In today’s digital business landscape, a successful web portal, or user interface, depends on its foundational platform. There are many options and providers to choose from which makes identifying a portal platform that aligns with your organization’s vision and requirements that much more important. This guide will help explore crucial considerations such as compatibility, ease of use, scalability, security, and ongoing support to provide the key knowledge needed to select the optimal platform for your organization’s web portal.
Understand Your Portal's Core Objectives and Audience
Ironically, the ideal beginning of a portal platform decision does not begin with the features and capabilities of various platforms. Instead, it is essential to first define the portal's purpose and target audience to help narrow the options to a platform that can meet your organization’s specific business needs. Here are three key insights to help initiate a portal platform search.
- Business orientation: Will your portal designed for B2B or B2C interactions? This distinction will influence the necessary features and user interface.
- Portal category: Is the nature of your portal for customers, suppliers, employees? Will your portal be informational or community-driven? Each category comes with a unique set of requirements that should be disclosed in advance to help narrow your specifications.
- Technology roadmap: Do you have a technology roadmap to support organizational growth in the next three to five years? If yes, how does the portal platform fit into that structure? Having a plan means you can anticipate different scenarios to determine core objectives for your portal.
Ensure Compatibility with Existing Systems
By far, the bulk of the portal implementation efforts reside in compatibility with your organization’s existing infrastructure. Your organization must be able to integrate the portal platform with existing systems and technology stack to save time, money, and resources in the long run.
Additionally, the platform should be customizable to seamlessly integrate with existing technologies and, ideally, expand over time with your organization’s needs.
- Integration capability: Research portal platforms with proven integration compatibility with existing customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. The ability to extract and merge information from different sources offers a unified user experience.
- Future-proof: Portal flexibility enables your organization to adapt, shift, and expand based on evolving needs. Your portal could serve as a hub for your organization’s digital infrastructure for several years. Confirm that the portal platform can accommodate new requirements without requiring a rebuild to upgrade functionality for at least five years.
- A mobile-first orientation: Consider focusing on the mobile experience initially, then scale to larger screens to ensure optimal performance, as well as minimal compute latency, for a variety of edge-enabled devices.
Deliver Ease of Use and Customizability
To make your portal as consumable as possible, ensure the platform you choose delivers a user-friendly experience for both your team and your users. Following are some of the features to look for when evaluating a portal platform.
- Intuitive interface: Select a platform with an easy-to-use interface for both administrators and end-users. Consider the layout and search capabilities to enable users in easily accessing the information they need in their workflow.
- Customization options: Portal solutions should be tailored to your organization’s business needs, targets, and use cases, including themes, templates, and plugins. Some of the individual features to look for in a portal platform include user personalization, tracking tools, self-service, workspace collaboration, analytics for business intelligence, and delivers on accessibility guidelines. Even more, users should be able to modify the portal’s features based on personal preference.
- Usability: Ensure first-time visitors and non-technical users can navigate your web portal by having the ability to use graphic elements, such as buttons, forms, and menus. Other features to look for include built-in visuals, like icons and infographics, as well as content formatting via a user-friendly dashboard.
Scale for Growth
The portal platform you select should pace your organization’s growth and accommodate increasing traffic. Over time, you may want to do geolocational marketing, expand the size of your portal, or even have different company brands hosted through a multi-site portal. It stands to reason that the longer your portal exists, the more users will see and use it. Following are a few factors that should be considered when thinking about future scale for your portal.
- Scalability: Opt for a platform that can handle increased traffic and data loads as your portal grows. The right portal will be able to handle increasing tasks, data exchange, and workloads without sacrificing performance, quality, or losing previous work or revenue opportunities.
- Performance: 47% of people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. Prioritize a platform known for rapid loading, effective caching, and streamlined database performance.
- Task automation: Look for the ability to automate portal tasks to minimize human error or distractions, such as available templates, project management tools, routine optimizations, no-code options for non-technical users, backups, and impact vs. effort analytics to prioritize updates and additional assets. Bonus: this supports new team members in learning the portal quickly.
Deliver Security and Compliance
Cyberthreats are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with some of the top threats being cross-site scripting (XSS), phishing, ransomware, code injection, viruses and worms, spyware, and denial of service (DOS) attacks. The consequences of a data breach are significant and costly to recover in that there could be a breach of network security, compromise of accounts or user identities, data loss, or proprietary resources being publicly exposed.
Even more, there could be regulatory requirements that, when out of compliance, can cost organizations monetary fines or negative user scenarios. Protecting your user data and ensuring compliance with industry regulations and standards is crucial.
Following are a few factors to keep in mind when considering a portal platform.
- Data security: Choose a platform with robust security features, such as encryption, malware scanning, firewalls, regular security audits to protect user data and prevent unauthorized access, and regular updates to protect against emerging vulnerabilities. Your portal should include Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS) as an integral part of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) security protocols.
- Zero trust: Ensure role-based permissions are in place for each user, and that users are authenticated, authorized, and continuously validated with their credentials before being granted access to the portal.
Offer Support and Community
It is important to have a strong support system and an active community for troubleshooting potential portal questions from users and platform challenges from developers as well as staying current with the latest developments.
- Support: Opt for a portal platform that has responsive and knowledgeable customer support and offers self-service tools for quick resolution on outstanding questions and potential challenges.
- Communication and collaboration: It can be helpful for your portal to promote communication and collaboration among users through features like email, forums, chat rooms, secure file sharing, or social media. Quite often, peers can offer both social proof and insights to each other, reducing the need for staff intervention.
- Community: Choose a platform with an active user community that shares resources, best practices, and solutions to empower user decision-making and encourage engagement.
Selecting the optimal platform to build your portal is a critical decision that, ultimately, impacts its success. By considering the factors outlined in this guide, such as compatibility, ease of use, scalability, security, and support, you can make an informed choice for building a portal that meets your organization’s specific needs.
Jahia offers a flexible and powerful portal platform solution that offers a wide range of features, integration capabilities, and customization options. With its robust security, scalability, and intuitive interface, Jahia can be an excellent choice for building a successful portal tailored to your unique organizational requirements.
See a Jahia case study for real-world portal customer experience: