TRAI’s website recently got a complete makeover for itself. The changes that have been made to the website to create the current look and feel, find resonance with the needs of most governments to communicate more effectively through it’s online portals and enhance and retain user attention over the same. Judging from the changes made to the website’s presentation, I feel that the attempt has been pursuant to the need, to make access to information convenient for website visitors, guide visitors to the Authority’s immediate priorities, and to also obtain quick feedback from the visitors regarding TRAI’s initiatives and industry and consumer related issues.
Governments throughout the world have, through their policy instruments, attempted to lay down appropriate guidelines even for presentation of information and content on government’s websites. Presently, India does not have any specific guidelines or instructions on how various government websites should look and appear. Despite that, the recent changes made by TRAI have certainly achieved the following:-
Presentation of data/information by way of thematic entries
Now, documents and other related information are presented through categorical themes and not chronologically as was the case earlier. Presentation of information through broad themes enables even a lay-person to quickly guide himself through to the information that is of concern to him. Thus, one can now also see a wide-image slide-show on the home page of the website which have images for
- National Broadband Plan,
- Say No to UCC (Unsolicited Customer Calls),
- Spectrum Management,
- Green Telecommunication,
- Mobile Number Portability,
- Digital Addressable Cable TV Systems.
I would risk assuming and perhaps that might have been the Authority’s intention as well, that TRAI’s immediate areas of focus nowadays are those six issues enumerated above. Presentation of broad issues by way of a thematic slide-show, enables any visitor to immediately gauge TRAI’s prioritized areas of focus and attention. It will indicate to any visitor, that TRAI as an authority is continually focused on those issues. One can also see, information presented by way of two broad areas that TRAI’s authority functions in, viz., – Telecom/Broadcasting. Upon selecting any one of those categories, one can further see a range of broad issues under either of the two sections. Incorporating the above change has made access to relevant information more convenient and less frustrating for a visitor.
Better Colour Schemes
TRAI’s website earlier had a very bluish-grey and white colour scheme that was uniform throughout the website. But the newer version of the website is light years ahead of the previous version, in terms of the colour-scheme employed. Usage of distinct colour schemes helps in enhancing the recall value of specific information and therefore, incorporating better colour schemes not only adds value to a website’s presentation in terms of attractiveness, but also improves convenience of use for occassional visitors.
Moving towards Web 2.0
Government websites have been notorious in not being upto speed with the user-centric features of the Web 2.0 world. In short, web 2.0 indicates a host of new features that collectively bring about user interactivity with a website. Perhaps in a bid to catch up with the Web 2.0 world, TRAI’s website has also added several new features such as:-
- A new tab – “Subscription Information”.
- Addition of a discussion forum a-la the fashion and style of online public boards.
- Provision of an Opinion Poll
- Presently, share buttons to social networking sites have not been added and I feel that they also should have been included.
By incorporating web 2.0 features in its website, TRAI has indicated its desire to make TRAI’s website more participative for visitors through provisioning a discussion forum and an opinion poll. Therefore, this move is a step ahead in the direction of every stakeholder’s interest, more so to a much greater extent, for the layperson and the consumer, as now each stakeholder can be in direct touch with the Authority. Visitors, especially those who did not have access to any communication channel with the Authority earlier are now enabled to directly express their views, concerns, and issues instantaneously. However, to make this initiative truly interactive, a TRAI figure must be in direct control and management over the opinion poll and discussion forum sections, and engage in public discussion.
Even a small measure such as the change in the website’s presentation can
, have massive implications for enhancing user interactivity, participation and ease of convenient access to information. A remarkably progressive move, albeit heavily delayed, but in line with the changes that had swept the online world. However, lack of multi-lingual versions of the website is still something that the Authority can consider looking into in order to enable the website’s reach into more regional pockets of the country.