Card Sorting results – the new structure of portlets in SN7

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First of all, thank you guys for taking your time and completing our test! The result was quite instructive for us. It provided us a solid starting point to design the new architecture of the portlet system in SN7.

By analyzing the results of the Card sorting test, we learned a lot about how end users and developers are related to the portlets in Sense/Net, since both groups were represented as participants in the test.

Briefly, the main benefits that we drew from this research were the following:

  • We learned that end-users and developers use portlets very differently, on very different levels, and for different purposes
  • Therefore we decided to build a two-level system to serve both user categories
  • The Portlet level will support developers with a wide range of fully customizable webparts, tailored for their needs
  • The Widget level will support end-users with preconfigured widgets, which are actually easy-to-use predefined dynamic content-boxes
  • We’ll get rid of the unused portlets
  • We’ll reorganize the structure of portlet categories based on the results of Card Sorting test
  • We’ll design a tag system, to provide easier search options between portlets and widgets

Portlets for Developers

A Portlet, until it gets displayed on a Portlet Page needs to be set up and configured in a couple of ways. Portlets also need to be armed with the efficient Appearance, ListView, ViewFrame, Context, Query, Cache and a couple of other UI elements and parameters that provide full customization, but are not obvious to setup or to install for end-users.

For example, the List Portlet is able to display any kind of content stored in a Content List. This Portlet -just like before- is fully customizable with the required UI elements to be added: a ViewFrame that displays a toolbar, and a ListView to display the content itself according to the required layout.

In Sense/Net 6 all these functions were achievable through four tabs on the editor-surface of the Portlet. So, to display a Calendar with the ListPortlet, you needed to set up the basic layout of the Portlet, and beside the ViewFrame, you also needed to pick the ListView as “Default view” from a Content Picker, which offered all Views in the Solution.

Portlets in Sense/Net

By redesigning Portlets, besides the existing use of Portlets for developers, we wanted to facilitate the use of built-in Widgets. These are inherited from Portlets with predefined UI components, for specialized use cases, with an easy-to-use interface for non-developers. The Calendar Widget in the future SN7 will have the CalendarView defined by default, no further setup will be required for the UI.

Widgets inherited from List Portlet

To deliver ready-made solutions to end-users, SN7 will sport pre-configured Widgets inherited from the List Portlet for the most common use cases. These Widgets are each specialized for actual purposes, mounted with a specific ContentView. These will be more or less the following:

  • Calendar Widget
  • Document Library Widget
  • Tasks Widget
  • Gallery Widget
  • Workspace list Widget

Adding a Widget like this to a Portlet Page will not require any coding- or Portal Builder-knowledge, only the name of the Widget and the data source needs to be given and there it is, a ready-made webpart inlayed to the selected Zone of the Page.

Widget wireframe

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