We are working to provide our customers with their own customer portal where their customers can log in and view information and interact with our system. They can view their own information, pay invoices, sign up for extra services, use the e-shop etc. What we need is an overall design for this customer portal including some of the elements that will be present in the portal.
The design should use a simple color-palette that will be easy to replace with another color-palette. I would like the design in a blue/silver color-palette. When our customers set up their portal they can choose a color-palette to use, blue, red, green, orange and maybe some others. These colors should not necessarily be defined now, but the design must work with other colors than blue. Therefore only simple gradients and effects can be used, which can be laid on top of a solid color or created using css3, to give the impression of a gradient / effect. We would like to avoid color-specific images and the design needs to support that. Additional examples of how your design would look in different color-themes would be appreciated.
The style of the design should be professional, intuitive and minimalistic without being boring. We are not trying to sell the user anything but making them comfortable using the system.
The style should not feel too square/box-like. Something like the current Google Analytics design style would be preferable, simple but good looking.
The target audience is our costumers own customers. They log in on the page to perform specific tasks. Generally they will be IT/web novices and between 30 and 60 years old.
So the design has to be as non-confusing and clear as possible. The main content and the menu should be the primary focus points on the page, to make sure the users are not lost in other details too much.
It is our customers choose how the customer portal is to be viewed, so the design needs to look good under the following conditions.
- Normal web page: portal is opened in normal browser tab, the width is fixed to 800px and content is centered on the page. The page height is not fixed. Page background color/pattern needed.
- Popup window: portal is opened as a pop up window. Width and height is 100%, so no general background needed. Header and footer are still shown.
- Iframe: portal is shown on our costumers own webpage in an iframe. Width and height is 100% and the header (name and logo) is hidden. Footer is still shown.
On the popup and iframe the height will be 100% so the header or menu is aligned at the top and the footer is aligned at the bottom.
The attached wireframe example shows the overall design and some of the content elements. I have numbered them on the wireframe image and will go through them here:
1 Header: contains a logo and name of the organization. Between 70 - 120 in height. Should not take too much focus from the rest of the page. Good ideas are welcome. Must be so it can be removed in the iframe version.
2 Menu: Contains between 2 and 7 menu items depending on the setup. Simple text-based buttons with hover and active background colors/effects. To the right are a logout button / link, if the user is logged in. The menu should be very easy to find and read, so the user always looks there for navigation.
3 Content area: Between the menu and the footer is the content. In iframe and popup version it will be a fixed height, so it will scroll here when needed. It should have a solid background and is divided into a content-part and a sidebar.
4 Content: Here the main content of the pages are placed. It consists of headlines, clear text, information boxes, form input boxes and data tables.
5: Sidebar: The sidebar contains sub-navigation and general information related to the current page.
6: Footer: Contains copyright notice and contact information
7: Sub navigation: Lists the sub-pages or features the user should be able to navigate to, they are listed vertically here. Max 5 items.
8: Text / notice / information box: A general box to display texts such as news, notices, reminders, upcoming events, unpaid invoices etc. Contains a headline and a text.
9 Clear text: Normal text, no special boxes, background etc.
10: Form input box: a form where the user can enter information. Not necessarily in a box, but designed in a way so the user knows it is an input area and it is separated from normal text. Button design would also be great.
11: Information box: Special box to show contained or highlighted information to the user. Used to have content stand out more than regular text, and to float the content to left or right.
12: Data table: Clean nice-looking table design for invoices, event-listings etc. Must be easy to read and get a good overview of, so good spacing between cells.
The design needs to be good for the eyes, but since it should be as easy as possible for the thousands of customers that will interact with the system, usability is prioritized over style.
The sketch is only an input and does not need to be followed 100%, as long as the design supports the purpose of the page. The page on the wireframe sketch is not an actual page in the system, but is designed to incorporate as many of the design-elements as possible in a single page to get an overview of the complete design.