A couple of weeks back, Ashim and I chanced upon Take Charge, an initiative by HasGeek, as part of their Meta Refresh conference. And it was perfect, it was exactly what we were planning to do!
At The Random Lines, we had always been toying with the idea of taking an idea and building a complete website in a day – much like a ‘hackathon‘. And we kept pushing it until we saw this. We’ve also been really frustrated, not just as web developers, but also as citizens about how unusable we think our government organization websites are. If you are not convinced, please take a look at the Take Charge page and follow some of the links they have listed there, and you will see for yourself.
We wanted to take a site that we would like to use and a site where we would be doing more than just a pretty design. And being Bangaloreans, we picked the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd (BESCOM) site. A company that most Bangaloreans love to hate, and whose website, we’ve traditionally never used!
And here is what it breaks down to in our view. A LOT of links sprinkled all over the site, and upon counting, about 3 different logins, to get into different parts of the site that do different things that you might come to the site for.
So the first thing we looked at was why people, especially people like us, would go to the BESCOM site. And because of the short time-frame that we were planning to do this redesign in, we did a quick survey of only a couple of our friends and here is a list we put together, of the things that we and our friends would go to the BESCOM site for, and these are in order of priority.
1. Pay Bills
2. Check usage / Manage account details
3. Report power failure / Check for a scheduled power cut.
And these were the top 3 things that EVERYONE we asked wanted on a BESCOM site. No one was really keen on the tariffs, or the circulars or the orders for transfer and everything else that is cluttering the home page currently. And add to that, ONE single login that should be used for everything you can do on the site. That was our main focus.
Now, all of these are things you do behind a login and so, we decided the main focus of the site should be on something completely different from these. And we think that focus area should be ‘Power Saving’ and it should be BESCOM’s prerogative to educate its customers about saving power. As a government organization, it is in their interest to save power and try and reach more areas that do not have power. And that focus area could also be used to highlight different things, news, announcements, something cool!
Without further delay, this is what we think the BESCOM homepage should look like –
(please note, that this is not a complete design, and is just a JPEG right now)
A giant focus area, which can cycle through different slides, a quick single login which can lead you to your account on BESCOM that lets you use all their services. A quick reference phone number that you can use to report problems, and what we thought would be a great feature – ‘Meet your lineman‘.
So there it is, one Sunday’s effort, which we submitted to the Meta Refresh team to take a look at. Let’s see if BESCOM agrees to this design!