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For examining the Neo Portal (sans chat):

NOTE: this server is erased and rebuilt every 4 hours. It is rebuilt 12 AM, 4 AM, 8 AM, 12 PM, 4 PM, 8 PM (EDT, or GMT + 5). Since there is a bit of tedious setup involved in exploring this portal, best times are after each wipe: 1 AM, 5, AM, 9 AM, 1 PM, 5 PM, 9PM (EDT, or GMT + 5).


  1. Go to site above, log in as admin.
  2. Create up to 6 joinable sites (can create one and duplicate).
  3. Create a user
  4. Log in as that user
  5. As that user join all the sites

Areas of accessibility concern:

1. Landmark roles will help. What would these be? How about the standard portal?

2. Site navigation

Site navigation has gotten more complicated. Whereas standard portal was:

  • Click to go to site
  • Click to go to tool

Neo Portal has an optional path:

  • Click to disclose site tool menu
  • Click to go to tool

... while preserving the old path

Also - the "- more sites -" selection process has changed. Standard portal displayed a <select /> or disclosed a panel (depending on institution). New Portal discloses a panel with site links. Each site link is accompanied by a link to open a menu that discloses the tool links in that site.

The tool menus in the "tab sites" and in the "more sites" function differently. The first disclose a menu that is already in the DOM. The second retrieves data asynchronously and inserts the resultant menu into the DOM.

All of these changes represent challenges - but I do not think they are insurmountable and with a bit of work we can make this alternate portal as (or more) usable and friendly as the standard one. But we need to address new things: DOM manipulation, asynchronous updates, etc. I imagine the WAI-ARIA way will assist in this.


To test for chat, using a different browser, create another user and have them join one of the sites the previous user joined.

The Portal Chat application consists of two things: a chat control panel and individual chat windows

1) chat control panel

Technique: added to the DOM via script, everything inside it is created via background updates.

Panel contains: 1) controls to filter who show up in it, 2) List of Connections for the current user (see Setting up connections below), 3) List of users that are in the site.
Panel is toggled open by clicking on link, number of possible chat partners is updated asynchronously
To start a chat, click on name. A new chat window will be added to the DOM.

2) chat windows

Window consists of title (+ avatar if there and allowed), message list and message input. All of this is inserted into the DOM and the message list is updated via background requests. If the partner goes offline the current user is notified via a message in the message list.

Setting up connections

Connections are established via the Profile 2 tool.

  1. In the portal click on the link with the user name.
  2. On Profile 2, click on "Search connections"
  3. Search for the other user
  4. When found click on "Add as a connection"

As the other user

  1. In the portal click on the link with the user name.
  2. On Profile 2, click "Connections" link on toolbar
  3. Click on "Confirm connection"
  4. Click on "Comfirm" in modal dialog
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