At Blended Perspectives we’re keen to share our extensive knowledge on all things Atlassian through our webinars and we’re very happy that so many of you choose to join us both live and on-demand. However, we also recognize that in the busy work day many would be viewers struggle to find an hour to set aside. Therefore, from now on all of our webinars will be accompanied by a brief summary covering all of the key points so no one has to miss out.
We recently ran a webinar on Portal apps for Jira and Confluence. Portal apps can be key to bringing context to work for role-workers and helping individuals feel a sense of orientated, especially in large corporate settings. Here’s a recap of all of the main points from the webinar:
Portal vs Intranet
While often interchanged, portals and intranets serve quite different functions. While intranets are concerned with social & collaborative features in which user attributes drive experience, the purpose of portals is to act as a jumping off platform.
Usually not personalized by user, portals offer a window into other workspaces and an easy way to step into them. Portals start you off and help you focus on pertinent information.
Why Portals Are Important
Every user maintains their own mental mode of conducting business while adding capabilities – with Apps, outside SAAS products – adds complexity. Furthermore, the bigger your organization is the more likely issues of this type will tend to manifest. However, an efficient enterprise requires shared understanding. Portals provide a shared understanding through a coherent experience to that lays this all out into a common view.
Jira Service Management, Jira templates for business teams, and Jira Align & Compass are all superb tools that arguably serve as portals. However, they are not the ‘main door’ of the enterprise. They are specialized to work to suit your needs once you’ve navigated to what you want to find inside your organization.
The abundance of tools available on Jira and its flexibility can lead to a number of organizational issues such as: the Navigational Paradigm not being customizable, tools dominating menus, solutions feeling disjointed, technical implementation being front and center (instead of the solution). All of this results in the user being forced to understand the implementation details to navigate they way around leading to ad hoc sharing over Best Practice.
What Portals Offer
A good portal should offer:
- Ability to create a customizable solution
- Role oriented navigation
- Integrated Jira and non-Jira content
- A cohesively presented solution
- A front and center solution (instead of the technical implementation)
This is an example portal (in this case Servado) which we use for our PPM solution blueprint. It’s a portal from which you start again, mapping your information architecture, linking dashboards, and other key views and laying them out on a blank canvas exactly how you want them. Therefore, this portal offers everything you could wish for from a good portal.
Portals are therefore key to our solution blueprints. In the case of our Governance Risk and Compliance solution a portal was key in keep the user experience simple to use and to ensure executives are presented with only key information. We recently deployed it to a large Canadian firm in place of legacy dedicated app hence saving them millions and demonstrating the power of portals in the process.
The Portal Apps
STAGIL Navigation: Great solution for hybrid business-technical teams who are familiar with Jira, need a few extra features, and need tight integration. However, functionality is limited on DC and, more importantly, there is no icon based interface (as you will see is the case on Servado and Refined).
Icons are so important as no matter how lovely and capable a built system is, if it’s visually confusing people won’t want to wade into the mess. Icon-driven interfaces are a proven paradigm for user engagement.
Servado: Successfully clears away all the clutter giving you a blank slate on which to lay out the destinations you want. You have define your tabs first, and then construct portals that can reach those tabs. It takes a bit of getting used to but it is very visually pleasing and we’ve used it extensively with clients who are generally very happy with it.
Refined for Jira: Refined shines from a User experience – it’s possible to very quickly build attractive portals that are a far from the practical but somewhat utilitarian defaults provided by Atlassian. We find Refined’s administrative experience a delight: it’s easy to move content around, assign and reuse pictures and icons. We particularly like that you can build infinitely nested views tailored to particular role’s needs.
In terms of Cloud vs DC for Refined, Refined for cloud is truly a SAAS service – Refined have their own infrastructure and you can build a refined cloud site that has several or no Atlassian sites connected to it. This is very unlike the DC version which is tightly coupled to the DC instance it runs inside of. Although more limited functionally, Refined for Cloud has the same drag and drop interface and is being evolved all the time.
Servado vs Refined: To some Servado looks better than Refined with easier imagery while it also has a more natural flow to it. However, when compared to Refined, it is somewhat limited in terms of its functionality. Servado has a limit of four levels of hierarchy which can’t be expanded without lots of workarounds and maintenance. Meanwhile, Refined is more powerful, allowing for unlimited levels of hierarchy which requires no input to maintain if you use the default options (i.e. associate a project rather than choosing to define panels with imagery). Furthermore, while Servado is limited to just portals, Refined has dozens of gadgets you can add.
In the end it is down to how complex your use case is and how much you care about presentation when you are making a decision between Servado and Refined.
If you enjoyed our recap and want to learn more then check out the webinar here.