Intranet designs are intended to help employees within an organization reach higher levels of productivity, motivation, and communication. While intranet tools and programs come and go, if the design falls into one of these debilitating categories, it can impact employee morale and ultimately increase the overall costs. Let’s examine the seven deadly sins of intranet design.
1. Substandard Search Results
If you have ever used an intranet before, whether for school or work, a notable feature is its search field. This is intended to return results to users and is often seen as substandard when it comes to successful search functionality. Content is frequently concealed from the search because it is poorly tagged or categorized. This can lead to irrelevant content being presented to the user and ultimately employees wasting time trying to find what they need.
2. Content in Silos
Often referred to as walled-off content, content in silos is content that’s difficult to find due to being walled off in a number of ways. This includes not be accessible via the search function, absent from global navigation, hidden based on the user’s role, and protected by a login wall. Silos tend to emerge due to their easy creation method instead of properly integrating within overreaching access points. Consider whether content requires its own site or tool, or if it would be better linked in the larger intranet.
3. Poor Visual Layout
Intranet teams tend to be understaffed and stakeholders within the company often dictate which page content appears in what areas. This can result in designs that lack a proper layout strategy, hierarchy, and visual appeal. When text, graphics, and space are not used properly, pages tend to look cluttered, making it difficult for users to scan and ultimately leading to trouble in determining which page elements are relevant for them.
4. Illegible Text
Most text formats, even modern ones, provide the ability for users to easily decode and read. That being said, flowery typefaces with complicated details tend to be the most difficult to decipher. Employees shouldn’t have to work hard to read the text on a page, regardless of whether it is being viewed on a big monitor or a phone. Poor contrast between text and page background and tiny size are the leading causes of illegible text.
5. Announcements Depicted as Advertisements
Banner blindness is a practice where ads or announcements do not match the style of the websites they appear on. Groups such as HR and corporate communications inadvertently make their internal promotions look like advertisements through utilizing random color, font, and graphical schemes. This ultimately repels employees from these promotions and should be left to intranet designers versus branding teams.
6. Lack of Global Navigation
A major issues that most intranet users face is clicking on crosslinks that redirect them to pages that appear completely different from the rest of the intranet. This is often due to partially planned content strategies and information architectures. Consistently should exist across all pages and links within an intranet network as disappearing global navigation can be unexpected, unsettling, and exhibits loss of control on the employee’s end.
7. Portal Pages Without Information
A key benefit of many intranets is that they consolidate information, but merely giving a link is less than helpful. Simply providing a titled link only promises that content will appear on the next page. Instead, it should contain information on what the link may provide.
Many intranets still commit a few of the seven deadly sins of design. Your intranet should be surveyed for these persistent and troublesome problems. Brian Cozzi, Inc. can help you review intranet usability guidelines and recreate an interactive design through usability testing. If you are interested in creating or updating your organization’s intranet, contact us today for a free consultation!
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