We advise our clients not to forget about their end users when embarking on their intranet journey. Intranet users experience should be at the core of your solution and should encompass all of the learnings you gathered during your stakeholder interviews, surveys and desktop research. I thought it would be worthwhile to spend some time looking at what is meant by intranet usability and what you need to do to be able to ensure your intranet solution will benefit your end users.
According to Neilsen Norman intranet usability is a quality attribute that is widely used to help evaluate how easy user interfaces are to use. It’s also used to describe the method of improving ease of use during the intranet design process.
Neilsen Norman go on to detail the 5 quality components of usability as being:
- Learnability: How easy is it for users to complete basic tasks the first time they encounter the design?
- Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks?
- Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they re-establish proficiency?
- Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?
- Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design?
You can see there is more to creating a positive intranet user experience than design alone. Before you even start to think about the end solution, good intranet usability will only be possible if you know what it is you are trying to achieve. Your intranet’s usability could be enhanced by:
- Understanding the business objectives and rationale of creating a new intranet
- Engaging with technical experts to make sure you are considering the right type of solution for your organisation.
- Understanding your end users pain points and challenges with the current intranet and their roles, functions and processes.
- Absorbing feedback from your end users and create and engaging design that fulfils your business objectives.
- Keeping your intranet content up to date. Out of date content is a sure way to create a negative experience and see engagement levels tail off.
- Commiting to a cycle of continuous improvement to adapt to changing business needs and improve current business processes.
The biggest takeaway from this, is that if you want to create a great intranet user experience, you need to invest the time to use your expertise and insight and that of your intranet steering committee to create the solution that fits your business.
I hope this has provided you with some insight and things to think about when taking stock of your current intranet hosting and security, or considering a new solution. To help further SORCE have created an intranet implementation guide which may offer further insight into your intranet journey and the importance of understanding your users.
As intranet software and consultancy providers our software powers the intranet and extranet for hundreds of organisations. Our clients cover a wide range of sectors from finance to manufacturing, not for profit organisations (such as charities and housing associations) as well as local authorities and other public sector agencies.