If staff in your organisation complain about your intranet here are five things to check.
1. If your intranet feels tired…
Consider UX design patterns in the outside world. How big is the text? What’s the contrast like? How big are the buttons? Look at popular websites outside the organisation and see how your intranet compares. Ask staff to tell you which websites they like and why.
2. If it’s hard to navigate…
Think about breadcrumbs and the page titles (do they match the links that people click on to get there?). Are there too many choices in the menus? Do the menus match your org-chart (bad) or match what users are looking for (good)?
3. If users are frustrated with content…
Are you giving them what they need? Is what they need up-front at the top of the page, served straight-up with no superfluous fluff? Have you used headings? Can users scan-read it your content quickly? Get straight to the point, and then put any additional background info lower down the page.
4. If users keep asking for quick-links, new homepage buttons or are creating favourites…
Then maybe your intranet isn’t structured correctly. Have you tried doing a card-sorting exercise? Is the Information Architecture right?
5. If the same issues keep recurring…
Think about training your authors. Teach them about usability, cognitive load, how to write for the web and the correct archiving processes etc (good governance).
Want help with your intranet?
I’ve helped clients refresh and reorganise their intranet and also helped them understand how it’s used. I also train authors on how to write for the web. With a background in Internal Comms, intranets and UX design, I can bridge the gap between users, the internal comms team and your IT department. Get in touch if I can help you.
What if we could lessen the burden of consuming communication to improve the experience of employees at work? That’s what led me to start a mission to reduce and simplify comms in organisations.
In 2016 I took a short career break and did a course in UX design. It had always been something that has interested me in view of the work I’ve done with intranets and websites throughout my career.
The course with General Assembly in London was a brilliant introduction covering user research techniques, analysing user journeys and interface design, prototyping and user testing. It culminated in a portfolio project to put all of it together.
It led very quickly to a piece of contract work helping a client overhaul their intranet. (We completed the 12 month project in around 5 months and using only around 75% of the planned budget …in case you were wondering)
But this fanatastic grounding in UX design got me thinking about the user experience of the Internal Communications we produce.
How much do staff welcome the email we write and the videos we make, and the intranets they have to wade through to find what they want?
What if we could lessen the burden of consuming communication to improve the experience of employees at work?
And that’s what led me to start a mission to reduce and simplify comms in organisations.
Now, I always start of by working out:
- “what would happen if we didn’t communicate that?”
- “do staff want to know this?”
- “do they need to know?”
- “how can we minimise worry and tell people just in time, not too early, and not too late?”
I think going through this process leads to much simpler, easier project communications and perhaps even more successful change programmes.
Imagine how much happier and more productive people could be if we could reduce the overwhelm for them.
Getting your channel-mix right, is an art. Here are my suggestions of what might make for a great cocktail of channels in your organisation.
Are you starting a new role in Internal Comms? Looking to audit the channels you have and wondering what channels you actually need?
Here are my suggestions of what might make for a great channel mix in your organisation:
- social platform like Yammer or Facebook Workplace
- Bulk email system
- Quarterly leadership town halls
- Printed posters
- Merchandise like mousemats/mugs and more
- Blogs for leaders
- Blogs for projects
- employee blogging
- periodic offsite for leaders/managers
- employee forums
If the budget stretches:
- Company magazine
- Digital signage
- all staff conferences
- leadership conferences
- recognition events/incentive travel
And of course this list wouldn’t be complete without “the grapevine”. So don’t underestimate the value of word of mouth.
What would you add to this list? What have you done that works well?