Five Things to Know About the Portal

Brittany Gendron recently sat down with Matthew La France, one of the Web Programmers of the College, to learn more about the Portal. We’re all excited (including the Campus’ editorial staff) about the fact that this will mean less-all-student emails (maybe negated by the barrage of Hunt emails), but we wanted to get the inside scoop to bring to you on what makes the Portal so fantastic.

1. Log-in
The Portal will only be as useful as you make it. As Matthew explained, logging in “will load different configuration files,” customized to you as a student, staff, or faculty member. In other words…

2. Customize It!
Want your dining menus to be at the top of the heap? Sure thing. The latest sport scores? No problem. Additionally, the development team behind Portal are already updating the site to allow for even more personalization. In the near future, expect the ability to add your own links and embed your own calendars to the events feed. Therefore…

3. Be on the look-out for updates! They’re already working on them!
When I went to sit down with Matthew, he was in the process of coding a user-data storage system. La France explained that as the Portal is now, the settings and customization you have when you log-in (tip #1 & #2) save on a cookies basis, so will only save onto the browser you are currently using. The transition to a user-data storage system would enable one’s settings to be saved across browsers and devices (and on the same one if your cookies were ever wiped). This feature will allow the best in personalization.

“The main thing is getting more modules in as we identify things that are going to be useful,” La France said. Which leads us to our next point….
4. Use the Feedback Form!
La France emphasized how the feedback form is invaluable to the maintenance and upgrades on the Portal, “Use the feedback form, we look at it and take it seriously.” Many of the ideas for the updates have come from said feedback. He cited one idea that was submitted is a go/ module on the mobile version, so users could just use go links instead of having to type out the longer web addresses. And finally…

5. The Portal is Smartphone Friendly!
Accessed through a computer, Middlebury’s website is almost seamless; it is simple to navigate and, well, pretty (visit Yale’s website for a comparison/appreciation). That said, there is no “surfing” the Middlebury site via a smartphone. Perhaps slogging–on good days. The Portal, on the other hand, was built for 3G.

Written by Brittany Gendron and James McMillan.