A Beautiful City With Outdated Website: Part1

Udaipur is known for its lakes and beauty all around the world and every Udaipurite is proud of it. I am not going much into what Udaipur is, etc. In this article, which is the first part of our series of upcoming stories, I just want to draw the attention of authorities towards those ugly, outdated, poorly designed, miserable and ignored websites which are supposed to be the first source of authentic information about the Lakecity.

 

Udaipur is known for its lakes and beauty all around the world and every Udaipurite is proud of it. I am not going much into what Udaipur is, etc. In this article, which is the first part of our series of upcoming stories, I just want to draw the attention of authorities towards those ugly, outdated, poorly designed, miserable and ignored websites which are supposed to be the first source of authentic information about the Lakecity.

Let’s move on, the first website which is the official portal of Udaipur:

udaipur.nic.in

This site could be termed as an authentic source of information about Udaipur, reason being it is developed and maintained by National Informatics Center [NIC], District Center, Udaipur.

But, when you land on to this site, it’s pathetic like a rotten tomato! A poorly designed website with black background, flying text and yuck color scheme, I remember my childhood days looking at this site. I used to design such websites, even better I must say, using Microsoft’s Frontpage when I was in 5th standard.

It proudly declares itself as the “Official Website of Collectorate, Udaipur”. Aww!! Did I miss something? Yes, it also shows the date on which the site was last updated. That’s pretty cool feature, I believe. Let’s checkout some other distinctive qualities, features and awesomeness of this site:

Home Page:

A Beautiful City With Outdated Website: Part1

There are some wonderful features like the “move to top” which button appears on the top itself! It is supposed to be at the bottom.

The home page has beautifully elated “Udaipur: The Lake City”, have a look at the splendid green color and the photograph of City Palace. Wish they could have searched the web if they can’t afford a professional photographer.

There are certain links like: History, Tribals, Tourism and Maps and these links reside on home page. So, once you click any of these you need to return back to the home page for visiting other link.

They have put up a very nice animated post box icon to pull your attention, asking for your suggestions. And yes, there is another surprise waiting for you. When you click this link, your system’s default e-mail client will open up. Now, if you don’t have it configured, to send an e-mail, you need to take all the pain to configure it and send your suggestions to NIC or there is an easier way out, copy the e-mail address and send a mail from your mail account.

History Page:A Beautiful City With Outdated Website: Part1

Udaipur holds a great legendary history. But, you will be greatly disappointed if you visit the History page of udaipur.nic.in. This time, I won’t comment on design as I am tired of writing about it and my eyes have started paining looking at those yellow, green, red, blue colors. The content of the page goes like:

“It was in Udaipur that legendary Maharana Pratap was born. .Rana Pratap who fought against Emperor Akbar in 1576 is remembered throughout India for his bravery on the battlefield. The rulers of Udaipur never gave any of their women in marriage to the Mughals unlike some of the other royal houses of Rajputana. Of the original eleven gates of the Udaipur City,only five remain. The Suraj Pol the original or Sun Gate on the eastern side is the main entrance to the city Maharana the title of the Udaipur rulers means Light of the Hindus. The famous “white” city of Rajasthan state, Udaipur stands on the banks of the lake Pichola, its many white marble palaces reflecting in the lake’s calm waters.

The content has been put “as-is” on the site, except for the mistakes which I have highlighted in Red.

Tribals Page:A Beautiful City With Outdated Website: Part1

I am still wondering what “Tribals” means. Well, this page is about different tribes of the Mewar. I am not going into the detail of how well it has been designed and how it narrates the stories of different tribes. I would simply say “as mentioned above” to cut short my work just like NIC has done.

Tourism Page:

A Beautiful City With Outdated Website: Part1

This page comes up with a list of places to visit in Udaipur. The photographs of places and monuments looks like as if they date back to 80s or 90s. In the name of information, only short descriptions have been provided. At the end of the page is something useful, address of Tourist Information Bureau. But, there are no phone numbers!

Maps Page:

A Beautiful City With Outdated Website: Part1

I think this is the best page on site. You will find 7 maps of Udaipur telling you about road and railway network, city map, district map etc. It is very useful, isn’t it? If you think it is, then let me tell you the maps are so small for your eyes to read. Only NIC and collectorate can do it because they have a team of experts! The second heading on the page reads “Click on the map to zoom”. You can start playing around, clicking anywhere on this page will never zoom a map. That’s another great means of time pass and entertainment.

Other Pages:A Beautiful City With Outdated Website: Part1

Talking about other pages of the site, most of the content on home page links to different PDF files. After all who will take all the pain of putting the content into a web page and writing a few lines of code for proper formatting?

All other pages of the site are really beautiful, colorful, decorated, what more should I say..!! They all come up with a different background, fonts, colors, effects and everything else you can imagine with a kid’s perspective.

Oopss! I forgot, there are some other links which would do anything they wish to. You click “Inspection (Absentee Government Employee)” and a Microsoft Excel Document will be automatically downloaded to your system. I request NIC, at least mention that the link is for downloading a document.

Liability Disclaimer Page:

In my point of view this page holds a very important position on any site. A disclaimer is generally intended to limit the scope of information which could be uncertain or may change over the period of time. But, on udaipur.nic.in the disclaimer clearly shows that authorities are pulling their hands from their duty. Here is what it reads:

1. The contents of the pages on this web site are not and do not purport to be the policy of the Government of Rajasthan or its departments including the NIC.

2. We are not responsible for any errors, omissions or representation on any of our pages or on any links on any of our pages.

3. Please verify the veracity of all information on your own before undertaking any reliance.

4. If you don’t agree with any of our disclaimers above, please do not read the material on any of our pages.

That’s it! So, here is my take on the above points:

1. If the content of the site managed by NIC and other related Govt. bodies is not to be claimed as policy of Govt. or its departments, then which site could provide such information?

2. If the authorities can’t be responsible in providing the correct information then what is the use of being a part of the administration? Shall we rely on some newspaper, booklet, magazine or something else?

3. Verifying the information is our job? How could you expect us from verifying the information if you can’t claim the information to be correct!

4. Thanks! That is better than browsing the site and taking pain in reading incomplete stuff. I will prefer Wikipedia over this site.

What we need?

After writing about all bad about the site here is what we need. Dear NIC and Collectorate this is 20th Century, a world of Web 2.0 and many other advanced techniques. You don’t need to be an expert these days to design a website. There are a number of tools available which can help you create great websites with few clicks, in case you can’t take pain of creating something useful.

1. The look and feel should be such that it pulls the attraction of visitor.

2. The content should be good enough to engage the readers.

3. The layout should be as simple that a lay man can look for useful information.

4. Talking about technical aspects, though the site appears on first page in Google search results for Udaipur. Title tag, meta description and keywords are not to be neglected.

5. Setting up an RSS feed and e-mail subscriptions would be useful for readers.

I hope NIC is capable enough of developing good websites and above features are not big deals. If you think it’s wastage of time or you don’t have plenty of time then please let us know, we will do it for our Udaipur.

If we know Udaipur better then we can even make it better!

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