Building your intranet is like using a recipe. You want to make the final product enjoyable, and to do so, you need to ensure that all of the ingredients are well balanced.
I recently made a delicious dinner for some friends and was later asked how I did it. I slyly said “a little this and that”, but really, it is a tried and true recipe. Over the years I have perfected the dish to make it “my own”, but I still have to peak back at my food stained recipe book to ensure that I am on the right track. With an intranet, similar to cooking a nice meal, users do not see the creative process until it’s perfected and delivered. Like a good meal, and as the site develops, the users will crave more.
Intranet design is similar to cooking in that it allows for revisions along the way. An intranet site starts with design applications that provide functionality to the site. You need to build up these applications with text, borders, pictures, in order to make the site operational and appealing to the user’s eyes. Along the way, you can add or remove icons, text boxes and documents to enhance the page. It’s a never ending process of exciting changes that increasingly make the intranet more accessible for the users.
Designing an intranet can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Using an intranet that has pre-built themes is a great way to start the design process because it allows you to reset the settings at any time, but you still have a good foundation to work with. Starting from scratch can allow for originality and complexity in design options. No matter which alternative you select, you can always tweak and review along the way. I always find that an intranet, like cooking, can be fixed or changed at any stage in the process. Sometimes you may go overboard, but you can always start over or add something to balance the ingredients.
An intranet, like a recipe, can be modified to suit the tastes of the users. If your company is heavily invested in training and development, use the home page to recommend new courses that are available. Are you in an office that likes to incorporate work-life balance? Use the blog and photo album as a platform for people to share their activities and interests to promote employee engagement and involvement.
Remember, designing your intranet is a fun project that allows you to be creative with its elements, just like a recipe!