Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not found

The Mizar (Mausoleum) of Qaid (Founder of the nation, Jinnah) in Karachi is invisible, the agriculture market information in Punjab is un-readable and if you have to Invest in China, you need to know Chinese upfront. If you feel like reading headlines from a Sunday tabloid paper or the popular Masala Evening newspapers, you are wrong as these are in fact bug discoveries from government sites.

Last week I wrote about the poor governance of healthcare.gov and how governments all over the world should hire more testers. I then thought to spend some time on such sites in my region and a 30 minute session dedicated to 4 official websites gave more bugs than I have ever found in my earlier crusades at the Internet. For the purpose of record, Firefox 25.0.1 was used.

Here are the top picks:

Government of Punjab’s official site looks good in terms of the layout and information being latest. However sub links are going to places that are poorly design. For example, clicking on the ‘Agriculture Prices’ link from Citizen’s Corner> Get Services page, took me to a site that had it’s header as following upon playing with font sizes:

AMISpk

Now all of us know that governments are not transparent, but they do hide the names of the institutes is a gift from the e-government project.

Government of Pakistan’s official site seems to be struggling with lot of fronts and was slow in response just like the real government. It’s main page lay-out can kill many UI or UX experts, but an obvious finding was missing picture of Qaid’s Mizar on the National Symbols page that is reachable through the sidebar on the main page:

MissingPhoto

It was also interesting to note that if I go to About page and then go to National Symbols page, I get another page.

Then I thought that we, as in Pakistan, is not a promising land for any of the business and technology initiatives in this region and I should look up to our neighbors who also happen to be part of BRIC.

Government of India’s official site looked good from the layout perspective and how information was spread along. My testing instincts took me to the ‘Who is Who’ page from ‘My Government’ section that mentions key position holders in the government. Clicking on the ‘Prime Minister’ page, it told me that ‘Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not found’… am sorry ‘Page not found’ link:

PM missing

Interestingly this page reminded me that this website is a result of 7 years long efforts. I really appreciate that but it might take them 14 more years to finish this project.

Then I looked at the China, the emerging power and my first fear was that they might not have any thing in English. To my pleasant surprise, they had some pretty well defined and structured English official website and I did increase some of my knowledge on China. The team of this site has done great job in providing info in English to the outside world but when it came to inviting them to invest, the ‘Invest in China’ page is solely in Chinese. The link is in the Quick Links section of ‘Business’ page:

InvestInChina

One more proof that China is not welcoming to the foreign investors.

What are your plans to test websites of the government sites in your region? How do you plan to make this world a better place?

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20 responses to “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not found”

  1. rumadak says :

    You chose a catchy Title for this one!!

    Like

  2. Ather Imran says :

    Very interesting. All of these surely reflect a lack of testing efforts (and probably lack of testers) but more importantly it also is reflective of bigger problems of mindset, communication and priorities (and even value of web presence). Unfortunately, they would also reflect what otherwise would be happening in these places on other issues!

    Like

  3. Sajid Manzoor says :

    Very interesting. Its always nice to see how you correlate daily life experiences with testing.

    Like

  4. Adeel says :

    Really Good just visited the official website of our govt and just clicked on Country Profile which is the main link and got below the lucky message. Spent just 10 minutes and found much more with the same behave. I think people made it public for at least one time check. Thanks Majd for the sharing. The page you mentioned as National Symbols it tab is Named as index :-).

    Server Error in ‘/’ Application.

    The resource cannot be found.

    Description: HTTP 404. The resource you are looking for (or one of its dependencies) could have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. Please review the following URL and make sure that it is spelled correctly.

    Requested URL: /profile.aspx

    Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:4.0.30319; ASP.NET Version:4.0.30319.1

    Like

  5. Raza Ul Haq Akif says :

    Interesting and well related post title with very common bugs 🙂 But the fact of the matter is, official sites which don’t look official. It clearly reflects the time spent on development and testing!

    Like

  6. Sohail says :

    Good one.. Public sector is always having same problem… all around the world….
    I got couple of bugs..
    1. Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) websit.. “Giving no search criteria will fetch everything available on the website in poorly arranged formay”..
    2. vsited official website of USA.. Toggling between “English and Spanish language on any page will bring you to homepage of website”..
    This can go on and on.. They should hire testers who are “knowledge testers” as well..:)

    Like

  7. Jagdish says :

    Indeed catchy title 🙂 and overall interesting article including comments. However specific to PM page, seems you found a CNR bug 🙂 I can see Manmohan Singh page.

    My general expereince of accessing govt sites is mixed. At times I get positively surprised but often most govt. sites displays pages w/crumbled graphics, non-working links and outdated details and feel like these are released w/o testing. Perhaps only pages work are the ones govt. wants to collect taxes/money 🙂

    Like

    • majd says :

      Thanks Jagish for sharing your thoughts and yes the government sites do lack every thing that we study in software engineering.

      Regarding the bug in the Indian portal, it was fixed late last week. I don’t claim that I was responsible for this but I also don’t say that I had nothing to do with it 🙂

      Like

  8. asikfromindia says :

    Majd, good stuff ! this blog made every Indian to smile :p

    Like

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