The strategy for creating a great intranet site is no different than any other website, so long as you take a user-centric approach. Here are some essential considerations for achieving success and driving adoption.
- Focus your goals on the best interests of the users. An intranet site is uniquely and broadly created for one audience. Make it theirs by design. Every decision should be made based on their needs as a primary or secondary consideration.
- Make it intuitive. Users should understand how to use 80% or more of the intranet site's features without instruction. Speak their language. Leverage their mental models.
- Respect the user. Insist on a killer design aesthetic. Put a premium on interaction design. Sweat the details. As a client, this shows your employees how much you care about them, and your company.
- Create a personalized experience. Not to be confused with customization, which often creates frustration as users search for settings to alter, personalization is automatic. It knows who the user is, what their role is, where they're located, what they know, and more. Using this information, the system tailors the experience, creating an intranet site that was seemingly built just for them.
- Less is more. Relevance is key. As with any web application, removing clutter and unnecessary information helps users focus on what's important to them.
- Centralize the experience. Don't make users jump from portal to portal to find what they need. Keep everything within one experience. Leverage APIs to connect corporate and third party data. Make it seamless.
- Make it work anywhere. Users should be able to access the intranet site from all the places in which they need access. That means the office, their home, on vacation, a hotel. Solve the security issues and make it work.
- Include all types of content. Don't just focus on a limited set of business tasks and information. To drive adoption, think of all the related information and services that would matter to users. Don't fear whimsy. Don't lose your humanity.
- Create a social environment. Encourage users to interact with each other and engage management. Give them tools that make it easy.
- Build advocacy. Let users in during development and testing. Value their input. Turn them into advocates that will ease adoption.
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