Digital projects’ (India): Present situation (observation) and the way forward

The scope, reach and produce of the digital products and processes may find an efficient future on the lines of:

  1. Efficiency: Data usage in the form of analytics and science
  2. Reach: Search engine and social media optimization
  3. Usability: User interface and design
  4. Experience: User experience, navigation and behavior
  5. Internet connectivity: Quality and quantity
  6. Sharing: API based data transfer
  7. Process Digitization: Backend process digitization

Implementation of data science; advanced statistical and analytics algorithms to produce data-based outcomes

Observation: It can be noticed in various projects that ‘data analytics’ is often presented as just the ‘visualization of data’ with no or less ‘data science’ being involved in the analysis of data, to draw conclusions. Currently, data is not helping in making rigid future predictions but only displaying current progress.

Suggestion: Segregating the sections of data visualization and data analytics, with a focus on inclusion of data science techniques on the data, that may offer rigid outcomes that may influence the decision making for the future course of a project. A separate position for such implementations can be directed to a data scientist, analytics manager, Statistics and ML-based data engineer. Data science techniques that can be used (as per the input data and expected output) may include Linear Regression, Logistic Regression, Jackknife Regression, Density Estimation, Confidence Interval, etc.

Reach: Search engine and social media optimization

Observation: Most of the current web and mobile based projects do not seem to focus much on the primitively available set of online reach mechanisms including Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, etc.

Suggestion:

Not just on the marketing side, a lot of the improvements can be made on the code level optimization so that the robots and crawlers may identify and index the websites better and faster, as per the set guidelines of the respective search engines. Posts like SEO manager may be maintained along with the identification of projects that may benefit from Social Media reach.

Usability: User interface and design

Observation: The current design and interface, though, in most of the cases is mobile responsive (mobile device friendly design) but follows the design philosophy, not in coherence with the latest available design guidelines of emerging private tech organizations.

Suggestion:

  1. Issuance of a common User interface Design guidelines which may be mandated across all web and mobile related projects so that a more interactive and easier interface may be offered to the associated demography of the users.
  2. A design consultant may organize such model guidelines which may be followed across all the available or associated set of projects, that may be sensitive to the interface being offered in the lines of usability and branding.

User experience, page load speed, navigation and behavior

Observation: The overall experience of a user while using a product or interface is not something that seems to be focused on.

Suggestion: Identification and tracking of parameters of user experience and navigation for design restructuring and navigation improvement can be worked on. A general guideline of user navigation and experience may be structured and can be worked upon so that the user interaction ability may be improved and scores like bounce rates may be reduced. The simple navigation may be ensured after understanding and analyzing the parameters that affect such a score. It can be estimated that the usability of a product or service may find improvement as per the upgradation of user experience.

Some of the factors that impact page load speed include:

CDN, reqHtml, bytesCSS, iframes, minification, caching, bytesHtmldoc, reqOther, etc.

Internet connectivity: Quality and quantity

Observation: Before making sure that a product has been developed, the medium of delivery has still been an issue in terms of the internet infrastructure. According to BharatNet Usage Status as on 24-02-2020, out of 45,769 Wifi Installed in Gram Panchayats, only 18,683 are operational; around 3.37MB of data (per day per user) is being used via WiFi. (Source: http://www.bbnl.nic.in/usage2.pdf)

The average web page size has been increasing and was 3.4MB in 2017 (according to httparchive.org) and was predicted to be more than 4MB in 2020. One way of interpreting this would be that a user might have never opened even a single web page with the current WiFi infrastructure.

Suggestion: Understand the gaps which exist in the broadband infrastructure offering which is evident from the BharatNet usage status. The low data usage per month per user makes it evident that the digital services are not being utilized by the end-users. While the hardware and implementation aspect requires monitoring, the software or server-aspect may be improved to lessen the web page load time and web page sizes by making use of caching via CDN, local memory processes, etc.

API based data transfer

Observation: It is being observed that various data transfer and sharing processes can be envisaged to ensure a smoother process of data sharing by following an API based data sharing and transfer process.

Suggestion: A provision for establishment and distribution of APIs can be created so that the process of data sharing can be established and maintained with less hassle and a record of the process in the form of logs can be maintained for analytics and other such processes.

Backend process digitization

Observation: A big amount of governance and institutional processes are being maintained on paper and do not have a provision or infrastructure to follow complete digitization of flow of the files and paperwork.

Suggestion: Processes (like a few in eOffice) can be explored so that the filework can be maintained digitally by restructuring the flow and making it compatible with a digital platform or structure.

Vedang R. Vatsa

IT & Management Consultant