User experience research group Nielsen Norman have released their annual intranet design report which highlights the 10 best intranet designs. It also gives a run down of the intranet design trends that have stood out and are noted to be set to grow in the year ahead. I have picked my top 5…
Simplification of design
Simplified design is the stand out trend of the year. Simplified design is about streamlining your intranet whilst ensuring it is still full of the essential and engaging features. Rather than trying to shoehorn the latest design fad into your intranet design it is important to keep things simple and determine how you will help users achieve their objectives. Successful intranets achieve this by keeping their user interfaces clean and simple, keeping focus on their core objectives whilst ensuring their intranet is still engaging and on brand.
Leading on from simplified design, this year intranet designers have seen the importance of eliminating visual clutter and helping users achieve their objectives without distraction or confusion. Resist the urge to fill your pages to the brim and focus on what is important, creating simple signposts will help the user navigate to what they need.
Infographics and other graphics
Most of us will know the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” well this year we are switching it to “A good graphic is worth a thousand words”. Designers can make information easy to digest by using graphics and infographics.
Visual elements aid user experience by making the content attractive to the user, perhaps evoking a (hopefully positive) emotion and aiding memory. Graphics also create visual breaks on ,often, text and photo heavy intranet pages.
Using photography from around your organisation is a great way to connect with your users and is a continuing trend moving further into 2018. In the past it was seen as an area of resistance when trying to include photography onto your intranet. Graphics were often used as a replacement, today we are seeing more intelligence in how both are used within intranet designs and both are seeing a more successful development in their use and placement.
The prevalence of social media has seemingly broken barriers that were once there when it came to not just users allowing use of their photos but also uploading their own through blogging, posting, or writing news stories. Intranet products are allowing user contribution more and more which aligns with the growth of mobile devices and social media.
Whilst organisations are understanding the importance of privacy, they are seeing the benefits of users seeing themselves, their teams and colleagues, they wouldn’t normally have physical interaction with, doing their jobs. “It creates a union and enhances empathy amongst employees” NN/g intranet design annual 2018.
Focus on brand (and design)
Organisations are encouraging employees to understand and become accustomed to their brand collateral. This year has seen organisations move from producing brand guidelines to creating brand pages and sections on their intranets. These brand pages provide users with the most up to date and version controlled collateral. This further extends from not just being for an organisation's external brand but also their internal brand whic covers their intranet.
Organisations are more and more realising the importance of creating design guidelines for their intranet, this does not only cover brand but also page layout and information architecture. This is particularly important when an intranet has numerous page owners and creators. Keeping everyone on the same track is crucial for a user's experience and ability to navigate and explore without a site being confusing and overly complicated.
I hope these top 5 intranet trends for 2018 have got you thinking about your own intranet. Here at SORCE we experience hundreds of intranets of all shapes and sizes. We are skilled at helping you uncover opportunities to improve engagement and business processes.