Q & A with Michael Thompson, Merit’s Senior Software Developer
Michael Thompson is a Senior Software Developer at Merit Network, Inc. Michael’s career in web and application design and development spans more than 15 years and has included everything from landing page design to infrastructure automation. He specializes in front end development with a focus on accessibility, information architecture (IA), user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).
We sat down with Michael to go over the recent changes to the Merit Member Portal.
Q: What motivated the change for a new member portal?
A:The biggest motivation that fueled the change for a new member portal was Merit’s desire to improve member digital self service. We are using a few new systems to manage customer data, service requests, and other resources that fall into those lines. We want to bring more of these features to the new member portal to allow easier access to information and simplify navigation while improving the visual design and usability on mobile devices.
Q: How will the new design of the member portal benefit our users?
A: We want it to be responsive across all devices. This creates an added convenience for those who want to access the site on their phone, tablet and other mobile devices. We wanted to incorporate the wayfinding to help our users find things more easily in addition to finding things they might have had a hard time finding in the past. We are writing the new site’s code from scratch which allows us to make loading faster, especially with items like bandwidth graphs.
Q: What will you do to keep this user friendly and updated?
A: Merit conducted a number of surveys and focus groups to provide direction in our portal update, which included information on features and accessibility. We have also included a member feedback form on the portal to help in continued improvement of the site.
Q: Timeline for completion?
A: We have built our project plan in a number of phases. Phase 1, which is our initial roll-out, will be launched this summer. Later phases include self-service security tools and auditing features. We are also investigating future “wish list” items from our membership.
Q: How can a member share requests and feedback?
A: Any member can email the software development team at [email protected], or they can complete the feedback request form in the new portal!