Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Best Practices For Intranet Design Show Workflow Should Reign Over Orgcharts

The effective design of an intranet is one of the most challenging information design tasks an organization may need to face. Generally spearheaded by IT departments with poor understanding of information architecture and usability issues that make for a successful intranet, many organizations are left with "nice-looking" solutions that only marginally improve on the less professionally-looking cottage of mini-sites they had been maintaining before. Jakob Nielsen has just published a summary report that identifies the best practices and strategies that have been utilized by the winners of his intranet design competition. Here are the key strategies to use:

1) Identify a lead publisher (and supporting publishers) in each organization area who's responsible for content in his or her area.

2) Train the lead publishers to manage the intranet and to understand principles for online content usability and readability.

3) For intranet postings, use a simple and easy form to encourage employees to submit information.

4) Make it easy for employees to update the staff directory with information about their areas of expertise and special interests so others can find experts quickly.

5) Set expiration dates for all content and use software to automatically track thoSe dates.

6) Centralize content editing to ensure its quality.

7) Review pages before posting to guarantee compliance with intranet standards.

8) Use templates and a content management system (CMS) to provide a consistent user interface for publishing.

9) Rely on automated content feeds from outside sources (read RSS), such as filtered newswires or medical databases.

"A persistent theme among the winners is that usability was dramatically improved by restructuring the intranet's information architecture to focus on job support. That is, they grouped content and tools that are used together in the same intranet area, even if different departments supply the information. ...many intranets use navigation that mirrors the "orgchart," and organize their information architecture based on departmental structure. For many organizations, basing intranet structure on workflow is a new [often successful] concept.



Jakob Nielsen -
Reference: Alertbox [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, June 22 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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