Web standards in this age of consumer internet
From approximately 7 million Internet users in 2001, India today has over 450 million internet users, making it the second largest internet population after China with 738 million users. US stands third in line with 280 million users. India is the second largest market for social networking giants such as Facebook and LinkedIn; 58,000 new users get connected on to a social network every day. 40 million Indians are online every day, spending between 40-45 hours over the Internet every month.
The primary drivers of the exponential growth of internet users have been the high penetration of mobile usage (there are today about 60% mobile led internet users) and increased affordability of data-enabled handsets, increasing awareness of internet and its expansion to small town / rural India.
In 2013 alone the Internet is estimated to have contributed to USD 60 billion or 2.7 percent of India’s GDP. The Internet is already one of the larger sectors in the Indian economy, larger than sectors like healthcare (2.5 percent) and military (2.5 percent), but still smaller than agriculture (14 percent). It is estimated that the Internet economy will grow to over 4 percent of GDP by 2020, comparable to developed markets like the US, EU and Japan.
Consumers are increasingly using the Internet as their first port of call for information. BCG’s Centre for Consumer and Customer Insight (CCCI) which conducted a survey of 25 cities, reported that over 50 percent of consumers who have access to the Internet go online to make informed purchase decisions.
There are a slew of initiatives being taken by Government of India to enhance internet access and usage, including providing free tablets to students, digital education, encouraging consumer facing departments to engage with consumers online (Banks, Public Utilities Etc)
By 2018, 200 million individuals and 8 million SMEs will connect and perform transactions online. Users will make purchase decisions based on information gathered online. In India as in many other countries, direct consumer-to-consumer transactions are on the rise with 70 million users making use of online classifieds like OLX and Quickr. The industry is set to grow at 20 percent per annum by 2018.
A Gartner study reports that the carbon footprint of information and communications technology exceeded that of the global aviation industry for the first time in 2007. Every page you visit on the internet causes energy use across the world: The servers, the networks, the data centres and finally the computer that is used.
Change needs to start with the Education sector at the forefront of change.
The question to ask is with internet usage increasing and with it assuming such a large part of every day life is enough being done to ensure:
- Smart use of scarce and expensive digital infrastructure like bad width
- Inclusion of persons with disabilities who today exceed more than 1.1 billion in numbers across the globe
It is therefore important to encourage and promote web standards, including accessibility compliance. Web standards ensures:
- Smarter code
- Smarter usage of technology
- Speed in accessing of websites and therefore more effective usage of limited network resources and bandwidth