Your Intranet: No Need for Instructions

December 22, 2011
What’s your New Year’s resolution? We’ve got one you can stick to—and it doesn’t require any fancy gym equipment or crazy diets. Make your intranet easier to use. There are ways to make your site fool-proof without a major re-haul. We promise! We believe employees shouldn’t need training to use an intranet. They spend at least part of their day online—watching videos, downloading podcasts and PDFs, posting comments and more. So accessing content on your intranet should also be a breeze. I recently attended an intranet usability conference in Sin City and wanted to share some simple tips to improve your site without any mention of a re-design or architecture changes:
  • If you require employees to complete a survey, timesheet, compliance training or any type of forms, post the information on the homepage where it will be highly visible. Why ask users to dig and waste time clicking through pages? This is particularly important for field employees who may only get a few minutes in front of a computer during their day.
  • If a link is broken, take it down! Announce in advance when the site will be down for maintenance so users can plan for it. You’ll save yourself—and frustrated users—a big headache.
  • Encourage a two-way conversation on your site through the commenting feature. When users post questions to a story, they want to hear more. Embrace it! And be sure to designate someone who will monitor comments regularly and reply right away.
  • Tap into the power of video. Users don’t have time to read long stories, but they will watch a short video. Somewhere on the page with the video be sure to include links to supporting documents, reports or background information. Nothing is more irritating than watching a video about how the new annual report is spectacular and not being able to easily get your hands on it.
  • Alert employees when there’s updated content by including a “What’s New” call-out box on your homepage or simply adding NEW in the headline or link. Who wants to complete an outdated form? And wouldn’t you rather employees use their time to read through their healthcare benefits or checking out a webcast from the latest company meeting than wasting time trying to find those things?
  • You’ve heard this from us before, but it’s worth repeating: write concise, interesting content that is tailored to your employee audience. Keep each story short, but don’t let this stop you from giving the reader more details. Provide links to other content or wiki pages so users can read up in other places.
Now it’s your turn. What ideas do you have for a stand-out intranet? Give us a call - we're here to help!
Alison Harrison

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