take centuries to get our demographic details fetched from UID system and pre-populate the form, but you could follow some simple standards to get your form fields auto filled by the browser. You could save lots of our time by doing so.
Get rid of the autocomplete=”off” in your forms and fields
Use field names like,firstname lastname birthday phone
instead of,user_firstname user_phone
Ah, for God’s sake, please disable this feature in CAPTCHA field by adding the attribute autocomplete=”off”
Use labels in form
Use label fields in form, instead of texts. Map them to the input field with “for=id” attribute. This will make them clickable. This is particularly useful in a radio button, where you just click the label to select the button and save you from finding and clicking the tiny radio button.
<input id=”terms” name=”terms” type=”radio”/>
<label for=”terms“>I agree to the terms</label>
Allow us to copy text into clipboard
Most of the websites prevent copying text into clipboard. Some websites go even further and prevent selecting texts and right clicking in their pages. You still can’t protect the data because one could copy contents from Developer tools, which are available in all modern browsers.
And its most important to make your content sharable in this age of social internet.
CAPTCHA and One Time Authorization (OTA) code fields
God knows, why these fields are of password type on some websites.
Allow copy pasting into these fields to save mobile users, who otherwise would have to switch between Messages app and Browser app to enter the OTA codes.
Get rid of that “Best viewed on Internet Explorer 6” tagline and test the site on all modern browsers, both PC and Mobile.
Get rid of,
Expired links which are accessible through search engine results. They present completely outdated information.
.PDF and .DOC files
Dark background colors
You’re the visitor number 92387 (victim number??)
Long term actions to do
Keep the layout simple
Consistent layout for all Government run websites
Implement an OAUTH system based on UID
Develop more and more services and applications rather than static HTML pages
Give us an unified API
I wouldn’t blame just the developers of these websites. These outcomes are expected, when you work in one of the most corrupted systems in the world. And this annoyance is multi-fold, when you visit the websites of State governments and government corporations.