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How Design Influences Functionality and Decisions We Make

The latest update brought quite a few great features. I hope that you’re taking full advantage of bookmarking videos and watching them ad-free on PortalPanel, among other things. This time I’d like to point out some of the design improvements that were also implemented during the latest batch of updates.

Why focus on design? It’s a fair question; after all, one might think that applications like PortalPanel need to be mostly concerned with functionality. In reality, design makes PortalPanel truly unique and is as important as all the innovative features. Consider this post an insight into the creative minds of our designers and a glimpse behind the scenes of PortalPanel. In other words: this is why we do what we do.

Most designers these days strive to achieve what’s usually called a “clean” design. It’s especially important if you’re creating an app whose primary function is to help organize other people’s web finds. If your goal is to help others with being more organized, you better be pretty neat yourself, right?

Since we embarked on this mission, we had no choice but lead by example. Therefore, PortalPanel’s homepage is a true specimen of minimalism and simplicity. If you’re not a registered user, there’s absolutely no reason for you to linger… and that’s the whole point.  We have nothing to sell; you either want to give the app a shot or click away. Our home page design conveys this message; hence, it hasn’t really changed since the day one.

PortalPanel is a free web bookmarking and content curation application. We’re not shoving ads down our users’ throats or selling their information to third parties. If you want the high quality freebie, all we’re asking you is to register, so you can enjoy all the features, including setting up PortalPanel your way.

This is the stark difference between PortalPanel and, well, others. You won’t see a single ad on our homepage, let alone the cacophony of ads that are so common among many other online bookmarking services, especially the ones on the lower-end. We’re not saying “never ever” to ads; but we are saying “never ever” to tackiness, lack of taste, and just plain disrespect to our users and followers.

Once you do register and start bookmarking, you are going to see a lot more stuff (YOUR stuff), but our designers made sure to keep things as subtle and clean as possible.

If you’ve been a PortalPanel user from the day one, you’ve probably seen a lot of slight but significant updates. Widgets underwent the most dramatic transformation: from rather plain, almost too simple boxes that hosted social and weather feeds, to bright, colorful and multifunctional mini-apps.

Lately, our designers made some significant changes to the “Edit Link” and “Link Info” window. They both have become longer and their navigation bar was moved from horizontal position at the bottom to a vertically positioned bar on the right-hand side. In addition, the app now got sleeker “Save” and “Rescan Thumbnail” icons. At the same time, the highlight symbol now has slightly edgier look with a peeled-off corner and brighter star.

One can safely say that the app did get a little less minimalistic, but definitely remains as clean and user-friendly as ever. This is where design meets functionality. Nothing that you see on the PortalPanel page is random; all decisions pertaining to design were made after carefully analyzing the impact on the app’s usability and user experience. This is what makes PortalPanel the PortalPanel.

We would like to believe that it’s not a coincidence that Joyce Valenza of School Library Journal praised PortalPanel’s “sophisticated approach” and pointed out that the app “has a fresh, clean and attractive style based on three blocks or panels.”

By the way, we never had a chance to formally thank her for the positive review. Thank you, Joyce!

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