Indian Railways announced yet another portal http://www.indianrailways.gov.in. What I wonder is, why yet another portal to book tickets when finally IRCTC portal is getting a bit more stable/mature? IRCTC and Indian Railways both are government enterprise.
Anyways, here is why, I say that www.indianrailways.gov.in is a bad design.
1. It is extremely slow, uses some godforsaken server side scripting which is friendly only ( probably ) to Internet Explorer. Why is it not friendly to saner and better browser like Firefox?
2. When you try to sign-up, you fill in a user name and click on "Check Availability", it will log you out. This is probably because it is not Firefox friendly.
3.Being so enthusiastic, they have made almost every field mandatory. That is fine with me. But riddle me this, they have populated list for country/state/city. None of the list contains option of "Select None". That is even though someone is staying in Russia, he/she has to select some state of India ( say UP ) and some city of India ( Say Bombay ). If they do not have data about provinces ( states ) and cities for the entire world, they should enable state/city option only when someone select "India" as country. Similarly, when someone selects a particular state, the list of cities in that state should be enabled and NOT all cities.
4. There is no option to select your own secret question for password recovery mechanism.
5. The account will be activated when you click a link sent to you on your email and provide an activation code sent to your mobile via SMS. Guess what!! I never got an SMS. So now, the userid that I chose, is blocked for eternity. They have no option to provide activation link/code again.
6. I sent feedback/complaints but no response. Not even an automated acknowledgement with a ticket no that my complaint will be attained to.
7. And to top it all, their helpdesk email@example.com. When I sent an email there, I got a mailing error saying that the account "firstname.lastname@example.org" is over quota and hence can not be delivered!!!
So basically, it is a design that sucks so much that I do not have enough $@%! words to describe it and on top of that their feedback mechanism is defunct.
I am sure if Indian Railways had competition just like they have in aviation, it would be in as much trouble as Air India.