The design of intranets has been in the forefront of my thinking recently. I’ve been writing hard on our next book, which is specifically on intranet design (180 pages done, just three chapters to go!). This week’s Intranet Leadership Forum workshop in Melbourne also had a session on the design of the intranet homepage (always contentious!).
Working through our collection of intranet screenshots, I’m struck by how pedestrian many intranet homepages are. Despite huge advances in technology, and our growing knowledge as intranet professionals, little has changed on most homepages.
Take homepage news as an example. With the exception of a handful of innovators, most intranet homepages feature pretty basic news features:
- featured news items
- list of other global news items
- additional news boxes for industry updates, media clippings, etc
I’d love to start seeing much richer designs for intranet news. To get your creative juices flowing, I’ve created a quick mockup, shown below:
Far from a complete design, it does have a few features that are hopefully of interest:
- Featured news item, still worth having.
- News can be published at every level of the organisation, aggregated into a single list of news. Items are clearly differentiated, and are displayed based on the staff member’s geographic location, business unit, team, etc.
- Commenting on every news item; something that should be standard on every intranet where the culture supports it.
- Like Facebook and a dozen other sites, users can feed back what they want to see more (and less) of; the system then uses this to filter the flood of news.
- Everyone can post news, even if it’s just a “bake sale” announcement in their local office.
- Staff can see what’s happening elsewhere in the organisation, and can add other news feeds to their main list of news.
This is still a very basic design, and could get much fancier if social elements are included. There are a lot of additional “web 2.0” style interactions that are also possible.
I haven’t usability tested this design (you should). It’s also just a quick scribble, with as many problems as good ideas. But hopefully it should spark your thinking, and encourage you to play some more when redesigning the intranet.
What are your thoughts on this design? How could it be made better?