As I mentioned in my previous post, last week I attended the 16th Intranets for Corporate Communications Course held in Vancouver, BC. If you are responsible for the intranet within your organization, I highly recommend this course put on by Federated Press to help you understand how to build a better intranet, maximize the impact of your site and get buy-in from senior management for your intranet project.

There were a total of 10 presentations during the 2-day course and we saw many different examples of intranet sites. Although the topic of each presentation varied, I noticed a few recurring themes.  If the intranet is your baby, follow this blog series over the next few days to learn tips and tricks to building a more effective intranet.

User-Centric Design:

A successful intranet will balance the needs of the organization with the needs of the employees. To design a successful intranet you need to consider the information the organization wants to convey to employees and think about how your intranet can help your employees achieve their daily tasks and job-based goals.

  • Involve users in the design of your intranet. Conduct polls and focus groups to find out what the real needs vs. the wants are on your site
  • Build a prototype for your intranet without any graphical elements. This lets you and your team focus on making the information architecture and navigation as clear as possible
  • Use plain language for labels on your site so that employees can easily tell which areas of the site contains the information they’re looking for
  • Allow users to test your site design before going live with a re-design. Select a group of employees and instruct them to find specific information on the site. Record the screen to see how they navigate around the site and gather feedback from them

Your intranet site does not have to look like a public website, but remember that employees bring their expectations from the internet onto the intranet. You need to take these expectations into consideration with it comes to designing your intranet.

Up next: Writing for the Intranet and Increasing Employee Engagement

If you’d like to check out the Twitter stream from the conference you can do so at: http://bit.ly/9mAsvu.

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