WEKA Business Portal – Translating A Traditional Publishing Company In The Digital Age
How might we realign the WEKA Business Portal and create a new digital experience?
In 2016 the the B2B special-interst publisher WEKA reached out to @Goodpatch Berlin to realign their existing product. The WEKA publishing company is one of the biggest media companies in Germany and focuses on expert information for industry and administration. As one of the leading supplier of multimedia expert information WEKA offers a wide range of digital solutions, e-learnings and applications. One big topic they focus on is “occupational safety and health”. Their products are used by professionals and executives in the area of management, construction and engineering.
The existing product
The #WEKA Business Portal is the central hub for all WEKA products and allow the user to manage and access the bought products easily. Within the portal the user has access to related databases for legal secure working and can access templates as well as working utensils for educational purposes.
At the time of the project’s kick-off the existing solution had several issues, which was the reason for a complete relaunch of the product. With the realignment of the #WEKA Business Portal an easier and faster access of the products, a better representation of WEKA’s offers and a stronger focus on the personal experience should be guaranteed.
What does the relaunch of the WEKA Business Portal look like?
The theme portlets are the core of the #WEKA Business Portal. They represent a bundle of topic-related modules (digital products), that are bought by the user. According to the client’s company size the amount of modules can vary between 1–100. To guarantee a structured workflow at any time, we designed some intelligent organization functions to have only the most important modules in the client’s viewport. Users can pin several modules to access them quickly by the overview and have the ability to toggle the visibility of modules and theme portlets.
By accessing the detail view the user has a clean overview of all bought modules and can toggle between a list or grid view to see more details of the module. If the user pins a module, it is displayed as a small thumbnail and quick access link on the theme portlet overview.
When the users open the #WEKA Business Portal all modules bought by their company are displayed. Depending on the working environment of the user not every single module might be needed. Therefore modules and entire theme portlets can be hidden and accessed on the “Other Module” view.
With the new version of the #WEKA Business Portal we introduced widgets, which are modular and functional extensions, which help users to organize, manage and augment their WEKA modules. Widgets are in the left sidebar menu and accessible at all time. Within the new release the three widgets: “favorits”,“news” and “module history” are available.
As all modules should be easily accessible the search was an important aspect, while redesigning the existing portal. Thus, we designed an simple to filter live search, where all search results are displayed in a clean structured overview. Search queries can be saved and accessed within one click.
Every new client has a general anonymous login at the first access of the #WEKA Business Portal. Later on, users have the possibility to personalize themselves to access more functionalities and personalize the portal according to their needs. In order to provide a simple and fast personalization process, this is the new dialog chain we came up with.
How we achieved it and what I learned from it?
The project kicked off with an intense two days' workshop at WEKA’s headquarter to identify common visions and needs for the current product. We analyzed the existing #WEKA Business Portal with a detailed look at all related stakeholders, user journeys and the value proposition canvas in order to spot weaknesses and chances for improvement.
Within the concept and design phase we focused on rapid prototyping to communicate the experience of the new product and did user tests to get instant feedback. Finally, the development phase started and the concept was translated pixel perfect in the web.
WEKA has a large user base of people working with the #WEKA Business Portal for years. So implementing new interaction patterns, conceptional changes and functional rearrangements had to be communicated clearly and a strong guidance within the portal had to be created.
Therefore we set up easy to follow instructions within the portal in form of helping dialogs. As the amount of content varies for every client, creating a consistent look and experience required detailed iterations, close client communications and strong responds from the developers.
During my time @Goodpatch Berlin I was the lead designer of this project and in charge of the client communication, project management and UX/UI design of the new portal. From the first kick-off workshop in WEKA’s headquarter I was responsible for setting up the new #WEKA Business Portal concept and directing the pixel perfect production. With my background in frontend development I helped and consulted the development process. In order to simplify the communication, I have set up and style guide of the visual and functional structure of the new portal, which was the foundation for every new sprint planning.
Being involved in this project I learned to facilitate a project from the first workshops until the launch of the product. I learned that good documentation is the key for a successful development project and the stronger the relation to the client is the stronger the output is going to be.