Friday, December 01, 2006

The trouble with portal dashboards

How portal dashboard usability can be improved ...

"Enterprise portals are supposed to make systems more accessible to real, live humans. But portal technology adopters today face several usability challenges, including complicated dashboard interfaces.

Based on hundreds of interviews CMS Watch has conducted with users worldwide, it’s clear that portal software customers must invest more in creating usable and accessible user interfaces. Today most organisations blindly adopt the default ‘building block’ approach to layout found in enterprise portals – a relic from the early days of public internet portals.

But users complain that while such an interface may look slick in early sales demonstrations, in production it typically only facilitates work for technically adept super-users. The occasional user easily gets confused and frustrated working with a cluttered screen of little boxes showing many different portlets. Getting adequate value from the portal typically requires substantial training.

... • What’s needed to align all parts of the portal with corporate style guidelines? Remember to include portal administration;
• What type of user interface would be most productive for different use cases? Many buyers just think ‘enterprise portal’, without considering that there are many different types of portals for different purposes. In our research, we’ve identified seven common portal scenarios. Only one of them naturally lends itself to a dashboard interface;
• Be prepared to invest in plenty of user interface work. Recognise that different tasks, by definition, will bring different usability norms."    (Continued via el Magazine)    [Usability Resources]

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