An effective intranet in a company should connect employees and give life to the workplace culture. A good design is one of the first requirements to accomplish this. A well-designed intranet improves the engagement, satisfaction, knowledge, collaboration, and productivity of the users. It makes it easy for the employees to get the content, functionality, and usability they need for their everyday tasks.
When implementing an intranet, the importance of design is sometimes underestimated, with so many other priorities on hand. However, it is crucial that the design team gets along to make sure nothing is missed out. In this guide, we discuss the principles and best practices for intranet design to help organizations understand how they can implement a well-designed, interactive, engaging digital workplace.
Your intranet design should be as unique as your organization and its people. There is no one design or a part of it that can be called perfect. An intranet design has so many elements and several factors influencing it. The portal design is a subjective matter and what is good for an organization may be bad for another.
While it can be difficult to define the perfect intranet design, it is easier to find some general considerations that work across industries. Though there are no specific must-dos, there are a few design principles that an organization can follow to build an appealing and engaging intranet.
Let us take a look at some of the most effective intranet design principles that should help you build a valuable platform to support the employees and improve their productivity, regardless of their physical location.
Your intranet is intended to contain a lot of information about the company. The best intranets ensure that the information is logically organized to be easily accessible. The most significant aspect for intranet success is information architecture. It is all about improving the discoverability of the content to enhance the overall experience. Here are some key principles to get intranet information architecture right.
Starting with something too complex can overwhelm the users. You should instead start with designing the most required areas and then grow as the staff gets used to it.
If you create tiers of navigation with child-sites under parent sites, it can be harder for the users to find what they are interested in.
You should, rather, focus on breadth and have fewer levels to traverse through. The intranet portal should have more top-level categories which are open and easier to comprehend.
It is critical that everything is organized by how the employees use content and not how the creator uses it. Rather than incorporating a top-down structure, you should ask why and how the staff wants to use the tools, information, and resources and organize things into meaningful blocks they can relate to.
This is particularly true in large organizations with different groups having varying priorities. To deal with this, you need to involve groups in your design process to discuss the challenges and agree upon something that suits different needs.
Design plays a crucial part in guiding the adoption and engagement of the intranet. Advanced tools and updates are of no use if the layout is non-intuitive and difficult to navigate. Organizations should not settle for a generic design but leverage the newest capabilities to create a digital workplace that reflects the brand values.
One of the easiest ways to design an engaging intranet portal is to use templates. Intranet design templates come with all the coding and functionality and the basic design reflecting the best practices and design trends. You can pick the best ones matching your needs and combine them to achieve the perfect intranet portal design. The best thing about them is they are customizable. It is, therefore, easy to get a platform unique to your business with these templates.
Here are some of the best practices you should consider when designing your intranet user interface for optimum engagement and adoption.
The design of your user interface should start with a consideration of the user's expectations and usability. The first requirement is to keep the interface design clean and clutter-free. Another way to enhance user experience is to use descriptive labels under headers and drop-down menus for extensive navigation options without adding to the clutter.
Make common search topics easily accessible and use familiar language. Use CTAs like 'Contact' and 'FAQ' on each page. Improve usability by asking the employees what they need to get their work done. Identify the top workflows and make the tasks easy to perform. If you keep the UI design simple, usability increases and so does the effectiveness of your intranet.
A visual design that directs users in the right direction creates an intuitive user interface. Visual elements like typography, shapes, colours, texture, and images can be combined with design elements like hierarchy, alignment, space, proportion, and balance to get a well-designed digital workspace.
Sometimes, a visual hierarchy of information lacks in an intranet design, making navigation difficult. You can use visual and contrast cues to organize elements in a hierarchy that makes it easy for users to find where they should go.Designing An Intranet Portal – Getting Started
Once you have identified what intranet portal design suits the best to your organization and understand the costs, challenges, and security considerations, you can get started on the implementation.
The first step is to form a cross-departmental group to bring together the knowledge and expertise required for the intranet design development. People from different groups not only share the load but also get inputs from all the departments.
Here are some tips you can follow as you plan your intranet portal design.
The best intranets are those that keep it simple. A simple, uncluttered design goes a long way towards success. There is no need to fill all the space on the interface.
Remember to use familiar, simple language and use a lot of diagrams, images, and videos to make your portal engaging and give it a visual appeal.
When you design the intranet, think from the user's viewpoint and make it as straightforward as possible. Avoid making it complicated and hard to navigate. Another priority should be to keep the intranet simple and intuitive to manage on a regular basis.
Today's digital workplace demands a mobile-first intranet as more and more users access the network from their mobile devices and work after hours.
Make sure the intranet is optimized for small-screen devices and keep it concise with the most important pages on the front. Focus on drop-down buttons and graphic buttons to give quick access with touchscreens.
An effective, usable intranet design not only reflects your company culture but promote employee engagement. We hope these guidelines and best practices provide the inspiration you need to design an intranet portal that boosts the effectiveness of your digital workplace.