If your organization wants to create a unique online access point for your customers, employees, or partners, you should consider web portal development. Web portals can serve several different purposes depending on the needs of your organization. In some cases, your business might find it beneficial to have multiple custom web portals for different types of users.
Web portals are an essential part of modern web development. They are used in almost every industry and context that you could imagine. Web portal development services can help your business or organization create a unique experience for your users, whether they are customers, employees, partners, members, or patients.
In this post, we will explain what web portals are, the common types of web portals used by organizations and businesses, and how they can be beneficial to your business,
What are Web Portals?
A web portal is a single online access point that contains a collection of different data points, information, content, and functions. However, the easiest way to explain what web portals are is to share a real-world example. For example, have you ever checked your bank account balance online using your bank’s website?
The screen you see after you log in that shows you your account balances, recent transactions, allows you to make payments, etc., is a prime example of a web portal. This example is a member or customer portal, but as we will see later in this post, web portals can be developed for any type of user or business.
A typical web portal requires a login for users to access their profile and dashboard. However, web portal development does not necessarily require authentication, and web portals could be made that are freely available to the public. Furthermore, the information and functions within the web portal do not necessarily have to be related to one another. Typically, all of the information in a portal dashboard is connected somehow, as in the example we shared above of the banking web portal, but this is not always the case.
Most web portals have highly personalized User Experiences. When users access a web portal, they are typically shown information that is directly related to them or the functions that they wish to perform. Naturally, this puts a premium on the User Interface design. If you’re going to give users highly personalized experiences, UI design needs to be a significant focus of the web portal development process to maximize the User Experience.
What Makes a Web Portal Different From a Website?
Just because you have to log in to gain access doesn’t necessarily mean you are using a web portal. So what separates a website from a web portal? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Web portals allow users to interact with data; websites do not.
- Portals are highly personalized; websites offer general, one-size-fits-all personalization.
- Web portals are often integrated with third-party tools like CRM or ERP software; websites are rarely integrated with third-party systems.
- Authentication is not required for websites or web portals, but portals are far more likely to require authentication.
Common Types of Web Portals
We have already shared the example of a banking portal, but as we have alluded to, several different types of web portals are commonly used. In addition to banking portals, there are:
- Patient portals
- eCommerce portals
- eLearning portals
- Enterprise portals
- Vendor portals
- Customer portals
Healthcare providers or insurance companies often provide these web portals. They allow users to review their insurance coverage, pay bills, schedule appointments, access important health resources, and so much more.
eCommerce portals connect buyers and sellers and facilitate transactions. These transactions could be B2B sales or B2C sales, but eCommerce portal development will ideally be geared towards one or the other to produce the best product.
These are also referred to as student portals sometimes. This type of portal is built for the EdTech sector. They allow students and teachers to interact online, upload assignments, resources for the class, and more. eLearning portals can also help students and parents keep track of grades.
These web portals are built to handle and organize specific tasks for your business or organization. They can be integrated with your CRM, ERP, and other systems to give your teams easy access to crucial information and oversight over all of your business processes.
This type of web portal helps organize and aggregate all information related to your business’s suppliers. They also ease communications between your team and vendors. Vendor portals can benefit more than manufacturing businesses. Banks, schools, group purchasing organizations, and government agencies could all benefit from their own vendor portal.
This type of web portal is also referred to as a self-service portal. They allow customers to review information, request or schedule services, and more. The customer portal model is also used by companies who want to provide an employee portal.
A typical employee portal allows users to manage their HR requests, submit IT requests, manage their tax documentation, and more.
This is a broad overview of the different types of web portals. As we have already mentioned, web portals provide highly personalized experiences. Your web portal development project could take any one of the basic models listed above and add or subtract features to create a unique portal that meets the needs of your end-user and business.
The Benefits of Web Portals
Web portals are beneficial to businesses for several reasons, but the two main reasons your business should consider custom web portal development services are:
- Improved customer service
- Optimized business processes
Improved Customer Service
We use the term customer here, but depending on the web portal your business or organization is creating, your customer could be a patient, partner, vendor, member, employee, etc. Web portals provide personalized experiences to each user. Thus, the interactions with your users are more personal and detailed and providing them services or support is simpler because all interactions are funneled through your web portal.
Improving the User Experience of your end-users improves outcomes for your business. A custom web portal can help your organization delight all of the users that are important to you.
Optimized Business Processes
Web portals can help your organization keep track of and optimize the various essential processes of your daily operations. In our fast-paced world, communication and visibility are often so critical. A well-designed web portal can give your organization the tools you need to stay on top of all of your different tasks and teams. The larger a team gets, the more difficult it is to keep everyone on the same page.
A web portal can keep your teams organized and ensure that important tasks and information do not slip through the cracks. Plus, since systems like ERP and CRM can be integrated with your web portal, your business can compile all of your critical information and tasks in one place.
Web portal development can benefit just about any business or organization that interacts with users somehow. Still, without an experienced development partner, your portal development project could cause more problems than it solves.