Is the diversity in site navigation and design between various organizations due to the various tasks that employees are performing on their intranets, differences for the sake of being different or simply poor design? This is the question that James Robertson, Managing Director of Step Two Designs recently asked in his post There is no “One-True” Top-Level Intranet Navigation.
As evidenced in the examples of horizontal menus in James’ post, site navigation and design can vary very drastically between different companies as each organization is unique and information architecture should reflect those differences. It is important to keep your end users top of mind when designing your intranet’s site navigation. Employing tools such as site usage statistics and user polls/surveys can help you determine the most popular areas of the site as well as the tasks that employees are wanting to complete on the intranet. This information will be valuable in assisting you to build a navigation structure that makes resources that are important to your end users more accessible and thus encouraging site usage.
One key point that James cautions against is simply copying another company’s menu design as chances are it will not work for your employees.
The new Intranet Connections Menu Builder allows add a horizontal menu to your site. Watch a preview of the Menu Builder here.