Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How to design an intranet? (Intranet 2009)

James Robertson's next talk at Intranet 2009 is about 'How to design an intranet?'

Why do people come to the intranet?

  1. They are looking for a specific piece of information
  2. They want to complete a specific task

What are they not doing on the intranet?

  1. check news every day. There is no news so exciting that people go there every day.
  2. browsing around to see what's available, although 'new starters' are a significant audience
  3. People don't go to the intranet to have fun.

The intranet will be used if it's useful.

James explains the UCD methodology to help you design your intranet. Not many people use usability analysis for their intranet evaluation and improvement.

Try to answer the question 'I'm looking for' instead of 'How do I?'

All navigation is at the left-hand side. But James says: Left-hand navigation is evil.

Use information scent to design your intranet. It should be easy to find where you should be on the page when your looking for something. 'Don't make me think'. James says: Buy it! People should have a good idea what to click on. If they don't they'll leave.

Most intranets are news focused. Not good, says James. The homepage does not need to be interesting. Focus on good browsing support so people can find what they're looking for.

James does not believe in 'personalization'. Two types of personalization:

  1. user-driven (tailor own experience), but only 5-10% will do this. People just don't care. iGoogle works great on the web, but no in organizations. However, he's not saying: don't do it, but beware.
  2. Staff segmentation. Segment intranet based on role, business unit, location, etc. Note: your ActiveDirectory has to be ready for this segmentation. Usually it's not. And it's a lot of work.

By the way, pictures of the conference can be found here (not my pictures by the way.

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