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How to Implement Lighter Weight Portals, Part 3: Knockout Portlet
Thu, Sep 18th 2014 44
How to Implement Lighter Weight Portals, Part 2: Portlets
Tue, Sep 16th 2014 56
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How to Implement Lighter Weight Portals
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Should You Allow Your Users to Customize?
Michael Porter    

Probably eight out of ten clients start out asking for customization of some kind.  Usually, the customization broken into two categories:

  1. Give users a page like My Yahoo! or iGoogle.  Let them add portlets or widgets at will and let them customize the portelts themselves like we do with weather or stock
  2. Let users define their interests in their profile page so they can receive targeted content and feeds

Let me tackle the second item first.  If you have users you know well enough to let them define things like what products they want to follow, whether they should be notified of new invoices, lab results, etc; then yes you should give users the option to update it.  I would make it part of the profile and I wouldn’t push it hard.  In other words, make it easy to update but don’t force your users to do it.   You can also make it easy to follow a page or topic by letting them click a follow this link, a star , or some indicator on the page in which the content resides.  Of course, if you don’t know your users all that well, perhaps you should complete some user studies or hook up some decent web analytics before you dive in.  That way you won’t push them away because you completely misunderstand what they want.

What about My Yahoo! or iGoogle like functionality?

OK, this is the fun one.   Whenever a client asks for that functionality for their users, I ask the following important question, “How often do your users login to the site?”  If they answers with once a month or twice a month then I tell them it’s a waste of time.   These are users who login to do some very specific things.  They want to see their explanation of benefits or to view and pay their invoice.  They don’t care if you allow them to add a portlet that does some whiz bang kind of thing.  They want to get in and get out.  Don’t get in the way of their transaction or information.

Imagine the worst case scenario if you do customization wrong.  You are a utility, you let a customer create a completely customized home page the first time he or she logs in.  You may even force them to do that.  They really only care about checking their invoice and paying it but in setting up their home page, they leave out the invoice portlet.  One month later they login and it’s nowhere to be found.  Of course, your customer already forgot they customized the page. They can still customize their page to add the invoice portlet back but they aren’t thinking, “I want to customize my page?” They are thinking, “Where can I find my invoice?”  You now have an angry customer who didn’t pay his or her invoice on time and your DSO just went up.

Now take users who live in your portal.  It may be employees or it may be your power users who use your service to monitor usage and things like that.  These people want more features. To them, your portal is an application.  At that point in time, you should be thinking about multiple levels of customization including:

  • subscribe to content changes
  • notifications and alerts
  • customize a home or work page
  • Customize a results list so they can see the columns that matter
  • etc.

How do I create a personalized experience for infrequent visitors

For that person who only logs in once a month, you can still create value for them while gaining equal or greater value from the customer. You want to take what you know about the user and treat them differently.  Here are a couple ideas that use either a personalization engine or a rules engine:

  1. Our local store is having a special and it’s only 5 minutes away from where you live
  2. We see you are having an knee operation.  Did you know that if you use this facility, it will cost you $5,000 less
  3. Bad weather has closed the following facilities or this click here to get to the Hurricane Andrew page to hear what’s happening.  Target this by location of the user.
  4. I see you use this service of ours and we just introduced a companion service
  5. You might be interested in a new article about the Bahamas or Jamaica because you own a property there.
  6. We just updated a new product and with it comes a whole ream of documentation you will need to service is Mr. Partner

You can use personalization in all kinds of ways for customers, partners, and employees…….but you get the picture

Bottom Line

So here’s my shortened version of what I just wrote:

  1. Before allowing customization, understand your user. If they visit your site infrequently, then don’t allow customization.
  2. If you allow users to customize a home page or my work page, don’t take away other paths to get them to key content or functionality
  3. Make it easy to customize.  Drag and drop is nice.  Textual lists not so much.
  4. You can and should allow users to update their profile with interests.
  5. You can and should let users follow content or make a portlet part of their favorites so they can easily find it later
  6. If you won’t allow customization, you can still use a personalization or rules engine to create more value for the user or to target them with products or information they may find useful.

 

 



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http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/PortalSolutionsBlog/~3/V47HagJ8Gtw/
Apr 16, 2012
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Recent Blog Posts
44


How to Implement Lighter Weight Portals, Part 3: Knockout Portlet
Thu, Sep 18th 2014 5:15p   Mark Polly
In this series, I’m showing how Portals don’t have to be heavyweight.  In Part 1, I wrote about how to make the infrastructure lighter by using cloud or IBM’s Pure System.  In Part 2, I introduced the concept of using IBM’s Web Content Manager system to build very simple portlets. Now in this final installment, I am going to extend the concepts introduced in Part 2 to show how we can build more complex portlets, but still keep everything lightweight.  To review quickly [read] Keywords: ibm application css dojo interface java javascript network portlet widget
56


How to Implement Lighter Weight Portals, Part 2: Portlets
Tue, Sep 16th 2014 12:11p   Mark Polly
In part 1 of this series, How to Implement Lighter Weight Portals, I talked wrote about the infrastructure and installation aspects of Portals. To make the tasks of managing and installing portals, I recommended cloud solutions and for IBM, their PureApplication system both in the cloud and on-premise. In Part 2, I turn my attention to applications and how to make task of developing portal applications more lightweight. The goal of a portal is to combine applications and content at the glass fo [read] Keywords: admin ibm application applications interface java javascript portlet websphere websphere portal xml
157


Using Mapping to Show Up-to-Date Content
Thu, Sep 4th 2014 11:12a   Michael Porter
Sometimes I’m amazed with what some of our developers do.  I’ve seen so many examples of code just thrown together. I’ve seen that code produce infinite loops, slow down load time by a factor of 10, and take down servers.  So when I see an example of someone thinking through how to efficiently create code, I’m amazed.  Anyway, Parshva Vora, a Sitecore developer here at Perficient, just blogged on how you can use mapping to create agile code and more efficiently get at [read] Keywords: database microsoft
98


How to Implement Lighter Weight Portals
Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 9:11a   Mark Polly
One of the complaints we often hear about horizontal portal systems is they are complicated and feel “heavy”. What makes a system feel heavy and how can we lighten the load? In a typical portal application we have to integrate multiple applications, content and document management systems, security, search, personalization, page management, etc, etc. is it any wonder why a portal would feel heavy when you try to bolt together all these systems? Some vendors have taken the approach th [read] Keywords: ibm application applications database db2 development portlet security server websphere websphere portal
76


Why Patient Portals Remain Healthcare’s Enigma
Wed, Sep 3rd 2014 9:11a   Michael Porter
CIO.com has an interesting article about why patient portals just aren’t popular.  I think the author, Brian Eastwood, gets some things right but also misses some key reasons or challenges.  Here’s what he got right. Adoption just isn’t very high. No one is using the patient portals that are out there. Doctors don’t use portals………….and they don’t have patients who use portals.  In other words, if a medical provider still thinks the best w [read] Keywords: applications office security server
167


Forrester Digital Experience Wave
Wed, Jul 30th 2014 3:12p   Mark Polly
Last week Forrester published their first Wave on Digital Experience Platforms.   I was at the IBM Digital Experience Conference and it sounded like IBM was expecting good news from Forrester in this wave.   In fact, Stephen Powers from Forrester was the Keynote speaker at the conference and one of the principal authors of the Wave.   Much to every one’s surprise, the Wave came out with nobody listed as a Leader.  Adobe, hybris (SAP), IBM and Sitecore came out as the Strong Performers [read] Keywords: ibm development sap
185


WebSphere Portal and UI Myths and Facts
Wed, Jul 30th 2014 12:12p   Michael Porter
I don’t know how I missed it but Harish Bhavinachikar has a nice post on what you can do with modern UI tools in WebSphere Portal.  It’s on our Spark Blog but addresses something that keeps coming up again and again.  Frankly, the front-end tools have changed considerably in the last couple years.  Modern UI tools / frameworks like AngularJS, Bootstrap, JQuery, and a host of others make it easier to manage the UI and to further enforce separation of the front-end from the back-end [read] Keywords: ibm css javascript mobile portlet websphere websphere portal
141


Google Search With Sales Force
Wed, Jul 30th 2014 9:12a   Michael Porter
Brendan Callum, a director and whiz extraordinaire in our Salesforce practice, has a video out about what they did with Google Search and Salesforce. The video doesn’t go into a lot of detail but I find it extremely interesting that an appliance (older trend) searches the cloud (ongoing trend) in a secure fashion.  Of course, why do you need detail when someone developed a connector for it and all you have to do it buy, install, and go. [read] Keywords: google
143


Migrating Web Content Using Kapow (Part 3)
Wed, Jul 30th 2014 9:12a   Michael Porter
I’ve blogged about this before with Candace’s Part 1 and Part 2. She just published Part 3 in the series.  Here she focuses on what to do once you’ve extracted and transformed the content.  In other words, getting that web content into the target system. In this case it’s Sitecore, a popular .NET based WCM.  I think it’s great Candace took the time to walk through a step by step approach to this.  Go to her post for the full set of steps and details. Once data [read] Keywords: database microsoft
200


Hilton Changes The Game, Mobile Enables It
Tue, Jul 29th 2014 10:12a   Michael Porter
Hilton announced on their web site that they plan to change the game when it comes to the guest experience at their hotels.  While the press release doesn’t state the investment, the Wall Street Journal quotes it at $550 million.  But what’s really cool is that the smart phone will become: Your room key: bypass the line and head straight to your room The way to choose your room: choose your room from a map of the hotel Special requests: get upgrade, ask for amenities, etc. At fir [read] Keywords: application integration mobile




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