I’ve been working with two different organisations to guide them through their requirements gathering process. Although their requirements were very different, the intranet features they have used to deliver their needs are similar. When it comes to working on design, I always take the viewpoint that one size definitely does not fit all and every company is unique.
A common trap to fall into is to emulate another organisation’s site. It’s fine to look to other sites for ideas, but your final layout should always be designed with the needs of your end users in mind.
The key difference in the way these two companies are delivering their news is branding. The top one uses a portrait image making it easier to update, as most images are in portrait format. The one below has a larger, landscape image with less space for written content.
I tend to find that navigation varies from company to company, and should always correspond to how your audience expect to find content.
These two companies have very different audiences. One is a more traditional organisation with employees that are not particularly tech savvy. On the other hand I have a dynamic company with a young, diverse workforce. With this in mind the features they’re implementing may be similar, but their layouts are entirely different.
The way these organisations have chosen to deliver video also differs.
Branding is all about individual content parcels such as video and news. The first one is very stylised with a fixed background. Funky branding like this looks great, you’ll just need to be mindful that it will be harder to maintain as the background image will need to be changed each time content changes.
On the other hand, we have a more straightforward video, as well as a description of what to expect in the content.
What’s important here is that each company has chosen a style that works for their audience. We’ve managed to give them sites that work well now, but will also be able to adapt to the needs of their users.
After all, if a site is laid out in a way staff can relate to, they’ll keep coming back, which is what you’re aiming for.
What’s unique about your site? If you’ve got any comments about your intranet’s layout I would love to hear from you.