One question we get asked frequently is “how should I design my intranet homepage” or “what should be on it”? Invariably our answer is “it depends”, as there are a lot of variables to consider. One of the reasons for this is that the intranet homepage fulfils a number of different roles including a place to drive internal communications, the starting point for finding information and launching apps, a reflection of organisational culture, a place to stay on top of collaborative activities and tasks, and more.
No two intranet homepages are the same
Also, no two intranet homepages are the same. Sure, there are similarities, but intranets come in different forms; the design, layout, capabilities and scope are heavily influenced by the organisation they serve and the objectives of the intranet.
This is usually evident from the intranet homepage and its design. For example, in an organisation with a more laid-back culture or where the primary aim of the intranet is to engage and connect employees, you may have more social features on the homepage in prominent positions. If an intranet is serving a traditional law firm, perhaps there might be more of an emphasis on formal, corporate communications.
The importance of the intranet homepage
Intranet homepages are important. They are usually the place employees pass through to other pages or apps and also where news is consumed. They can also make or break your adoption; have a really confusing or ugly intranet homepage and employees are far less likely to want to go and use the rest of it. Basically, you need to your intranet homepage design right.
Of course, the technology platform you are using will also heavily influence and dictate your homepage design but most intranet software (and also SharePoint Online) will give you some flexibility to configure your intranet homepage in the way that will work best for you.
seven eight great intranet designs that we hope will get you inspired. We’ve selected each of these as they have a different emphasis or “flavour”. Which one would best meet the needs of your organisation?
1. The intranet homepage that is “everywhere”
Gone are the days when employees would have to open their web browser to get to the intranet. In the modern digital workplace, it’s important to be where the employees are – surface your news, guidance and search to people in the apps they spend most of their workday.
For desk-based information workers, Microsoft Teams is quickly replacing email as a primary location to get work done, so why not serve your intranet content there? The intranet below is available within Microsoft Teams on desktop and mobile, but also in the Yammer app too.
Even if you are not on Microsoft platforms, the aim should be to reach your internal customers where they most often reside.
2. The personalised intranet homepage
Personalisation allows for an intranet that is truly relevant to an individual and the way they work. Leveraging profile data via Active Directory data, permissions and site memberships, preferences and subscriptions, means that a person can have a homepage that is full of content that is truly relevant.
This is very important in large and complex organisations with a very diverse workforce, where there is also content that is targeted to their role, division, location and native language. It may also be relevant where there is potential information overload and employees have a lot of tasks, or collaboration sites to keep on top of.
For example, in the homepage below:
- There is a news feed with targeted content based on different criteria that could match to a user profile; the keyword for each is displayed
- To the right there is a large personalised area that helps employees keep on top of what they need to do, including:
- Updating their profile (with progress bar)
- Mandatory reads
- Favourite collaboration sites they are a member of
- Recent documents worked upon.
3. The operational intranet homepage
Intranets can contribute to the smooth day to day running of operations within your company. By keeping employees informed about critical updates and of any required actions from right across your company, as well as giving them an overview of the status of different types of operation, the intranet plays an important role in daily work.
This design contains a number of useful features that can help employees keep on top of operations, including:
- A noticeboard feature that includes a roll-up of updates from different functions and sites right across the organisation
- A data dashboard that could display real-time data, for example on sales, health and safety record, percentage of issues met or something completely different
- A Red – Amber – Green system status board, for example that could cover the status of IT or other operational systems.
- An embedded social media feed that can show conversations and posts with customers, again in real time.
4. The engaging internal communications intranet homepage
If your primary aim is to drive engagement through internal communications, then a more news-focused intranet homepage is likely. However, if this is too text heavy it can look vey drab. Having a high number of photos or images as well as colour blocks can really help your intranet homepage look far more appealing and also often drive the number of visits to particular items. The example below is a good example of presenting multiple stories in an attractive way.
5. The findability-focused intranet homepage
Findability is a key task for intranets, helping employees find information to carry out their daily role and get things done. The homepage design shown below is very different and encourages employees to find what they need with a large search box dominating the page, as well as a series of icons that could lead to either apps or critical areas of the intranet.
In this case the search is geared towards finding files from projects and research. Additionally there is a shortcut to upload content in the top-right – making the process of sharing information as straightforward as possible.
6. The balanced intranet homepage
Sometimes intranet teams find they have a high number of use cases for the intranet homepage or a large number of stakeholders with conflicting views on what the intranet homepage should look like. In these cases it can be good to sometimes go for a more “balanced” homepage that gives equity to a number of different elements.
For example, in the screenshot below there is a nice balance between internal communications, evergreen task-orientated content, social updates and even external news with:
- A prominent hero area with news items and also a separate web part with events details
- A feed of all the latest employee blogs, with user-generated content balancing corporate communications
- A “How do I” section offering information on how to complete tasks, with operatioinal information balancing more corporate updates
- A list of external website updates, again with an external focus balancing the internal focus of the news
7. The uncluttered intranet homepage
Because intranet homepages carry out so many different functions, sometimes there is the temptation to pack a lot of information into a homepage. This can result in a cluttered and even overwhelming user experience that can be off-putting. Some teams, often influenced by the user experience on a mobile device, choose to create a less cluttered user experience, for example in the design below.
8. The Office 365 front door intranet homepage
Many of today’s leading intranets are based on SharePoint Online. One of the advantages of these intranets is that they can easily integrate with Office 365 and its constituent tools which can then be displayed as web parts on the homepage.
This has some real advantages in that it can help drive the adoption of Office 365 tools; for example, you might want to put a list of MS Teams spaces or team sites that a person is s member of. Embedding a Yammer feed on the homepage is also popular. In this way the intranet homepage acts a front door for Office 365 tools, both by surfacing and aggregating activity but also enabling employees to easily reach different parts of their Office 365 digital workplace.
For example, in the screenshot below:
- There is a people search that could uncover Delve profiles
- There is a personalized list of “My Workspaces” that could be team sites or MS Teams
- There is a Yammer feed where people can also post
- There is even a promotional item for Office 365 training.
What intranet design works best for you?
Hopefully, we’ve given you some ideas for intranet designs and some of the factors to consider when designing your homepage. What one works best for you? If you’d like to talk to us about intranet homepages and intranet design, then why not get in touch?