Here, Amy Lewis, one of our SORCE digital designers, talks brilliantly about why reviewing your intranet design is a great thing and proves you are using your intranet.
Stepping into an intranet redesign project isn’t always easy, but the results can be rewarding. When you, or a predecessor, launched your new intranet there was likely little or nothing to compare to. Whatever the outcome of this launch there was likely a huge improvement from your incumbent system. In comparison, with an intranet redesign, the results can deliver high business impact but are often subtle changes that are part of your continual development cycle; after all, why reinvent the wheel?
Luckily, for users of Engage, upgrading to the latest version, changing pages and applying a new/updated brand is simple. In fact, an upgrade is the perfect time to consider undergoing a redesign and analyse what other improvements you can make to optimise your intranets performance. Our enhanced Intranet Success programme is worth considering to help you get the most out of your intranet.
Why do I need to redesign my intranet?
At this point you may asking, why redesign? After all, your site is up to date and you are hands-on when it comes to ensuring you are getting the most out of your intranet. However, I moved to a new house this year I have realised that getting a new intranet can be compared to moving into a new home. So, stick with me here!
When I first moved into my new house I was really excited, a blank canvas! I had to sort out all of my things before the big move, and I had chosen and designed what I needed in my new home. As with everything in life, everything needed to be dual purpose, aesthetically on point and functional. A few weeks in and I was happy with the result. However, as time progressed, I realised how I was using my new home was different to how I had expected.
There were items I did and didn’t need and some that I had completely overlooked. Things were also starting to get a little bit messy from its original, sparkling new home feel. There were a few knocks made here and there and the house generally needed a freshening up. All best intentions were made, and I had prepared as much as I could but, of course, there are now changes I need to make going forward.
I may have seemed like I was going off on a tangent but let me bring it back to intranets and how I have realised that settling into a new home is like implementing a new one. Just like me settling into my new home, you are likely to have done extensive research and work towards the creation and deployment of your intranet. However, there is nothing like getting in and actually using it to discover where improvements can be made and where things may not be working like you had initially thought.
What is the redesign process?
The redesign process is very similar to your initial design process, here at SORCE we champion a six-stage process:
The six-stage process should be seen as a cyclical process rather than 1-6 and then done.
Find out more about our process at www.sorce.co.uk/services/intranet-consultancy/
Where do I start?
Ensuring you hold regular steering group meetings is one way that you can gather improvement ideas. Your steering group members shouldn’t just be a collection of people with an interest in the intranet, but almost a sample of the different personas (users) from around your organisation. Using more of a workforce sample will help you ensure you are getting information from your different types of teams. For example, you may have some intranet users that are office based and just need to access documents and resources, whereas, you may also have users out on a construction site who are likely to have different needs.
Find out more about intranet steering groups with our useful guide
I would also encourage getting out and watching users use your intranet in their work environment. I find the best way is to choose a selection of different users from across your business and sit down with them for an hour to talk about what they use the intranet for, what problems they have, what they like, don’t like etc. This is beneficial because you will see real users using the intranet. Getting out and meeting different teams will also raise intranet awareness and promote your intranet and yourself. Perhaps you’ll start creating intranet champions throughout your organisation once they see improvements made and they know they helped that happen.
This process can be as formal or informal as you choose, there are benefits to each, a more formal method would be to undertake stakeholder interviews. Read more on stakeholder interviews in our guide.
What do I do once I understand where there is space for improvement?
Once you understand your user requirements and start to see where there is opportunity for improvement, keeping a dialogue with your intranet success manager is important. Typical problems that are pin-pointed include; missing functionality, outdated look and feel, not fully fit for purpose. Your Intranet Success Manager at SORCE are experts in all things intranet, and, as well as being there as a hub of intranet knowledge, will be able to guide you through the development of your intranet redesign.
There are a likely to be a few possible routes forward:
Undergoing an upgrade will allow you to be on the latest version of the Engage product giving you all the latest functionality.
There are two main routes when it comes to tackling your intranet brand.
The first is that you have discovered that you need a full redesign. This could be because your company has had a rebrand, you are undergoing a merger or your research uncovered that your users aren’t connecting with the initial design and you need to rethink. If this is the case, you can work with your intranet designer to design a new concept for your brand.
The second is that, overall, you and your users are happy with the brand, and you may not see there being much room for improvement. If this is where you are, your intranet designer will be able to undertake a review of your site. They will consider your research and report back on what, if any, improvements can be made. These may be minor like ensuring info boxes and article text is formatted correctly or it could be suggesting a tidy up of your quick links and promotions. All in all, this process is normally more of a nice clean up than a complete overhaul. Think, spring clean!
Your intranet designer will be knowledgeable not just about intranets and design but also user experience. Their aim will be to ensure that your user is able to use your intranet with ease and without obstruction, as well as, of course, making it look nice.
If you’ve discovered you need help with the layout and navigation of your pages, our intranet experts can give you help and guidance as well as offering a range of training courses that could help. This includes the information architecture planning day, this is something you are likely to have attended at the start of your project, we can be on hand to help you run these sessions as well as being there to pass on our tips and tricks.
Think it may be time to get started on your redesign? Get in touch with our Intranet Success Team here at SORCE for a chat.