Nope! I am not talking about some icons here and there or some new colors, its just not about the theme, the official website of biggest Railways network of the world got a really big makeover from today. Its not a regular thing that some of the innovation from Govt. side could have given such a big impression to me and I must say, if someone could have done this, then it was to be http://irctc.co.in
Gone through the new interface and thought to give you all a ride of the awesomeness. First we will see the new interface of home screen and then will enter the most awesome part, the internal interface. I must tell you that they have reached to this home page after trying at least two other themes in last two days.
It was interesting to se that the new website seems to be adopting the new world coming from touch screen mobiles. The right top rectangular icons for services just fit into the touch language. Advertisements now finding place in the bottom in place of cluttering space here and there.
The likeable thing the space savvy zipped interface based on Jscript extensively, you find the folded menus to navigate to various options once you move the cursor over the menus.
1. User Guide Menu
The very first menu is user guide menu that contains links to educate users about the various facilities available through the website itself.
Probably still most of the people access the railways website for one reason PNR enquiry or finding the availability info about various trains. the second menu Enquiries takes care of those all and bring them all at one single place.
3. General Information
The third section takes care of information available about the various services offered by Railways, frequently asked questions like sections and also the various new announcements will get their places through here only.
This section lists out the Do’s and Dont’s for Booking Agents, list of names\addresses of agents. list of authorized agents etc.
5. Special Offers
This section will show up the seasonal offers that Railways makes time to time. I must say that Railway is much competitive and if in a whole we see the government services, then undoubtedly Railways stands as the biggest, efficient and most competitive service of Indian Government.
6. IRCTC Zone
IRCTC Zone seems to the advertisement zone kind of thing. Various packages like Shubh Yatra etc get their mentions here.
7. Mobile Zone
Mobiles has became really really powerful than ever and each of existing business seems to be trying to take advantage of the same. This section takes care of services that IRCTC might be offering for specially mobile access.
Internal Interfaces after login
Once you login into the site, you get introduced with a brand new interface that is much more convenient and super efficient to use. The most awesome part come, when we go for searching a train and booking a ticket, but we will come over that part at end. Lets see what more it offers.
There are total six big icons for display maintaining five common services any regular user might have used many times in past with old interface, lets see how new they have became now.
Booking history I wont say that they have got a functional overhauling. That doesn’t seem to be a case for most of the services except ticket booking, but one must praise the powerful yet clean and light interfaces as they are now.
I have not any current ticket available here, so cant show that option, but I guess its like the earlier kind of. Means you have to select radio button before the PNR number to take print out that button through the button in upper corner.
I must say that probably cancellation is the most smooth part of this IRCTC site since it was born otherwise, it was a hassle kind of thing to get refunds of your tickets, which you cancelled in last moments. But the IRCTC website made the process so simple and also guaranteed kind of thing. I always loved it and used it many times.. its great.
Like I was talking about cancellations, you can check my recent refunds that I got from IRCTC. I never felt worried about the fact that I wont get my money back or wont get that in time. IRCTC process is totally automated and transparent about it and the cleaner interface now is loveable.
As I am not using this service, so I am not sure about the functionalities and it shows me up like some advertisement only. May be people using this feature might get some interfaces behind the link.
This is also a thing that I never used, but you will love the fact that they are maintaining the exact same clean and sleek interface through out the site. Commendable and I must say that designer and other people, who made this change possible, should get pay hikes for sure.
There are many other features than just booking tickets like one feature that I noticed only by today is finding the pin codes that appears in last General menu at last position. Good and authentic database to find out pin code of some place.
You also find cool new features like track your ticket that integrate the tracking system of the official courier partner Overnite Express Courier Limited of Indian Railways. Its applicable for people, who book i-tickets that get delivered to you by courier (though I really doubt if many make use of this option ever).
The new interface is also richer about the information part, though the beauty lies in the fact that information is not scattered like links everywhere, but they are part of the system in natural ways. Remember, where you read the ticket cancellation procedure and rules related to that?
Also where you last read that what are the services that IRCTC website offers and what services they don’t offer or offer to limited audience. All is here now
Rest part of review, I will finish by tomorrow, till then don’t miss to praise the new awesome interface of http://irctc.co.in
This is the most awesome part of the new looks, which is not only as much clean as possible, but as much effective as well. Look like not only Nokia, but our Government was also listening when people were saying about Symbian Smartphones that various features require multiple clicks. Most of the essential activities are taking much lesser click than earlier.
This is the first screen you go through, if wanna book a ticket now…
Even the way, dates are handled is changed like the following…
I must say, whoever got the contract of redesign of IRCTC as they asked tenders for back in March, has done an awesome job, specially keeping the mobiles and touch screens in the mind.
The above is the most special part that impressed me really a lot. Once, you select a checkbox against the search results like the above, you get complete details like Fare, Name, Train Type, Distance and Availability for a week etc. without clicking additional buttons like it was the case in earlier design.
More of it, for getting the train route, now you have to click over the train name links and you will be straight to Train route page of that specific train. Really saved much of the energy.
Its still not exactly close to the design available for agent, whose screenshots I am not been able to provide till now as they get results irrespective of trains as well means you need a ticket and they will tell you in one query that which train got empty seat on that route and in which category without any more query. But still … great job done guys.
Now, as a technical person, I understand that this new look will accelerate the number of queries per seconds to deal with. According to my info, each of their database servers were already entertaining lacs of queries per second and this new design will push for more. I could only expect that they have restructured the database as well that seems unlikely due to such a volume of data and SLA of no downtime allowed. Though I have heard a few words over the migration part itself, but will come up with that details later on.
Though still its possible to optimize the things to bring the results like its giving now days in smooth manner, but there will be fear that if we keep on getting errors like this in peak hours.
All the best Indian Railways and whoever designed this new looks. Great job done guys, probably the best of this year.