UK Government and its forced IE6 use


As a developing country, we often take a look at how are some of the infrastructure problems handled by the developed nations. In fact in most of these cases, we end up emulating them … the western culture, the accents, the products … we are more than happy to borrow from our western brothers … since they are more developed.

Or so, that is what they would have us believe.

Imagine a governance system wherein you could simply go to a website, fill out the relevant form and be done with it … instead of going to the local municipal center, finding the relevant department, waiting in line, trying to fill the form and get the proper official’s blessing so that the problem could be addressed. Seems futuristic and too good to be true, eh?

Well, I was lucky to have participated in one such e-governance implementation drive back in 2002. This was for Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), and we were somehow involved in the implementation of this system. So yes, these things are in India as well. But according to this article in the Inquirer, the UK has already been using this system.

So what’s the catch?

The system which the UK government has so meticulously built supports on IE6 and Windows XP!

Alright, lets take a minute for that to sink in.

  • Microsoft does not support Windows XP anymore
  • Ergo, Microsoft does not support IE6 anymore as well
  • IE6 used to come bundled with Windows XP
  • These days you get IE8 or IE9 … in fact we should be starting to see IE10 any time soon

That means in the real world … in the developed countries, IE6 is dead. Yes, we have asked for it and celebrated its death as well.

A platform created for the people in the UK which can only currently be used by the people of China (at least according to the map in the above link). I wonder, if they have a mobility middleware in place so that the site renders on mobiles.

GoI and Careers

When talking with some colleagues at work, I realized that they are working on a supposedly ambitious project – to categorize all the possible jobs and opportunities for people in India. It struck me that this has already been done by the U.S. Labor department; and very well executed at that. In fact that site is often cited as the basis for a lot of research that goes into the space of work and careers.

This got me thinking, if Uncle Sam can do such an awesome job of documenting all the career spaces, then why can’t Mother India do the same? A few googles and some clicks saw me come to the Directorate General of Employment & Training, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Govt. of India website. It’s in a mess … I know. A usability nightmare and it takes someone with grit and determination to make sense out of the plethora of content strewn on the website. I was suddenly appreciating content rich sites in a whole new light.

I did not start this post with the intention of bashing the government’s websites, so I will not. I urge you to go through some of the sites that I have linked in the post if you are in the IES industry. The Central Institute for Research and Training in Employment Service (CIRTES), is one such initiative that needs to be commended. It’s not in the same structure and format as the U.S. Labor department, however it’s a start. The Government of Maharashtra also has a website for employment which is a similar model to Naukri, do check Rojgarwahini out.

All in all, my view that the Government of India is not doing anything to sort out Labour problems of the country has been shattered. It feels good to be wrong :-)

Good going India!!