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Table of Contents
ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 32-40

Technology Challenges in E-Service Accessibility


Department of Computer Science, Himachal Pradesh University, Summer Hill, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication24-Mar-2012

Correspondence Address:
Amar Jeet Singh
Department of Computer Science, Himachal Pradesh University, Summer Hill, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0976-8580.93233

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   Abstract 

E-governance faces many technological challenges that common enterprise often would not expect. These challenges arise out of the very nature of these systems. E-governance has the capacity to provide high-quality government services to citizens and businesses, irrespective of their status, and bringing transparency, speed, reliability, and consistency in handling governance as whole. Due to technological problems in the actual implementation of the solution, E-government solutions cannot reach the masses. E-government services are in their infancy stage in many developing countries. Currently, many E-government services are acting as passive agents and delivering static information from government to citizens rather than acting as an active agent and hold two-way communications. This paper discusses various problems that come in the path of the proliferation of E-government services.

Keywords: Cost effectiveness, data coherence, E-governance, interoperability, privacy, security


How to cite this article:
Singh AJ, Chauhan R. Technology Challenges in E-Service Accessibility. J Eng Technol 2012;2:32-40

How to cite this URL:
Singh AJ, Chauhan R. Technology Challenges in E-Service Accessibility. J Eng Technol [serial online] 2012 [cited 2019 Mar 25];2:32-40. Available from: http://www.onlinejet.net/text.asp?2012/2/1/32/93233


   1. Introduction Top


Several countries around the world are attempting to reform governance to make it more proactive, efficient, transparent, and especially more service oriented toward its "clients." Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the development of techniques in the proliferation of information to make it useful among masses. ICT paves its way in the governmental affairs and makes the services more affordable for citizens and other constituting elements. In this context, the appropriate use of ICT plays a crucial role in achieving goals of the governance and in contributing toward an enabling environment for social growth. E-governance can contribute significantly to the process of transformation of the government toward more cost-effective governance. It can facilitate communication and improve the coordination of authorities at different tiers of the government, within organizations and even at the departmental level. Further, E-government services enhance the speed and efficiency of operations by streamlining processes with lowering costs.

Defined broadly, E-governance is the use of ICT to promote a more efficient and effective government, facilitate more accessible government services, allow greater public access to information, and make the government more accountable to citizens. E-governance might involve delivering services via the Internet, telephone, community centers (self-service or facilitated by others), wireless devices, or other communication systems. E-government services show a very complex relationship with the citizens and government. The delivery and development of E-government services poses many challenges in the life cycle of E-governance projects. Resources are scarce and the delivery of services is important to provide facilities to citizens and it is poor people who suffer the most from the inefficiency of governance. E-government services increase transparency in overall affairs of the government by harnessing the power of ICT to transform the relationship with the citizen, business, and government. Many state-of-the-art projects related to E-government services initiated in an area directly affect citizens, such as driving license, automation of interstate border transport check-posts, optical card registration certificate, integrated transport management information system, urban E-governance, E-learning, etc and many more are in Pipeline. Electronic delivery can shorten the turn-around time from several weeks to a few days. A majority of E-governance projects and researches either view the management side of the projects or the socioeconomic side of the project rather than the technological side. Technology itself poses many problems while implementing the E-services. So spreading the scalable, reusable, integrated E-government services to citizens is problematic when implementing large IT projects [1] ; budgets exceed, deadlines are over-run, and often the quality of the new system is far below the standard agreed when the project was initiated [2] .

Successful E-governance projects are only possible with the self-motivated leadership within the organization as well as in the government who can handle the sensitive issues [3] ; most of the time, managers themselves do not know where to start the project and solution providers have to start from the scratch and as a consequence, project vision and the strategic plan mingle to some unforeseen situation. A manager should see that the new system does not affect the old system working in a negative way while implementing new concepts or re-engineering the existing processes and at the same time fills the loopholes of the existing system. Studies show that an employee's participation in the project from the start to the end means less training is required as seen in project "Urban E-Governance" by Ahmedabad municipal corporation [4] . The approach of engaging local staff is cost effective and requires no outsider domain level consultancy and also determines the long-term sustainability of the project. ICT staff in the normal government setup does not have the the professional expertise in handling the unique domain problems. The unique nature of the project, and the involvement of multiple technologies and multiple vendors make the project even more difficult to manage and integrate and hence an external consultancy group is needed to support the existing staff in the ICT cell of the organization. Even an experienced developer of the ICT cell may face problems because no two governments can work in the same way with the same technology or with different technologies, although they perform common tasks and share common information, but their structure of decision making and frequent centralization and decentralization of management activities as well as a large number of program implementing agencies with the limited management capacity may affect the project delivery as a whole. As the government of today is working at various levels, it is necessary for the government agencies to cooperate among each other than to confront with each other, and the ICT framework facilitates this cooperation in a positive way to achieve common goals [3] . Managers must visualize the objectives in the broader sense than to narrow departmental one to make the project scope wider and more viable.


   2. Challenges Ahead Top


Approaches for providing E-government services largely depend on the budget the country/state can provide for automating their services. Only a few governments have made the necessary investment to move from E-government applications to a more integrated connected governance stage [5] , which is also influenced by the decision whether to take the centralized or decentralized approach as well as the readiness of the state or country to move forward. Many elements such as willingness to share the information, mature technical infrastructure, Internet presence in remote areas, legal framework, and political commitment largely define the success of any E-governance project. Moreover, governments are not alone in failing; evidence suggests that private sector companies also have similar problems. The Standish Group, for example, estimates that only 28% of all IT projects in 2000 in the USA, in both government and private industry, were successful with regard to budget, functionality, and timeliness. A total of 23% were canceled and the remainder succeeded only partially, failing on at least one of the three counts. Large public IT projects can pose great political risks. Ministers and governments are held accountable for the failures and the accompanying waste of the taxpayer money. These significant economic losses comprise not only the outright waste in exceeded budgets and abandoned projects, but also- and equally important-lost opportunities for enhanced effectiveness and efficiency. Dreams of achieving total E-governance will become a nightmare unless governments learn to manage the risks connected with large public IT projects. Small policy changes can require major changes in IT structures. Effective data management for E-government services is very crucial for the sustainability of the project as well as the E-service. Effective data management policies directly affect the quality of service, which means the timely information, ease of use, effectiveness, and accessibility of E-services started by the government. Due to the lack of data cleaning service and poor data quality, organizations lose many opportunities [6] . While many organizations invest heavily on data management, there are some subtle areas of data management such as meta-data and master data and centralized data definition which are still not considered important in E-governance and which when emphasized make a big difference in the overall quality of services [7] . Since government affairs are highly heterogeneous in nature and involve more than one vendor and technology, and integration of information is of paramount importance in policy making, hence meta-data-based approaches that use meta-information and meta-meta information for information integration need to be used [8] .

Choosing a model for the development and implementation of any E-governance project is a very crucial task and developers and organizations should be aware of the problems arising due to choosing a random approach that works in "anything can fit" and "can be changed later" ways in the project, and hence the need for developing common core/architecture for government solutions arises which can take care of the technology, data definitions, meta-data, master data, etc., on which the new service can be implemented easily. This common core makes the adoption/reusability of old services in new but similar environment viable. The common core relives many data management problems where organizations spend much of their resources in maintaining data that has no relevant information for future need [9],[10] . The independent nature of government agencies in adopting a technology and vendor for the data storage of E-governance solutions usually ends up with data silos where the department has its own separate data repository which may not conform to the interoperability and other data standards. Open standards are one of the solutions that can make government's E-governance initiatives affordable. The interoperability requires for large-scale overhauling of all the projects of E-governance to bring them on to a uniform technological platform for integrated operation besides huge financial obligations, manpower, and time requirement [11] , finally leading from the age of digital divide to the age of stakeholders' divide.

Many issues related to the E-government solutions like meta-data management, interoperability, master data management, interface design, common data definitions, updated E-resources, etc., must be properly analyzed during the designing phase of E-government solutions. Since these government solutions are used by masses who may not be ready and educated enough to adopt these prompt changes in governance and its services, hence meticulous designing of every aspect of solution is needed. Curran and Duffy [12] and Taylor [13] explored various factors contributing to the delay in working with the Internet, such as a bad design of the application or the web site, with some other interesting findings [12],[13] .

Apart from operational, economic, personnel, technological, planning, and implementation problems in E-governance, [14] many technological challenges arise out of the direct use of ICT in the governance sector, such as (1) abundance of E-services, (2) data coherence, (3) E-governance interoperability, (4) protection, security, and privacy, (5) cost effectiveness of the solution, (6) connectivity, and (7) a common consistent user interface, which affect the sustainability and usability of the service and are becoming challenges in the proliferation of E-government services. Rest of this paper discusses technological problems that arise during the ICT implementation in government affairs. Many issues arise when tools are technologies are applied to the E-governance projects [15] .

2.1 Abundance of E-services

E-services are Internet-based applications used to bring together distributed and specialized resources seamlessly. As the Internet is growing, many business vendors are adopting the idea of providing E-services to their customers and for the management of intraorganizational affairs. As E-services make the organizations more productive and make their web presence more active, the adoption of this idea in the government sector throughout the world is attempting to broaden service delivery and citizen involvement by providing effective E-services. It is now imperative to empower the departments with IT infrastructure to analyze, synthesize, share, and distill the information in a quick possible and self-propagatory way which helps government to effectively use its resources across the country or provincial limits. This reflects the growing acceptance, that achieving excellence in customer service is just as critical for the public sector as it is in private companies [16] . The emergence of web-based delivery systems has increased the relevance of technology in the collection, collation, and sharing of information at a low cost. As the information is more readily available on the Internet and citizens become more comfortable in accessing data, hence is expected more from the government. Managing and deployment of such a large number of exponentially growing services and data is becoming more and more complex. The solution for this problem not lies in a better technology but the path the organization follows in achieving the automation. Every step from acquiring data, its transformation into information and then into knowledge, development and management of a project, and the delivery of service should be meticulously designed. However, technical innovation on its own is not enough to drive the development of effective E-service but the answer lies in how the government proceeds to adopt ICT-related tools and technologies. The access to the right technology for enabling E-service is essential. Undoubtedly, most of the shortcomings (as they concern the effectiveness of E-service) can be resolved by improving the technology infrastructure and access to E-technologies. Nevertheless, technology by itself does not necessarily result in better, more efficient, and socially inclusive government. The management of a large number of E-services is a major problem in the current scenario in many countries where data lies service-wise rather than organization-wise which puts extra data maintenance burden on the organization. A large number of E-services focus on subjective data rather than complete data and hence citizens have limited active communication with the organization.

2.2 Data Coherence

The information need of E-governance and E-government program is different from that of corporate and business organizations in many ways as there are multiple stakeholders (citizens, bureaucracy, communities, government, etc.) each with its own different information need. Gathering information for stakeholders is not an easy task where the awareness spectrum of stakeholders is continuously changing and increasing day by day. Data coherence becomes a problem when dealing with the data or information for an E-government initiative. Data deals with the raw information and to convert it in a more intelligent form, i.e., to information, raw data from various diverse sources need to be integrated and processed before using it as information for deciding policy matters. Data coherence deals with the adherence of data to common standards so that the data is consistent, updated across all government sites. Data coherence also ensures structural consistency. Structurally consistent data facilitates integration, migration, transformation, sharing, and reusability. Impedance mismatch problems can also be eliminated to some extent with structurally consistent data. To integrate and transform data coming from different agencies in the government with different formats according to service and orient towards decision making is not an easy task on the government part. Apart from this, all stakeholders assimilate information in different manners and need services which will deliver data in a particular format. To design a scalable solution that deals with diverse information is a challenging task and a design decision which, if changed, in the middle of a project affects the whole life cycle of the project. Coherent data deals with all such kinds of problems. Since the information need of stakeholders is different (content-wise as well as format-wise) and new improved technologies like XML, XSLT, XPath, XQuery, etc., are well suited for this purpose to integrate diverse information and distribute it to different channels.

As the government agencies integrate different services and deliver them to people through multiple channels, more and more data will be exchanged and shared across the departments. Three aspects of data need be focused: (1) data description, (2) data context, and (3) data sharing. Data description deals with the centralized definitions of data which describes its definition, role, attributes, relationship, etc. Data description ensures structural consistency across all sites. Data once defined centrally can be used by various similar services. Data context describes the environmental factors that influence data in some way; this information is helpful in producing more reusable and exchange-friendly data. Describing meta-data with the data tells about the context of data and facilitates its use in other similar circumstances. The data sharing aspect deals with the interoperable behavior of data where data or processed information can be used by various diverse devices/platforms.

E-government services generally follow familiar steps to achieve the task but their context might be different. Since there is a familiarity of services in different contexts and hence there is a possibility of reusing the existing data structure for information storage, the departments have to plan to make ongoing investment in the quality of their data. Hence the data defining, acquisition, and cleaning strategies are very important for the organization so that the data to be shared resides in the consistent state for sharing among the departments. This contributes to the long-term sustainability of E-governance projects. As the government deals with very different kinds of data ranging from textual to images and temporal to geographical, and conventional databases are based on relational technology have their own limitations for handling complex and unstructured data. Most of databases do not define data in a true object form with its attributes, meta-data, master data, and methods. Data defined in a platform independent way ensures smooth transformation and migration to various vendor-specific databases. Policies of data management need to be meticulously designed to cope up with the existing problems in keeping databases consistent and coherent with a lot of diverse information coming from diverse sources. New improved technologies and data standards help in improving data coherence and make it scalable to the future need. The goal of data coherence is to provide coordinated access, data consistency, data reliability, and data integrity that leads to a massive amount of data held across various agencies in a government sector.

2.3 E-Governance Interoperability

As more and more organizations become online and data verification among different departments contributes major data exchange across the departments, this arises the need for cross-departmental communication which comes under the ambit of interoperability due to the heterogeneity of technology (hardware, software) used in solutions [17] . The interoperability framework in E-governance will provide a platform for government departments for decision making at the managerial and investment level, where integrated information is made available for decision making. At the organizational level, this framework may act as the resource/information-sharing platform, where information can be exchanged in a common format using an XML-like language. This framework is also necessary at the development level where many vendors with multiple technologies are working together. Many times services are developed in duplicate due to the lack of an interoperable meta-information exchange framework. A developer has no way to reuse the existing structure of information from other successful E-services. Some kind of publishing framework for meta-information of the data layer of solution must be there in which the entities, which are frequently encountered in the organization and their relationship with other entities as well as constraints and minimal expectation from the entity in terms of functionality sought by the organization, be described and published. Seventy percent of the time, while developing a new service, can be taken advantage of by the developers in the successful designing of similar entities of other services and customize them according to their need. This framework also reduces the time for analyzing the organization for developing the service which is already successfully developed and analyzed in other organizations. These policies and framework facilitate the interoperability of an application [18] and sharing of data. While data coherence limits its scope only to the data layer of an E-government service, interoperability has a wider scope and covers every aspect of the whole solution and its implication in governance.

Interoperability context meta-data, which is structured information that describes, explains, locates, retrieves, uses, or manages an information resource or data [19] , is one area which if emphasized can help in making the solution more interoperable. Meta-data should be independent and flexible to meet and facilitate information retrieval and record management needs of an organization in a format independent manner. It should also cater to information retrieval needs of citizens. The standard must be readily applicable by those with varying experience of preparing resource descriptions. It needs to be compliant with E-governance standards and policies, such as the Government Data Standards Catalog, and must be stable and extensible. The content management meta-data scheme minimizes the need for the rework of existing products. Apart from meta-data, another area is master data, which is permanent, stable, and highly used as lookup data while developing data intensive applications for organizations. A controlled centralized access to format independent master data repositories helps in eliminating the need for storing master data redundantly with every solution separately.

2.4 Protection, Security, and Privacy

As the value of the data increases, security issues grow increasingly complex. Data sharing with certain allied organizations, electronic data interchange, and so forth require data to be all "on the net," while at the same time not easily accessible to just anyone. In addition to the well-meaning but uninformed user who might inadvertently delete or modify certain data, organizations' information has to be protected from the malicious intent of outside intruders, who now have a pathway to the data via the Internet. While the various data-sharing trends offer improved means of governance, these same trends make them even more vulnerable to hackers, a prey to performance issues, and increasingly uneasy about the security of data treasure. All these issues become more challenging if the service is being developed by outsourcing the task.

Security management solutions that have proven effective in the past are rapidly becoming inadequate because of their single-user orientation, lack of scalability, and their inability to integrate with third-party software products. These include scalability in terms of thousands of devices and multiple users, multiple administrator accounts, flexibility, ease of configuration, and the ever-present need for robust and fault-tolerant systems. Organizations having E-government services have new challenges like (1) whether the security management system allows data collection from thousands of devices; (2) monitoring this data; (3) handling peaks of network usage without compromising the security and protection; and (4) usage of historical information in secure way. As more and more data is available to citizens, more security and protection for data is needed while the data is exchanged over multiple devices with multiple technologies.

2.5 Cost Effectiveness of Solutions

The public sector encourages the funding of a large project instead of a small one. Small projects cannot justify new funds and cannot grab attention while negotiating the budget. Large projects are easily justified as the political action in the response of some problem. But the risk of the failure of a large project is proportional to the size of the project. In the private sector, a more rational approach is adopted by taking small projects. This does not mean of breaking projects into small projects but taking the project of a small time frame of no more than 6 months. This also maintains the motivation level of the employees involved with the project. Projects with the larger time frame are often encountered with the demotivated manpower, and reluctant attitude of the management and vendors at the last stage of the project. Apart from all these intangible losses, the direct loss is of money involved in the project with a larger time frame. Costs in E-governance projects vary with many parameters like technology, managerial mindset, time span of the project, complexity of the project, in-house or outsourcing of the project, strategic partnership for developing the projects, manpower needed, and many other indirect costs. The delivery and development of the project based in-house, on outsourcing, or strategic partnership affect the overall cost of the project [5] .

A complex technology makes the project implementation costlier while an easy technology may not have the functionality to achieve the goals set for the project; hence, the technology decision is important while designing the projects. In many countries like India, the sustainability of E-governance projects is more if the project is cheaper. The National Informatics Center (NIC) has formed a specialized Linux group to develop cost-effective E-governance applications. Apart from Microsoft's proprietary software solutions, NIC has created a road-map to develop applications on Linux, an open source code operating system (OS). The cost of the operating system as well as the technological platform on which the project is going to be developed affects the cost of the whole project. Open source is a solution for this and supplies almost every type of technology to develop effective E-governance solutions [20] . Cash-strapped government should look forward for solutions which have features and are also cost effective. Countries like China have used Linux for their E-governance applications. E-governance projects are considered large projects which involve elements like citizens, programmers, designers, officials, and processes. These projects are highly dynamic and consume more time and become costlier. The project manager and officials who manage these projects have to cope up with frequent changes in the software requirement. It is imperative to identify various management and technical constraints that can affect the cost directly or indirectly. Since if the project is supposed to be a community project, the cost it incurs has to be calculated differently than the conventional projects. E-government projects like other projects are decomposed into modules and then modules are decomposed into atomic processes, and various cost-calculating techniques can be applied for cost estimation. Since E-government projects are of a larger time frame and inevitable delays are involved in them, hence the cost of projects become exorbitantly larger as the time passes and projects need to be closed without completion.

Without a clear vision in E-government projects, the whole project becomes very large and complex to integrate, so it is better to prioritize processes that need immediate attention and decide the goals on the per process basis rather than the project basis so that the vision of the project becomes clearer. This makes the project financially more viable. Manpower involved in the project is equally important and affects the cost. Because lots of people and organizations are attached with the projects and many of new ideas need to be implemented in a project, hence it is better to use a democratic decentralized (DD) group which is best self-motivated and cost-effective group formation for solving a complex problem. One of the noticeable things is that in the DD group, task coordinators are appointed on their expertise in the area of the problem domain, [21] which is highly desirable in E-governance projects. A DD group combined with a community participation model is a good approach for E-governance in developing countries. The decomposition of the problem into independent reusable modules can be developed by community, as the reusable components make use of existing classes and components and encourage the reusability, scalability and reliability of an application which leads to 70% reduction in development time and 84% reduction in the project cost [21] and makes the projects more feasible. For cheaper development, the management of an E-governance project should be community based where the core of the E-governance will be developed in the closed environment and then it will be made available to the general users who might contribute their technical expertise in code or testing or any other area of interest. Community-based project management drastically reduces the cost of development but since most community-based projects are developed by a DD team and it needs asynchronous communication, so it requires an effort on the part of the organization to deploy and maintain projects and provide tools for collaboration and reusable code repositories, issue trackers, blogs, etc. Apart from this, users and domain experts, who are the officials and have been working on the identified processes for a long time, are also supposed to be part of projects. Their involvement drastically reduces the cost of the project as can be seen in the Ahmedabad municipal corporation project "Urban E-Governance" implemented by Gujarat government [4] .

2.6 Connectivity

Connectivity between the data center (data repository used in solutions/services) and service centers (where services are deployed) is one of the major financial factors, if the services and data related to services are maintained separately. High bandwidth and broadband connectivity plays a crucial role in delivering services. Most databases have the facility of creating a view to protect data and the downside of the view is the time they take to retrieve data and make it available for use. Views actually do not hold any information and they retrieve information every time they are called and this takes a significant amount of time. A UN survey revealed that governments who invest on broadband scores relatively high [5] . No single connectivity solution is successful. Therefore, systems should be designed to handle multiple connectivity options [22]. Various factors that play roles in the connectivity solution architecture are cost, topology, service providers, technologies available, and current and future capacity requirement. More the network latency, slower the service delivery and hence lower the service usability index. The term network latency refers to the time elapsed between the sending of a message to a router and the return of that message (even if the process only takes milliseconds, slowdowns can be very apparent over multiuser networks). Latency problems can signal network-wide slowdowns, and must be treated seriously, as latency issues cause not only slow service but data losses as well. Another major issue is the network framework supported by the present state of Internet. Considering the distributed E-government solution architecture, one government solution should combine and take advantages of other sophisticated solutions by sending the messages over the Internet to another solution or with another component over the LAN/WAN but the question that arises is as follows: Is the current technology mature enough to support this kind of messaging services over the Internet? Major vendors that provide messaging services work well with LAN as well as with WAN. Some problems associated with this issue are the connectivity, communication performance, network latency, and network and application security. So networking and network latency is an important issue when dealing with the service delivery because of the network and Internet-work based computing. The IT paradigm has already shifted toward the Internet-based solutions which comprise an XML-based solution instead of electronic data interchange (EDI), service-oriented architecture (SOA) instead of conventional software components, web services instead of remote procedural call (RPC), enterprise service bus instead of queue-based processing, and the use of grid technology instead of web servers and application servers. It is the readiness of the government to accept these changes and build a scalable, extensible, and reusable framework to encompass these technologies. The basis of all the above-mentioned technologies is good networking and connectivity speed which is indispensable in providing services to citizens.

2.7 Common, Consistent User Interface

Every user is expected to access E-government services hosted by the government through a web interface. Various methods have been devised to judge the quality of interfaces and web services [23],[24] . A nonconsistent user interface across the states, in developing countries, poses problems and inconvenience in interacting with the government services. User comfort gets affected as the user moves from one government portal to another. A template-based common user interface can be developed for the governments because of the similarity in the services they provide to their citizens and the content they host in their web interface. Almost all the portals of states in India host a similar type of content in their web interfaces except the placement of the links and material especially related to the E-government services. A well ergonomically designed consistent web interface through which the user accesses E-services is need of the hour to encourage a citizen's participation in E-governance, especially in developing countries, where citizens are less technology aware and the illiteracy rate is high. A consistent user interface enables the user to learn and use the system quickly. This not only encourages the citizens to use the services but also helps the productivity in interdepartmental works. The learning slope of the user should be kept in mind when developing a user interface or E-government services. It must not start from zero every time but should start from where the user left so that the user does not have to learn the same thing in a different manner every time he or she uses the service. Many disabled PC users cannot use the mouse and they need standard software provides an unlimited keyboard access to E-service.

To provide the better ergonomically designed user interface template with a good learning slope is one challenge in designing a governmental web portal. Other aspect of this problem is the individuals with visual impairments; special needs in terms of the application's appearance should be taken care of. The more information the screen contains, the less users are able to be in control of what's displayed on the screen. A design like this more often has a negative impact on normally sighted users as well. The more a screen contains, the more information the brain has to filter what was visually absorbed. Providing information on an extremely visually oriented level also has a negative impact on visually impaired users. A status or meaning of information being only conveyed by a difference in color or shape is only obvious to users who have no visual handicap. Blind users and users with low vision and color blindness usually cannot be benefitted in this way of design due to their specific disability. Above all this, the appearance of an application should be customizable regarding special needs of the end user (fonts, contrast, etc.) to comfort the user, who should be considered as a user working at least 8 h a day with the same kind of application.

Focusing on users with physical disabilities, the usage of the mouse is sometimes taken out of consideration. For this group of users, navigation via keyboard is also as important as for the users with visual impairments or the nondisabled power user. For those users who might only be able to work with one hand, hot-keys are easy to handle. The single keys should not be located too far apart from each other so that they might be reachable easily with the fingers of one hand. This is especially important for hot-keys of a standard functionality, which might be used permanently in doing a specific task. For this reason, developers and designers of IT products should take the challenge to make their product as usable as can be to enable as many users as possible to use their products efficiently from a long-term perspective. This basic idea should be included in every single part of the processes of specification, design, and implementation. The best way to find out about the usability and the accessibility of an IT product would be to sit down and use it for several hours


   3. Conclusion Top


Many countries with fewer resources at their hands have more challenges for the implementation of E-government solutions. E-government solutions face many technological challenges when ICT is used as a tool to implement E-governance in the state. The lack of Data acquisition and cleaning policies in data management, massive nonstandardized parallel development of solutions with noninteroperable behavior of services, questions the sustainability of a project. The poor bandwidth of broadband and lack of privacy and security policies with a compromising attitude toward the protection of data become a hindrance in making the service successful. At present, the lack of a consistent user interface without any accessibility features makes the solution useless among the physically challenged. The missing culture of monitoring, evaluation, and getting a comprehensive feedback becomes another hindrance in the improvement of E-government services. Governments of the state are focusing more on the services rather than the assessment of the impact of the services and their quality. Governments without any successful mechanism for obtaining feedback from the stakeholders lack in providing good services to the masses.

 
   References Top

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   Authors Top


Dr. Amar Jeet Singh has been teaching in Department of Computer Science, Himachal Pradesh University Shimla, India , since 1992. At present he is designated as Associate Professor in Computer Science and remained Head of Computer Science Department during 2005-2007. He has done Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Technology from NIT Bhopal (1991), Master of Science in Distributed Information Systems from University of East London (1996) under ODASS Scholarship and Ph. D. from Himachal Pradesh University (2005). His areas of interest are E-Governance, Distributed Information Systems, ICT for Development and impact of ICT on Society.

Mr. Rajesh Chauhan is a Research Scholar in the Department of Computer Science in Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla-5, He has done MCA from IGNOU in 2000 and Presently persuing his doctoral from Himachal pradesh University. His area of interest are E-Governance, Internet Technologies and Databases.



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