Workshop at Intranet Global Forum: Designing Intranets that Work

Kurt Kragh Sørensen's picture

Here is my notes from the workshop about Designing Intranets that Work held by Rebecca Rodgers, Step Two Designs at the Intranet Global Forum in New York.

Unattractive intranets

More than half of the attendees at the Intranet Global Forum arranged by Prescient Digital Media said that they had an unattractive intranet.

Microsoft product reaction cards

Rebecca started her workshop with letting the attendees sort the Microsoft product reaction cards for their new intranet. Here is the result of that exercise:

Secure groups

It was Rebecca’s experience that employees tend to make groups secure. But it is a process. Let them start  sharing in secured groups and then convince them to open up and share with more employees.

Understand staff needs

You need to understand staff needs in order to make a good intranet. Rebecca suggested 1-1-interviews, contextual inquiry, workplace observations, surveys and focus groups. She referred to an article from 2005 which is still relevant: Conducting intranet needs analysis from Step Two Designs from 2005

Five had mobile staff directories

Only five people in the audience had mobile staff directories.

Better information scent

Rich context gives a better chance of a perfect hit when the employee is looking for information.

They will click more than three times

If the employees feel they are on the right track, they are willing to click more than three times.

Search for Bob or Robert?

According to Luke Mepham, Aviva, SharePoint out of the box has a people search that will match common nicknames and it has an option for expanding this nickname list.

Three types of content

According to Rebecca there  are three types of content:

  1. Core corporate
  2. Front office
  3. Back office

Testing information architecture

Rebecca recommends Treejack from Optimal workshop for testing your information architecture and Toby Ward has the experience that if you serve food and drinks to your colleagues then they’ll help you out with card sorting and testing.

Usability testing

Camtasia is good for usability testing and facial expressions are a key tool to convince stakeholders that something is not working.

Keep it simple

One of Rebecca’s principles on design is keeping it simple and remembering that users eye track content on a page in the path of an F.

Name your intranet

Rebecca recommends that you consider giving your intranet an identity on its own. One Australian intranet is called Boris. Intranet Matters has a long list of intranet names.

Poor usability

Intranets are often tarred with poor usability of other business systems that are not controlled by an intranet team.

The intranet homepage

Video about what belongs on the intranet homepage.

Internal marketing on home page needs to be "highly governed" - so writing a policy is another of Rebecca’s suggestions.

Personalization and targeted information

As few as 5 - 10% will personalize their intranet in some cases. If your back-end systems support it, use corporate targeted information before you consider personalization.

Pictures from the pre-conference workshop



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