5 Common Challenges When Designing Your Intranet
For many companies, their intranet can be hard to look at and even harder to navigate. If your employees aren’t accessing your intranet or when they do, they can’t find what they’re looking for, it’s probably time for a redesign.
This post serves to discuss five common intranet challenges that can pop up which unaddressed can become huge issues down the road.
Challenge #1: Accommodation
Creating an intranet that equally accommodates employees in different departments, employees working from home and international employees. This challenge becomes more and more prominent with globalization, where businesses are working across multiple countries, time zones and languages.
The Fix: One way to meet this challenge is by creating a multi-lingual intranet. Through personalization capabilities, you can design your intranet to accommodate the experience depending on country or position, showing only information relevant to them. Whether someone is accessing in a different country or working remotely, load time for the intranet will be a chief concern. Timing should be uniform across the board. With cloud-based solutions, this is doable, where previously it wasn’t.
Challenge #2: Engagement
Developing an intranet site that’s engaging for employees. The key to making your intranet a place employees want to be is to focus on their wants/needs.
The Fix: One, employees want to be able to access their intranet anywhere. Therefore, it needs to work effectively on any device. Secondly, take advantage of internal social capabilities that can be included in your intranet design. These would allow for better collaboration, discussions and feedback. Before you even begin designing the intranet, it can be helpful to conduct surveys or develop focus groups for employees to provide insight. It also helps to get the buy-in of employees, meaning they are more likely to use it when it goes live.
Challenge #3: Security
Ensuring intranet security. You may not think it’s a concern since it’s an internal site, but hackers can still gain access.
The Fix: To help prevent this, start by establishing the right access depending on employee roles. There can be numerous roles and permission levels within an organization and you need an intranet that allows for this level of granular detail in terms of control. You’ll want to make sure you have a firewall in place along with an anti-virus and email filter to help screen out suspicious traffic. With more employees accessing the company site outside of the office and on their own devices, you may want to consider adopting secure extranet access technology such as SSL or VPN.
Challenge #4: Branding
Branding and design in-line with all other areas of the business. Your intranet site should follow the same style guidelines as the rest of your business.
The Fix: If your IT department, HR or corporate communication is leading the intranet redesign, you may want to pull in some marketing folks, too. They will be more likely to help with the creative element in order to provide a cohesive experience. Another way to create branding around your intranet site is to name it. The name should convey the goal of the intranet.
Challenge #5: UI Experience
Designing for an improved user-experience.
The Fix: Interact conducted a survey which found the top three reasons users visit the intranet and they were: To find information relating to my role, to complete a task and to connect with people who can help me. As this article points out, for the best user experience, your intranet needs to solve problems. The problems usually have to do with Communication, Information, Collaboration and Business Processes. If your employees are not able to find and use information on the intranet, it defeats the entire purpose of having it.
Your best bet for an intranet that works
One of the best ways to test whether the design of your intranet will overcome these challenges and achieve your desired results is to create wireframes and working prototypes. Wireframes and prototypes help to test out whether your intranet meets your criteria.
That process usually involves creating the wireframes and prototypes, then involving the employees — asking if they can locate information. If they had difficulty locating information, adjust the wireframes accordingly before building out the new design entirely.
If you’re a company that doesn’t see the value in testing out a prototype, and instead purchase a solution that has certain features rather than one that meets the user needs, you’ll want to bring attention to some major concerns with that approach. A “bad” intranet can result in lower productivity, sub-par employee training and poor user experience (and poor user experience can include the customer’s experience in working with your employees).
Why your business needs a well-designed intranet
It’s just not worth cutting corners. If you’re considering redesigning your intranet and are wondering why the quality matters so much since it’s just for internal use, I would encourage you to consider that your employees are really your first customers. The success they have with your programs, software, website, or any other resources — DO trickle down to how well they can do their jobs AND consequently affect your bottom line.
If you want to save time, money, and reap the rewards of a well-designed intranet, reach out for a quote from Dwebware today.