Intranets: Portal and Portlets or Dashboards

18 Sep 2009 - 10:56am
6 years ago
1 reply
1361 reads

I've been tasked with developing the requirements and UX for an
Intranet. The IT folks are talking about a portal model with the
multitude of legacy applications fully integrated as portlets.

I think that a personalized dashboards with single sign-on and links
to apps is OK with info feeds to the dashboard as appropriate.

My fear is that the portlet approach is too complex to successfully
design and implement. This sounds like the type of project destined
to fail. I was wondering if anyone has evidence-based POVs on Portals
vs. Dashboards from a UX / Usability / Project success viewpoint.


18 Sep 2009 - 12:55pm
Ben Rossi

It's only one facet of the discussion, but along with your concern
about complexity (which I took to mean the actual integration of the
legacy product with the new portlet wrapper), I would bring up the
problem with mixing interfaces.

When you have an intranet (with its navigation, search and tools,
visual styles, etc.), a portlet (potentially with its own tools and
chrome) and the legacy application within the portlet (navigation,
tools, styles, etc.), I have found it is next to impossible to
provide a usable experience.

Couple that with the likely assumption that the legacy application
being ported isn't the most usable piece of software to begin with,
you can imagine how poor the end result could be.


If you instead went with a dashboard model that polled data from the
various legacy applications to give a user a way to monitor what is
going on in their work-view, and then provided a way to action
against the displayed information (say by launching the legacy
application externally from an alert or a direct link), I believe you
would have a much more concise (and more oft-used) experience.

A nice by-product of this approach is that you have control over the
way that the data from the legacy apps are used. They could be mashed
up (if the capabilities exist) to form a more complete view over a
given set of information. Additionally, you can style these
components (be it charts, tables, alerts, etc.) to fit your corporate
brand, or to make them more usable than their native legacy
application display methods.

Best of luck!

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