Where did it come from?

So where exactly did the idea for the Participant Portal come from?

For a long time now the IT Team has been looking for ways to share relevant information with Participants more effectively, while also improving the usability of the online application. This is because the existing Online Application lacks polish as a complete product and filling it in can sometimes be a lengthy and confusing process.

These ideas were discussed a few years ago during IT Strategy II, and it was decided that they should be brought together to create a Portal which would centralize participant information and be used by the participant all the way from application to their departure.

This Portal concept was worked on in many different guises and always with breaks in between due to other projects. Because of this the project initially made slow progress, with the IT Team struggling to come up with a tool which worked well, provided the functionality required, and was also simple enough for all partners to use regardless of their size.

Eventually after concluding a few other projects the IT Team decided to try again, bringing in the Marketing Team  at AFS International and also an outside company called Sprout Media who specialize in user experience online to help with the redesign of the Online Application forms and user interface.

With the collaborative input of these different groups a set of wireframes and processes were developed and these formed the basis for the Participant Portal which exists today.