So you’ve been put in charge of an intranet project. Maybe you have already chosen an out-of-the-box solution that allows you to build an interactive intranet with no time. You log into the solution for the first time and realize that you know nothing about web-design and have no idea where to start your project from.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a highly skilled graphic designer to be able to build a great intranet. The first thing to remember is that your intranet should not be a copy of your external website. Why is that? Because your external site is build for your potential and existing partners and customers whereas the audience of your intranet is your employees.
Instead of trying to sell your product or services to your intranet visitor, you are trying to make their daily work easier. Intranet should, first and foremost, be considered to be a business solution that helps you to reach certain, tangible business goals. Here are few things to consider that will help you get started with your intranet project.
Before design, define your objectives and requirements
Before thinking about colors, fonts and all those exciting parts of the visual look of your intranet, take a step back and go through what are the vision and mission of your project. What kind of measurable objectives should you set to your new intranet? What different kinds of audiences your intranet has and what are their unique needs? Which tools do your employees use on a daily basis and how are they linked to your intranet? Also, it’s a good to already at this point give a thought to who will be the owner of the intranet, how will you plan to manage the new solution and what kind of common guidelines you need to put in place when it comes to the intranet use.
Finding information is the key
The main focus of an intranet should be on giving your employees a quick and easy access to information and tools that help them to do their jobs. Start with putting together a content plan including what kind of information should be found from your intranet, what information is relevant to whom and is there some content that is sensitive and should only be visible to a certain part of your organization. Consider involving the content creators and people who will eventually be responsible for updating the content to the project early on so that they will understand what is needed from them.
When putting together a content plan, also give a thought to what kind of employee groups do you have. For instance, if you have a group of employees who do not work with desktop computers but with mobile devices, make the information short and sweet, easily digestible from a small screen.
A winning navigation menu takes you far
You can present your content to your employees in several different ways, for example by subject area or alphabetically. The best way to structure the information depends on the target audiences of your intranet. To give you a tip towards creating a winning navigation menu, remember to name your intranet sections with explicit headlines that help your employees to find the right content with ease. As an example, it’s better to have a “New Employees” section containing all the information a new hire might need than than have this information spread under several different sections. You could also consider going for an intranet solution that has an advanced search function to make the navigation even more straightforward.