Or the title should be “desperately needed – UI, UX, Graphics and web designers – contact E-GOV and TCS.”
Disclaimer: This one may come off “ranty”. At the same time, I do appreciate the increased usage of technology being by many departments.
I had the pleasure of going through one of the many e-gov websites yesterday.
The first impression in my mind was the flashing of a few other sites built for the government – “Oh, another one of these”. Is there a specification which states that the delivered website must conform to some well defined “ugliness standard alpha”? Most of them seem to have a common theme of marquees, blinking text and just unclean looking interfaces/color combinations/gradients. Is there a pointy haired (or is it the more traditional “topi wearing” in this case) boss who says, “Okay team, build this website. Designers, your reference word is – ‘vomit’. Good luck.”
On this particular website, look at the logos at the bottom – left: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and right: National e-Governance Plan. Those and the “Expanding Passport Services” images all have some really bad compression artifacts. That’s just tardy. Upon previously sharing this screenshot, one comment I received was, “they probably scaled them up from a 10×10 pixel source image”. My guess is that they took a mobile phone, pointed it at a newspaper ad (and not the glossy kind) which had the logos on them, clicked a photo and then uploaded that to the production website. One thing that I’m slightly impressed with is that they’re using a css sprite for the logos! This screenshot was taken in IE 9 as the “best viewed in” text asks. In Firefox 15.0.1, the menu items on top occlude part of the “Ministry of …” text.
I used to think they might be giving out these projects to school kids (the one’s who’s parents pushed them to take “computer subjects” in school without any interest of their own). Must be a program by the education department to give students some practical experience. Oh well, that’s how they’ll learn and then improve. Wait! what’s that written in the footer of the website – “Maintained By TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES“.
I’m going to make a mental leap from that and assume it was also developed by the same company. TCS is supposed to be quite a reputed firm. I find it hard to believe they shipped this. A team of professionals released this?! Where’s the pride that professionals are expected to have? “I cannot let something like this be credited to me. This is not a showcase of what I can do. I’m expected to do better. I will fix it and deploy, even if I work a few hours extra this week.”
I doubt there was a shortage of funds to get the team to deliver higher quality. I assume the government pays well for these projects. This is TCS (Rs.1411.95 on BSE as I write this), not a one person development shop (who learnt “HTML at NIIT(if you’re a fan, insert other generic school)” and was forced into taking this project) that’s low on funds to work harder to deliver higher quality.
This is just plain sad. I’m going to be optimistic and think that they will improve soon. At least the passport offices have the concept of giving an appointment rather than a bunch up at the entry point (another skill that we are great at) as was the case a few years ago. That’s an improvement.
Know of any similar “works of art”? Post away with links in the comments.