Karnataka HC website can do better, IIT-D study says

Karnataka HC website can do better, IIT-D study says

An in-house team is reviewing the findings and rolling out new features

A survey to evaluate the user-friendliness of six high court websites in India says the Karnataka High Court’s website needs improvement.

It found 41% of 652 respondents saying the layout was cluttered. The speed of the website also fell short, with 36% saying they were disappointed with it. However, on some other parameters, the website fared better than its counterparts in other states.

The report ‘User Experience and User Interaction Evaluation of Indian High Court Websites’ was launched last month. It is a culmination of a two-month study by the Daksh Centre of Excellence for Law and Technology at IIT-Delhi.

Websites of Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Madras high court were reviewed across three parameters — how intuitive the design was, how interactive the features were, and how easily users could complete given tasks.

Each website is built for unique needs and that is why the report doesn’t rank one above another, says co-author Vankar Jaymin K.

“Overall, respondents were mostly satisfied with the content, accessibility and loading speed, but they expected more in terms of design architecture, readability, and aesthetic. That ‘High Court Website feel’ is missing,” he says.

Coming to the Karnataka High Court website, he observes: “It should improve its aesthetics and think of grouping different sections.”

Other suggestions made in the report include optimising the design for mobile phones, and improving the search for case status.

The website does a good job in assisting users who forgot their passwords, alerting them about incorrect CAPTCHA, and displaying the navigation path, the report says.

More respondents could complete tasks like downloading cause lists and finding the total number of judgements for a given month or day. The Karnataka website fared better than others in this regard, he notes.

The use of court websites has increased since the pandemic, so he feels people must have quick access to judgments and orders, cause lists, case summaries, RTI officer information, and contact.

“These are the most used by website visitors,” he says.

‘More features coming’

N G Dinesh, registrar (computers) of the Karnataka High Court, told Metrolife that his team is reviewing the survey findings.

He said he had never received complaints from users “except for a few queries on how to access information about cases”.

The Karnataka High Court website is maintained by technicians from the National Informatics Centre and an in-house team led by Dinesh.

They have rolled out many e-initiatives for the High Court recently: A Telegram channel to post notifications, cause lists, video conference links and more.

They have also introduced a virtual enquiry counter on Telegram called @karhcbot, and the the ‘High Court of Karnataka Official’ YouTube channel livestreams some proceedings privately.

“We are in the process of adding user-friendly features so you can view the history of a case from start to finish. A new version of the Karnataka High Court app is also in the pipeline,“ informs Dinesh.

Findings on state high court website

In a survey with 652 respondents, 36% said speed did not meet their expectations, and 40% complained that content (text, images, and buttons) did not load completely. Users took over 3 minutes and 10 clicks to retrieve information about specific cases. However, they did it sooner than on the Calcutta and Delhi websites.

Overall feedback

All six high court websites lacked explainers for terms like IA or roster. The survey recommends improving ease of use and easy access to information related to RTI officers and administration.

“The overall aesthetic needs to be improved because a website is a window to an institution,” a panel emphasised at the launch of the report.

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