Month: July 2011

Intranet Portal Usability, From a User Experience Perspective

Posted by on July 25, 2011

The Nielsen Norman Group recently published a report on intranet portal usability based on 67 real case studies from enterprises worldwide. In contrast to other reports that typically offer vendor solutions, this report is seen from the user experience perspective, providing insight on what portals mean to users and how to deliver a portal solution that organizations need.

Jakob Nielsen touches on some important points from the report in his column. The overall trend for enterprise portals seems to focus on ways of making the existing features more robust and better managed as portals have become more widely accepted. The early definitions of portals being gateway access points have evolved; today’s portals can be thought of as a dashboard integrating all enterprise information and applications that employees need to do their jobs through a unified interface.

Interestingly, but maybe not too surprising, the biggest finding is that portals aren’t adding mobile features at the expected rate, at least not when compared to consumer apps. Most of the companies studied saw true mobile portals as being at least a few years out. Research has found that good mobile usability requires a separate design with a reduced feature set for mobile use cases, focusing on time- and location-dependent tasks, so it’s not enough that an existing portal is made accessible through phones since the UI is optimized for desktop use.

Since this report focuses on the user experience, it comes as no surprise that personalization is a critical component of a well-designed portal. The ability to integrate information from multiple sources can have its own disadvantages as the information can be overwhelming for the users, especially when it’s irrelevant. The more the portal serves up to the users, the stronger the need to curate what each person sees. Allowing users to customize what they see through individual user profiles provides an effective way display content relevant to each user.

Portals have long been known for its social features, but now they have also evolved into collaboration platforms. While most companies didn’t see a sharp distinction between the two, an easier way to distinguish the two is informal vs. formal collaboration, where formal content is officially managed and informal content is left to emerge on its own. This contributes to the issue of governance, which many organizations already struggle with. While governance may be a greater issue for larger enterprises, a key lesson learned is that organizations should plan the governance structure before starting a portal project. While there is no general governance solution that fits all organizations, they can look at governance solutions that have worked for others and adapt them to their own specific corporate culture and circumstances.

So while the portal industry has matured over the years, the focus now shifts to the user experience to create a solution that can be easily adopted and optimized. The full report can be found here, http://www.nngroup.com/reports/intranet/portals.

On a similar note, in one of our own recent webcasts (and at the Liferay East Coast Symposium back in May), we spoke on the topic of building and deploying a global intranet with Liferay, which touched on some of the same challenges that enterprises face when starting this type of initiative – personalization, governance, employee search. Our presentation is available for download here, http://www.slideshare.net/rivetlogic/building-and-deploying-a-global-intranet-with-liferay-8459841, and the webcast is accessible on our website, http://rivetlogic.com/resources/webcasts.

Rivet Logic is Now a Liferay Platinum Partner!

Posted by on July 21, 2011

Since becoming a Liferay partner in 2006, we have worked closely with Liferay and have seen the product mature over the years. So its increased adoption by enterprises worldwide comes as no surprise as the product’s numerous benefits are being realized. Recently, Liferay named Rivet Logic a Platinum Partner after a significant year of growth in sales and new implementations of Liferay in 2010.

“Enterprises dealing with content management and collaboration strategies are looking for best-of-breed tools as well as thought leaders who can guide them through critical decision points during the purchasing, development, and deployment cycles,” said Bryan Cheung, Liferay’s Chief Executive Officer. “Liferay provides a fantastic platform for developing web content and collaboration solutions, and Rivet Logic has become an industry thought leader in the development of these sophisticated solutions. With some of the largest deployments worldwide, Rivet Logic has earned its position as a Liferay Platinum partner and we look forward to their future success and partnership.”

We’re honored to become a Liferay Platinum Partner and will continue to deliver high-quality Liferay-based solutions to our customers while remaining active in the broader Liferay community!

Next up is the Liferay West Coast Symposium held on September 21-22 in Anaheim, CA.

Alfresco Partners with Ephesoft to Offer Open Source Document Capture

Posted by on July 08, 2011

Alfresco has formed a technology partnership with Ephesoft to bring together open source document capture, enterprise content management and CMIS for intelligent PDF capture and search and workflow management.

Ephesoft’s open source cloud document capture platform enables intelligent document capture for mailroom automation solutions.

Through this partnership, enterprises can archive document metadata or kickstart document-driven business processes in their enterprise ECM through Ephesoft’s intelligence capture. Document capture will be managed through scanners, email and fax to create searchable PDFs with metadata tags. The cool part is, documents are more than just captured, but also learned, meaning Ephesoft can classify the documents and separate them from other documents while saving key data elements that enable users to send it into other business processes when needed. Beyond document capture, Ephesoft also offers scanning, classification, data extraction and document delivery.

Rivet Logic has also recently partnered with Ephesoft to provide our customers system integration services for Ephesoft.