Web portals are web-based gateways that grant authorized users access to a company’s central data. These specially designed web pages bring information from various sources to create a single point of access for information.
Web pages offer several key advantages over typical web pages as they can deliver customized, user-specific views. User roles help the web portal determine what privileges to give the user for searching, reading, updating and personalization capabilities. Stored information allows the portal to provide the appropriate content, services and tools based on user settings and other variables.
When a company wants to develop a web portal, they often turn to a reputable web portal development company. Most web portal development companies offer similar services but these services are not always equal. It is important to choose a company that has extensive experience developing web portals and provides the level of customer service that the business has come to expect.
Learn more about web portal development, types of web portals available and what to look for in a web portal development company.
What Is A Web Portal?
A web portal is a uniquely designed website that collects information from various sources and brings data and resources together in a uniform way. Similar to traditional websites, web portals can be accessed from multiple devices, such as personal computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets.
There are many reasons why businesses choose to develop custom web portals. Portals can efficiently deliver information to an audience, increase interactions between employees and customers, provide customizable features and eliminate the need for multiple logins. They can also support users in multiple tasks, offer a flexible layout and content, and make it easy for users to customize a personal space based on their needs.
Web portals are often confused with websites but there are some distinct differences between the two. Websites typically publish static, informational content while web portals allow users to interact with the data on the page. With a website, authentication is not obligatory but portals can contain pages that require user authentication. Websites are designed with a one-size-fits-all approach while web portals offer highly personalized, real-time experiences.
Many businesses wonder if they really need a web portal. Although not every company requires a web portal, many enterprises can greatly benefit from developing one. Web portals can save businesses time by consolidating all back-end applications into a single point of access.
What Are The Different Types Of Web Portals?
There are different types of web portals that can be custom-created to meet the unique needs of its target users. Some of these web portals include:
Self-Service Web Portals
A self-service web portal provides users with information on products, services or brand information. With a self-service portal, users can search for and request information, schedule services and activate or deactivate services. There are several types of self-service web portals, including government service portals, employee self-service portals and customer portals.
Patient Web Portals
Patient web portals provide patients with safe and secure access to their personal health information (PHI). Through a patient web portal, patients can self-schedule appointments, read the results of medical tests and communicate with doctors and nurses between appointments. Patient web portals must comply with HIPAA and FDA regulations for the safety of patients.
Vendor Web Portals
A vendor web portal collects and organizes supplier-related data and provides buyers with rich functionality for a smooth sales process. Vendor portals are commonly used by manufacturers, educational establishments, banks, government institutions and group purchasing organizations (GPOs).
Ecommerce Web Portals
Ecommerce portals are designed to help facilitate buyer-seller transactions. These portals offer a variety of purchasing and communication tools and other features to make it easy to buy and sell goods and services. There are two main types of e-commerce web portals, business-to-consumer (B2C) portals and business-to-business (B2B) portals.
eLearning Web Portals
An eLearning web portal is designed for educational purposes. These portals are commonly used by schools and other educational institutions to provide users with a variety of learning materials, such as videos, documents, presentations and interactive training materials. Businesses may also create eLearning web portals to use in the employee training process.
Community Web Portals
Community web portals aim to help people who have similar interests to exchange information and ideas. These portals contribute to the forming of collaborative relationships by providing users with social functions including chat, blogs, forums, media files support and events.
Partner Web Portals
Businesses may develop a partner web portal to help manage partner relations. These portals are often used by companies that sell through indirect sales. Partner portals offer a variety of tools and functions, such as inventory information, calculators, sales data, configurators, order status checking, advanced analytics and learning and training resources.
Choosing A Web Development Company
Determining the type of web portal for a business is just the first step. Companies must also go through the process of choosing the right web development company for the job. There are many factors to consider when selecting a web developer, such as what features are needed and the level of support needed.
Businesses often choose web portal development companies that they will effectively work with for many years to come. It is important that businesses are compatible with the web development companies they choose to ensure a long and satisfactory business relationship. Spend time getting to know the team, analyze the quality of their work and consider how well they communicate with customers. Trust and credibility are critical factors when choosing a web portal development team.
Some businesses require more IT support than others. If a business already has an internal IT staff, they may not need as much third-party support compared to a business with no internal IT employees. Consider how much help employees will need, such as resetting passwords or setting up email accounts. Great web development teams will provide businesses with the tools and functionalities they need to add new pages, update content and perform other basic tasks without support.
While cost should not be a deciding factor when choosing a web portal development company, it is a consideration for most businesses. Web portal design and development costs can range from hourly fees to fixed pricing. Businesses can also expect to encounter some ongoing charges, such as hosting fees and the cost of ongoing support from a team of software development professionals. It is important to fully understand these costs before signing a contract.
When comparing web development companies, start by reviewing the company’s portfolio of work. Many web portal development companies will share examples of their past projects online to allow potential customers the opportunity to evaluate the usability and functionality of their live projects and design skills. Look for a portfolio that aligns with the business’s needs and expectations.
Get to know the company better by reading online reviews and testimonials from past clients. This is a great way to learn more about the company’s dedication to customers, their experience in the industry and what to expect after hiring. Businesses can also request references from web development companies. If a business discovers that past clients were left unsatisfied, they can decide to do more research or move onto another company with a better reputation.
After researching references and reviews, look at the web development company’s own website. The quality standards that a company applies to their own website can convey much about their professionalism and dedication to their craft. Look at the website’s design, features and the quality of the content that they publish. The website should be up-to-date and offer comprehensive information about what products and services are available.
The Web Portal Development Process
After selecting a web portal development company to take on the project, become familiar with the web portal development process. Extensive planning and skill go into creating a custom web portal that aligns with business requirements and complies with all legal regulations.
The process generally begins with the planning phase. A business must know the primary purposes of the portal and who is the target audience. Next, consider what features will most benefit the end-user. Personalization plays a key role in the success of a web portal and the effective delivery of relevant information to users. Personalization enables users to see only information that they need and eliminates information that wastes visual space.
Navigation is also an important feature to consider when developing a web portal. Implementing the right navigational tools allows users to easily find what they are looking for with a click of a button. The web portal should be highly responsive and easy to access in just a few seconds. If it takes too long for a page to load, users are unlikely to continue accessing the portal.
The next phase of the process involves architecture; the web portal designer will build an attractive architecture based on the business’s needs and preferences. This may include a search bar that allows for efficient browsing, contact forms, images and other components. This is followed by development and testing. Testing the developed web portal can help identify and eliminate errors and possible bugs. Once all problems have been resolved, the web portal can be successfully deployed.
Speak With A Web Portal Development Company
A web portal is not just a web page but rather a complete web solution that can organize and display interactive content for a wide range of users. Developing a web portal can be a long and complex process but with the right web portal development team, businesses can build a portal that aligns with their business goals. For more information or to speak with a web portal development company, schedule a consultation with Orases today.