A Guide to Planning Your Web Portal Projects - Part 2

The second article in our three-part series on planning your web portal development focuses on three actions to help you Ideate Your Solution.

This is the second post in our three-part series on planning your portal project.

Our first post discussed the four elements that you must identify in your project plan. With a better understanding of the root issue, your goals and integration requirements, the next phase in planning is Ideating Your Solution

Today we will highlight three actions that will help you brainstorm the ideal functionality of your portal.

Document the Current Process

Brainstorming sessions often begin with blank slates but this can work against you especially if your portal will need to integrate with other tasks and processes. 
A strategic first step is to document your user’s current process for accomplishing the task. Doing so will provide a starting point for you to flesh out the functions your portal will require. A valuable practice is to gather this information from multiple sources, such as:

  • Pre-existing documentation (e.g. including training materials);
  • The current journey for all user types;
  • Any roles that work adjacently to the process (e.g. customer service to an order process).

While there is a likelihood that some of the information from these various sources will overlap, it will not look completely identical, particularly the differences between individual users. Capturing this information can provide important insights for optimizing the process based on the actual, rather than an ideal, user journey. Additionally, these notes will help improve your solution's usage and adoption, as it will be a user-centric development.

Envision the Future State

After capturing and documenting the current process, you will need to thoroughly analyze it from end-to-end. Simply taking the process as is and digitizing it will not accomplish the goals you set for this project. The maxim “you get what you give” fittingly applies here. A mediocre approach will result in a mediocre output, whereas an optimized process will produce optimal results. Your goals will be especially useful here; use them to assess which steps need to be added, removed or changed.

Next, you can begin converting this updated process into a digital workflow. To start, envision the future state of your process while disregarding all constraints. Constraining ideas from the beginning will only limit your ability to automate and transform as much of your process as possible. Once a compelling future state has been conceptualized, reintroduce constraints and thoroughly challenge them. The objective here is to leverage digital tools and technologies to achieve your goals. This will ensure your web portal generates the most value for your business.

It is also important to note that you should conceptualize the entire process from end to end. While it may be tempting to only focus on certain stages or aspects, it will result in a discontinuous experience for your users.

Prioritize Features

As you outline your digital workflow, you will naturally create components and capabilities that do not exist in your current process. Each characteristic can be considered a product feature you want to include in your web portal. However, all of these features are not equally valuable. According to a study by, a product development platform, the average software product contains as many as 80% rarely or never used features. Although it may seem logical to include every feature in your scope, it can bloat project cost and development time. Including everything also adversely affects user adoption by making your solution too confusing or complicated to grasp.

Rather than settling for a subpar portal, you should prioritize your features. Using the project goals you identified earlier on can be a great measure for assessing a feature’s value. If a feature doesn’t directly contribute to or impact one of your specific goals, it should be assigned a lower priority in your build. This prioritization will also protect you from scope (feature) creep, which slows down development efforts and can bloat your project.

You may also find it helpful to categorize your features into three groups: necessary, preferred, and nice-to-have. Necessary features are required for minimum functionality and achieving your project goals. Preferred features allow for some customization of a step, and nice-to-have features enable in-depth control of all components.  

For example, your goal is to automatically create an invoice for ordered products. The necessary feature is to have ordered products automatically populate into a templated invoice. A preferred feature would be the ability to sort ordered products by some type of attribute such as cost. The nice-to-have feature would be the ability to drag-and-drop each component of the invoice to have full control of the aesthetic and appearance of the invoice. 

That wraps up the second phase of planning your portal project. In the final post of this series, we’ll cover the aspects required for Implementing Your Portal.

To assist you in developing the optimal design of your web portal, contact us: to help you optimize your results.

Latest Articles

View All

A Guide to Planning Your Web Portal Projects - Part 3

The third and final installment of this series covers three core considerations as you Implement Your Portal in your organization.

A Guide to Planning Your Web Portal Projects - Part 1

This article is the first in a three-part series covering the ten essential considerations for planning your web portal development, starting with Identifying Your Needs.

How to Improve Your Customer Experience and Bottom Line

Improving your bottom line and customer experience are typically seen as mutually exclusive activities - but a surging digital transformation trend is changing that.