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.
Investing time in getting the words/images right can save hundreds of thousands of pounds in wasted staff time because your staff don’t have to wade through word soup.
If you are thinking of improving your intranet in 2023 then I really encourage you to think about training your intranet authors.
Setting platform choices aside, investing time in getting the words/images right can save hundreds of thousands of pounds in wasted staff time because your staff don’t have to wade through word soup.
I’ve taught intranet authors about:
- how to order their ideas on the page,
- how to use headings correctly so they improve search results
- how to get their pages coming up in search
- when to publish news and when to create pages and sites instead
- how to put the foundations of good governance in place
- how to make their content accessible not just for disabled people but also for neurodiverse people and of course “everyone”.
- how to choose images and size them correctly.
- how to tag things correctly
- how to write hyperlinks correctly
- non-breaking spaces
- responsive design (making pages adapt to mobile/tablet/desktop smoothly)
- taxonomy and information architecture.
But don’t be fooled into thinking this is all technical stuff: it’s vital for all communicators to understand if you’re living and working in 2023.
If I can help with your intranet project this year, please drop me a line at email@example.com.
Rehearsals are a great opportunity to give presenters the feedback they need to help them get the outcome they want from face-to-face communications activities.
If I’m working with business leaders to produce an internal staff conference or a leadership town hall event, I like to organise a rehearsal for presenters to attend if they want to.
Continue reading “Rehearsing events”
I’ve often eliminated comms activities by asking the question “What would happen if we didn’t do that or communicate that?”. In change comms I think you’d be surprised how often the answer is “not much” or “nothing at all”.
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My thoughts on modern employee communication…
I’ve never been a fan of employee newsletters. I think they are sometimes just communication for the sake of communication.
I studied UX design back in 2016 and my focus on comms in recent years has been about minimising overwhelm for staff and looking closely at the user experience of the Comms we push out or that employees consume.
And so I’ve often eliminated comms activities by asking the question “What would happen if we didn’t do that or communicate that?”
In change comms I think you’d be surprised how often the answer is “not much” or “nothing at all”.
I think our job as communicators of change is to make the complex feel easy and pumping out loads of push-comms on a topic tends to do the opposite. But it’s vital that anxious employees can find information if they want it.
I like to publish non urgent news on the intranet —as it happens— and then, as needed, send around an email pointing to recent intranet stories which has the dual effect of encouraging people to make good use of the intranet where invariably they’ll stumble across other things I want them to see or be aware of.
If I can help you reduce the overwhelm in your organisation and set your employees free to do their best work, then please get in touch with me.
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