Ten things you need to know about the new Portal

10. Design
The first thing you will notice is that the design layout has completely change. I need to say it now before I randomly break out into hysterics – Frames are dead. I’ve never liked them my self and try to stay as far from them as I can. Iframes are a different story, but frames will be completely wiped out as soon as we hit HTML 5. When that happens frames will no longer be supported. The new layout takes huge advantage of div layers and the likes so that it appears slightly more in sync with the technology of the times.

The colors have altered drastically. Personally the yellow and purple from before made me cringe a bit. No disrespect for who ever did the design, I’m sure it made sense at time…. well maybe not but still. I’m sure in a few years, or even right after the release people will be complaining like crazy about the new stuff. It might take some getting use to but I’m hoping it will be at least be a little bit of an improvement. I chose to hang back from too much color so that the content on the page would have more weight then the actual design. People go to portals to link out to other information or to gain more information. They don’t need a flashy color scheme to distract them from doing that.

lastly things have been modularized so that content can be grouped and found easier. Logins are together, departments are together, searches are together, feeds are together… you get the idea.

9.The Count Down
This is actually a nice little extra feature that was thrown in. The count down as it currently is, counts to the last day of the semester. As time moves on it might change for special events or more then one might be displayed. It just depends on how things turn out.

8. Camera
Everyone knows there is a camera on the Green Space keeping track of our every move. The camera itself has even evolved to offer more functionality.

In the new design a refreshing image will be loaded in the WebCam tab so that you can stock the Green Space… or the performance area… or the softball field. But for now it isn’t the live feed, just a refreshing image. Below it will be a link for you to click and get the real feed with access to the controls of the camera angles.

Everyone thank Thomas for geting that working.

7. Library Chat
Some people are not aware that there is a live chat available for the reference help via meebo. Periodically through the day someone will be maning the meebo chat. Before it was just on the Library’s webpage, so only those who knew about it could find it. Now it has its own area on the portal. The Reference Help Chat drops down to expose the meebo chat so when you need to chat them up, you can.

6.Searches
There are now three searches available on the portal page.

The first is the library search, so that when you are doing research and you need to see if the library has a book you can use, all you have to do is click the link and a search box drops down. No more searching for the library webpage.

The second is the Morningside web search. This means that when you can’t find the information on the portal itself, you can search the whole of the Morningside web site by clicking the link that exposes the search box.

lastly is the google search. You didn’t think we would get rid of that did you? Honestly who do you think we are?

5. Weather, News, Menu, and Event feeds
Once again you will have to thank Thomas for his help on setting the Menu and Events feeds up. I couldn’t have done it without him. They will be in the middle of the page under their own tabs. Now you can know what will be in the caf, what it is like outside, and what is going on on campas or in the world right from the Portal.

4. emergency notification
You will not always see this feature. At the top of the page, when an emergency strikes, there will be a news ticker that appears under the Portal logo. What ever the emergency is and any information you need to know will then scroll across your screen.

3.Banners
Clear at the bottom of the page you might notice an annoying flashing banner. It was made that way for a reason and if you noticed it, then it served its purpose. From now on there will be banner space at the bottom of the portal page for any organization on campus that wants it. You can advertise events your group is doing, or just get the word out about your organization. As of right now I don’t think there will be a limit to the number of banners that can appear down there.

If you ever want to get an ad placed down there, just do as the current banner says and contact Shari Perley-Tramp. Oh, did I mention it is free?

2. Single Log In
So far I’ve had mixed reviews about this feature. Many loved just hitting enter after typing their password and some had their information saved in their browser… well not any more. Now you need to type your information in and then select which site you want to log into, and the information isn’t saved.

But April I like having my information saved so all I have to do is clicked enter!
Um, do you know how bad that is to do. Very. It would be so easy for someone to get their hands on that because you store it in your browser, in fact I could do that right now if I so desired to (which I don’t so no worries there). In the very least it will make you always remember what your password is, so when you aren’t on your own computer you can still log in.

But April I can’t click enter and I won’t remember to do it in the right order!
Well there is a safety in place in case you do click the radio button first. A little alert will pop up saying that you might have forgotten to do something and then return you to your previous browser state. As for the enter feature, for now you may just have to adapt. I know it is a cruel thing to do, but you might be surprised on how quickly you get use to it.

April, all the sites listed are not linked to the login!
This is for several reasons. The main reason Blackboard is not linked up is because very soon that site will be dropped from Morningside campus. Next year to be precise, so there really wasn’t much of a reason to link everything in and then have to undo it. I just thought it would need to be there for those who still need it before it disappears.

1. Evolution never stops
If there is something you don’t like, don’t panic we aren’t done. Even now, ideas on what could be done are being flung around. This isn’t the final product by any means. It is an evolving process and we would love to hear your input. If you have an issue let us know and if it seems others are having the same problem then something will be done about it.

So leave a comment here on what you think of the new design when you see it. How you you have done it? What do you want changed? What do you really like about it? This is all for you and if you don’t like it then we’ve done something wrong. We want to give you something that you will enjoy using, so leave a comment.

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    • Dean Stevens
    • December 12th, 2009

    I like this behind the scenes look at the new portal. It’s kinda like the I like the new technology and the understated look. I imagine that you have gotten a lot of feedback on the single login. You are learning one of the hard lessons of security. While it may be good for people to do it, they will not thank you for those efforts. Still, it makes me very pleased to think that even in a portal you are thinking about security as well as the aesthetics of the site.

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