Containers and Connectors as Elements in a Portal Design Framework

Containers and Connectors as Elements in a Portal Design Framework

Joe Lamantia (MediaCatalyst B.V., The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0336-3.ch020
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This article defines the standardized elements used in the building blocks portal design framework in detail, as the second in a series of articles on a Portal Design Framework. This article explains the (simple) rules and relationships for combining Containers and Connectors into portal structures. This article shares best practices, examples, and guidelines for effectively using the building blocks framework during portal design efforts.
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Overview Of The Container Blocks

The building block system includes seven types of Containers, beginning with the Tile at the lowest level of the stacking hierarchy, and increasing (conceptual) size and complexity to include a collection of interconnected Dashboards or Portals, called a Dashboard or Portal Suite. From smallest to largest, the Container blocks are:

  • • Tile

  • • Tile Group

  • • View

  • • Page

  • • Section

  • • Dashboard or Portal

  • • Dashboard or Portal Suite

Like musicians in a band, the different kinds of Container blocks in the system play different roles in the overall effort to construct dashboards or portals. The smaller (lower in the stacking hierarchy) blocks - Tiles, Tile Groups, and Views––enable the display of content, and support users’ interactions with content. Sections, Dashboards or Portals, and Dashboard or Portal Suites––the larger blocks, that are higher in the stacking hierarchy––enable the navigation, organization, and management of collections of content. Pages straddle the middle of the size continuum; they are the largest block whose role is primarily to provide a framework for display of and interaction with dashboard or portal content, and the smallest Container which plays an important navigational / organization role in the system.

The Connectors (described later in this article) ‘hold things together’; thereby creating navigation paths amongst destinations, establishing a tangible architecture or structure, providing referential cues for orientation with the environment, and allowing movement into and out of the environment. The different kinds of Containers work in concert with Connectors to enable the creation of scalable, navigable, and easily maintainable information architectures that support high-quality user experiences.

Each Container definition includes:

  • • Mandatory components

  • • Optional components

  • • Stacking size

  • • Detailed description

  • • Example rendering (for illustrative purposes only)

  • • Rendering description



Mandatory Components: Tile Header, Tile Body

Optional Components: Tile Footer

Stacking Size: 1

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