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Not all users are one and the same

by Sam Lipscombe on May 30, 2012

Over the years, I’ve noticed a common trap that many organisations fall into when planning their intranet’s structure and layout. Senior management create a site that they believe fits their users’ needs. They are then left confused as to why their new business tool isn’t being adopted by staff.

If you want to create an intranet that will be successfully adopted by your staff, you must take their needs into account.

A mantra that I swear by is ‘not all users are one and the same’.

Your intranet is going to be accessed by a number of different users, each with their own needs. So it’s essential that you take into account their varied requirements.

A technique that I often use for effectively gathering the requirements of employees is conducting stakeholder interviews. By interviewing a cross section of staff you’ll get a good representation of the needs of your end users.

An additional bonus of stakeholder interviews is that they give you the information to create ‘Personas’. Each Persona represents a number of job roles and tasks that are undertaken on a regular basis, allowing you to step into someone else’s shoes. This gives you the opportunity to see your intranet through the eyes of your users.

I recently assisted one of our customers in creating Personas for their new intranet. They have a varied workforce ranging from the young technology savvy to older less technical staff. Based on this, I suggested creating a Persona for three of their most typical users.

By using these Personas, they can test out how effectively the intranet content and structure meets staff needs, ensuring they create an inclusive environment for all their employees.

Have you already used Personas as part of your project? If so, please comment on your experiences below.

Topics: 2. Plan

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