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HP Cooperation: A Comprehensive Resource for Government Services and Information in Himachal Pradesh

introduction

The Department of Cooperation in Himachal Pradesh stands as a pivotal government organization dedicated to fostering the growth and advancement of cooperative societies within the state. With a focus on uplifting the socio-economic conditions of rural populations, the department plays a vital role in nurturing cooperative movements and extending support to various cooperative societies. Through its multifaceted approach, the department aims to enhance financial capabilities, promote self-sufficiency, and drive sustainable economic development in Himachal Pradesh.

Objective

This case study delves into the multifarious endeavors undertaken by the Department of Cooperation in Himachal Pradesh to promote the cooperative movement and its profound impact on empowering rural communities. By examining the department's initiatives, strategies, and outcomes, this study aims to showcase the instrumental role of cooperative societies in bolstering self-reliance, fostering economic growth, and enhancing the overall quality of life for rural inhabitants.

Stakeholders

  • Rural Population- The primary beneficiaries of the department's efforts are the rural communities in Himachal Pradesh. Through the promotion of cooperative societies, these communities gain access to financial assistance, capacity-building programs, and essential services. The cooperative model facilitates equitable distribution of resources, creates employment opportunities, and improves livelihoods.
  • Cooperative Societies-Agricultural credit societies, consumer cooperatives, dairy cooperatives, and housing cooperatives constitute key stakeholders. These societies benefit from financial aid, regulatory oversight, capacity-building initiatives, and educational programs. They play a pivotal role in implementing cooperative principles and driving economic development at the grassroots level.
  • Department of Cooperation-As the central governing body, the Department of Cooperation holds a significant stake in the success of cooperative societies. Its effective implementation of policies, allocation of resources, and regulatory oversight directly impacts the growth and sustainability of these societies.
  • Government-The state government of Himachal Pradesh is a crucial stakeholder, providing policy direction, funding, and support to the Department of Cooperation. The success of cooperative initiatives reflects positively on the government's efforts to promote rural development and inclusive growth.
  • Financial Institutions-Banks and financial institutions collaborate with cooperative societies by providing loans, grants, and other forms of financial assistance. These stakeholders contribute to strengthening the financial capabilities of cooperative societies, enabling them to carry out their activities effectively.
  • Educational Institutions-Schools, colleges, and vocational training centers participate in capacity-building programs conducted by the department. They play a role in providing the necessary education and training to cooperative members and officials, empowering them with the skills required for efficient management.
  • Media and Public-The public and media act as recipients of awareness campaigns, education initiatives, and information dissemination conducted by the Department of Cooperation. They are crucial in spreading knowledge about the benefits and principles of cooperative societies, thereby creating a supportive environment for their growth.

The Users

Each user group has unique needs and expectations, so tailoring the website's features and content to address these specific points will enhance the user experience and engagement. Here are some pointers for the different user groups that may use a cooperative society's website-

Cooperative Society Members
  • Account Management-Provide features for members to log in and access their accounts, view balances, and transaction history.
  • Membership Information-Display details about their membership, including benefits, voting rights, and responsibilities.
  • Communication-Offer updates on cooperative activities, meetings, and important announcements.
  • Transaction Services- Enable members to make transactions such as payments, transfers, and contributions through the website.
  • Event Participation-Allow members to register for cooperative events, workshops, and seminars.
  • Feedback Mechanism-Provide a platform for members to share feedback, suggestions, and concerns.
Prospective Members
  • Membership Details- Present comprehensive information about the cooperative's objectives, benefits, and the value of membership.
  • Application Process-Outline clear steps for becoming a member, including membership requirements and application forms.
  • Frequently Asked Questions-Address common queries that prospective members might have about the cooperative.
  • Contact Information- Provide multiple channels for inquiries and support to help prospective members get more information.
Himachal Pradesh Cooperative Departments Employees
  • Department-Specific Updates-Offer the latest updates, policies, and guidelines related to cooperative initiatives within Himachal Pradesh.
  • Resources- Provide access to documents, manuals, and training materials relevant to cooperative activities.
  • Collaborative Platform-Create a space for employees to share insights, best practices, and success stories from their cooperative projects.
  • Event Calendar-Feature a calendar of cooperative-related events, workshops, and training sessions in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Networking-Facilitate connections between cooperative employees for knowledge sharing and potential collaborations.
  • Regulatory Information- Ensure that the website provides up-to-date information about legal and regulatory changes affecting cooperatives in the region.

The Challenge

The existing website design lacks a modern appeal and fails to cater to the needs of contemporary users. Navigating the site proves to be a challenge, and its visual aesthetics are uninviting. Moreover, there are indications that the design may not prioritize user requirements, resulting in a perplexing user experience and inadequate accessibility.

UX Observations and Pointers

In this evaluation, we employed Jakob Nielsen's usability heuristics to assess navigation, user flows, and design. Ensuring accessibility is paramount, meeting WCAG standards for inclusivity. The performance assessment, powered by Lighthouse, will focus on speed and responsiveness. Our visual design audit will encompass multilingual support, contrast, adjustable font size, mobile adaptability, consistent branding, hierarchy, and an appealing color scheme.

Homepage (Header)
  • Search Placement: The search function should prioritize recognition over recall in the accessibility bar. Placing it prominently rather than relying on users to remember its location is crucial.
  • Search Functionality: The search feature is currently non-functional, indicating a functionality bug that needs to be addressed.
  • Color Scheme Compliance: The selected theme options include colors that do not conform to WCAG guidelines. This inconsistency poses an accessibility concern.
  • Font Size Adjustments: The font size adjustment option for incrementing and decrementing has only one choice, limiting user control. Implementing more options for font size adjustment would enhance user accessibility.
  • Login Visibility: The login element's visibility in the accessibility bar is poor and lacks intuitiveness. A more visible and user-friendly approach, such as a CTA button, is needed.
  • Font Size in Accessibility Bar: The font size within the accessibility bar is too small and doesn't respond to font size adjustments, posing an accessibility issue.
  • Branding and Contrast: While branding is well-executed in the header, the current contrast ratio falls short of the optimal 4:1 ratio, impacting accessibility. This issue also affects the font size in the primary navigation, making it too small.
  • "Action Plan" Clarity: The "Action Plan" menu lacks clarity and intuitive content, requiring a reevaluation and clearer options.
  • Multilingual Support: The absence of multilingual support presents an accessibility concern. The accessibility bar in the mobile version needs a more effective representation to save screen space and enhance aesthetics.
  • Accordion Functionality: Allowing all accordions to open simultaneously increases scroll time and reduces user efficiency. Opening one accordion at a time would enhance flexibility and efficiency of use.
Homepage (Banner Image)
  • Banner Image Redundancy-The banner image lacks utility on the web and mobile versions, primarily functioning as promotion for Himachal Pradesh.
  • Non-Functional Carousel Button-The carousel button is inactive, rendering it useless for navigation. No additional images are available for scrolling.
  • Aesthetic and Minimalistic Design- The design should prioritize aesthetics and minimalism, removing unnecessary elements.
  • Missing Page Description- A concise description highlighting the page's purpose is absent, leaving visitors uninformed about the content and goals of the site.
Homepage (Body)
  • CTA Links:
  • The "View Registration Act" and "Click to Login/Apply Online" links suffer from inadequate sizing, potentially leading to accessibility issues, particularly for visually impaired users.

  • CTA Placement:
  • The presentation of CTA links as plain text rather than distinct buttons hampers their visibility and recognizability, impacting user engagement.

  • Registration Process Description:
  • The descriptions outlining the user registration process lack clarity and coherence, impeding users' understanding of the necessary steps.

  • Home Page Content:
  • The inclusion of irrelevant statistics on the home page contributes to a cluttered interface, potentially confusing users and diminishing overall user experience.

  • Latest Notifications and News Section:
  • The placement of the latest notifications and news section deep within the page necessitates excessive scrolling, causing user inconvenience.

  • Aesthetic and Minimalist Design:
  • The website's design lacks an appealing aesthetic and minimalistic design principles, potentially resulting in reduced user engagement and satisfaction.

Homepage (Footer)
  • Missing Sitemap in Footer
  • The footer lacks a sitemap, which is recommended by GIGW Guidelines for user-friendly navigation and adherence to accessibility standards.

  • Accessibility Concerns Font Size and Color
  • The website's font size and color combinations are not accessible, potentially hindering users with disabilities from effectively using the website.

HPCD Employee Login -Forget Password
  • The webpage lacks a footer, aligning with its aesthetic and minimalist design principle. (Issue: Missing footer) /li>
  • Error messages are not properly situated beneath the corresponding input fields, potentially causing confusion for users. (Issue: Error message placement)
  • An option to disable the login button could be considered, aiming to reduce the frequency of validation API calls. (Issue: Login button disabling)
  • The color of the login button does not adhere to the guidelines set by the Web Content Accessibility (WCA). (Issue: Non-compliant button color)
  • Error messages provided by the system lack clarity and specificity, making it challenging for users to understand the exact problem and take appropriate actions. (Issue: Unclear error messages)
Registration of Society under The HP Societies Registration Act, 2006 – Login

The inclusion of a footer on this page is unnecessary and could potentially divert the user's attention, impacting the overall aesthetic and initial design. Additionally, it is advisable to consider separating the new registration and login components from the current page. This separation can help alleviate cognitive burden and reduce user confusion. Like the concern found in the HPCD Employee Login Flow, this scenario presents a comparable challenge.

Registration of Society under The HP Societies Registration Act, 2006 – Signup
  • The system lacks proper validation for STD codes and phone numbers.
  • The current password requirements are not presented in an easily understandable way.
  • The password field lacks an option to show or hide the entered password.
  • The address input field doesn't receive the same highlighting as other fields.
  • Users are required to have a separate user ID for activation, which may not be intuitive.
  • Users need to navigate through multiple forms (signup, activation, and login) to access the dashboard.
  • Users encounter difficulties in opening the activation link from the received email.
Registration of Society under The HP Societies Registration Act, 2006 – Login (Mobile Version)

The highlighted issues with the current page are as follows:

  • Omission of footer: Excluding the footer is recommended to prevent user distraction and maintain aesthetic and minimalist design principles.
  • Registration and Login Visibility: The new registration and login sections should not be immediately visible on the same page. Presenting them together increases cognitive load and user confusion, leading to an undesirable scrolling experience on login or sign-up pages. This mirrors the problem observed in the HPCD Employee Login Flow.
Registration of Cooperative Society (Primary) under The HP Cooperative Societies Act, 1968

This flow is same as the Registration of Society under The HP Societies Registration Act, 2006 flow therefore it has the same problem.

Lighthouse Report: Mobile

The current performance level stands at 50 percent, reflecting some areas in need of improvement. The initial rendering of content takes 7.4 seconds (First Contentful Paint) and the display of the largest element takes 7.8 seconds (Largest Contentful Paint), both of which are considered poor. On a positive note, the total time where user interactions are delayed (Total Blocking Time) is 260 milliseconds, showing promise but requiring further optimization. Additionally, there is a slight cumulative layout shift of 0.06. Unfortunately, the Speed Index is quite high at 26.4 seconds, significantly impacting overall performance and contributing to the 50 percent rating.

Lighthouse Report: Desktop

The current performance level stands at 78 percent. Notably, the First Contentful Paint registers a commendable 1.4 seconds, while the Largest Contentful Paint also displays a respectable 1.9 seconds; both metrics, though satisfactory, have room for enhancement. Impressively, the total blocking time is a mere 30 milliseconds, signifying excellent performance in this aspect. Additionally, the Cumulative Layout Shift is admirably low at 0.013. Regrettably, the Speed Index records a rather sluggish 8.4 seconds, significantly impacting the overall score of 78 percent.

Research Phase

  • Current Information architecture
  • Discuss the existing information architecture of the website or platform, including its structure, content organization, and navigation pathways.

  • Overview of the Primary Flow on the Website
  • Explain how users currently navigate through the website or platform, highlighting any bottlenecks, drop-off points, or areas requiring improvement.

Synthesizing Phase

User Personas:
  • Rural Cooperative Society Member - Deepak*
  • Deepak is a 40-year-old farmer from a rural village in Himachal Pradesh. He is an active member of his local agricultural cooperative society. Deepak wants to access his account details, check his transactions, and stay updated on cooperative activities and meetings. He needs a simple and user-friendly platform to make payments and register for cooperative events. The current website is hard to navigate, making it difficult for Deepak to find important information quickly. The font size is too small for him to read comfortably, and the website lacks clear instructions for conducting transactions.

  • Prospective Cooperative Society Member - Priya
  • Priya is a young entrepreneur who is considering joining a dairy cooperative society in Himachal Pradesh. She wants to understand the benefits of membership and how to apply. Priya is looking for detailed information about the cooperative's objectives, membership requirements, and application process. She needs clear steps to follow and wants to feel confident that joining the cooperative is the right choice.

    The current website lacks a clear presentation of membership benefits and requirements. Priya finds it challenging to find the necessary forms and instructions for becoming a member.

Problem Statement for Deepak - Rural Cooperative Society Member

As a committed member of a rural agricultural cooperative society in Himachal Pradesh, I want to effortlessly access my account details, transaction history, and cooperative updates, so that I can manage my financial activities, stay well-informed about cooperative initiatives, and efficiently participate in events and transactions.

Solution for Deepak - Rural Cooperative Society Member:

To provide a seamless experience for Deepak, the rural cooperative society website should undergo a redesign with a strong emphasis on user-friendly navigation and accessibility. The website's layout should be simplified, and a clear, well-organized menu structure should be implemented to allow Deepak to easily locate and access important sections, such as account details, transaction history, and cooperative updates. To improve font readability, a larger and adjustable font size should be integrated to cater to Deepak's needs. The transaction process should be streamlined by offering intuitive options for making payments and registering for events. This could involve a dedicated dashboard where Deepak can manage his account, view transactions, and sign up for upcoming cooperative activities. Moreover, the website should adhere to WCAG accessibility guidelines, ensuring that Deepak and other users with disabilities can navigate and interact with the site effortlessly.

Problem Statement for Priya - Prospective Cooperative Society Member

As an aspiring entrepreneur exploring the idea of joining a dairy cooperative society in Himachal Pradesh, I want to clearly understand the advantages of becoming a member and navigate through a straightforward application process, so that I can make an informed decision about membership, confidently apply for participation, and actively contribute to the cooperative's endeavors.

Solution for Priya - Prospective Cooperative Society Member:

For prospective members like Priya, the cooperative society website redesign should focus on providing comprehensive and easily accessible information about membership benefits and the application process. A dedicated section should be created to clearly outline the advantages of joining the cooperative, including financial assistance, educational opportunities, and community support. The application process should be broken down into simple steps, complete with detailed explanations and illustrative visuals to guide Priya through each stage. Additionally, a user-friendly application form should be developed, allowing Priya to easily submit her information and documents online. To instill trust, testimonials from existing cooperative members could be prominently displayed, sharing their positive experiences and the impact of their membership. A responsive and accessible design should be prioritized to ensure that Priya can access the website and its information seamlessly across various devices. By addressing these aspects, the website redesign will empower prospective members like Priya to make informed decisions and confidently pursue membership in the cooperative society.

In the upcoming sections, we embark on a creative journey to transform our findings into tangible design solutions. Through engaging ideation exercises, collaborative discussions, and insightful meetings with our client, we will breathe life into our insights.

Ideation and Exploration Phase

The ideation phase is a crucial stage in any project, where research, brainstorming, and idea evaluation are conducted to generate and assess feasible, viable, and desirable concepts. Here's a brief explanation of each point:

  • Research: Gather data, analyze trends, market conditions, and user needs for project assessment and improvement.
  • Brainstorming: Collaborative, creative idea generation without judgment to encourage diverse concepts regardless of feasibility or viability.

Overall, the ideation phase serves as a critical foundation for the project by generating a range of concepts and evaluating their potential, ensuring that only the most promising ideas are pursued further.

Solutions and Implementation

Outline the specific solutions proposed and implemented based on research findings, detailing design changes, content revisions, or technical modifications.

Validation and Conclusion

  • Usability Study Findings
  • Explain the process of conducting a validation usability study to assess the effectiveness of proposed solutions.

  • Presenting Validation through Analytical Data
  • Describe how the validation results were presented using analytical data to support conclusions and demonstrate improved usability and user experience.

  • Summarizing the Result of Our Intervention
  • Provide a summary of the outcomes and results of the project, emphasizing the positive changes made and the value brought to the target audience.

Our Thoughts and Next steps

Assess data, generate ideas, evaluate solutions, develop action plan, monitor progress, and implement improvements for enhanced usability and user experience. Provide an overview of challenges, research phase, synthesis phase, validation process, and final solutions implemented, highlighting improved usability and user experience.

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