15 intranet content ideas that support employee engagement

Modern intranets have many objectives. They help employees get things done productively and support a good employee experience. They deliver internal communications so employees stay informed and up-to-date. They provide access to content and information to help people carry out their role. They facilitate collaboration and provide access to knowledge and learning. And they reflect and nurture organisational culture and support employee engagement.

Employee engagement itself is a complex subject that often gets caught up in debates around definitions and measurement. There are also multiple factors which impact engagement. Intranets can successfully support employee engagement in several ways, including:

  • Reflecting and amplifying the positive aspects of organisational culture
  • Celebrating and recognising company, team and employee successes
  • Providing more information about company values, missions and purpose
  • Giving employees a voice and providing a platform for listening and dialogue
  • Establishing effective communications for senior leaders
  • Connecting employees and driving a sense of community across an organisation
  • Supporting personal development and career growth
  • Amplifying a one company identity and brand.

More specifically, there are numerous content ideas that support engagement and help make a company a great place to work. Let’s explore 15 intranet content types and features that support employee engagement.

  1. Feedback polls

Using polls on an intranet is an excellent way to get a snapshot of employee sentiment on different topics. It can also drive intranet adoption through adding a light-hearted feature to the intranet homepage, especially if visitors can see the results once they’ve voted. Intranet polls play their part in driving employee engagement by making employees feel they are listened to, thereby supporting an open and relaxed organisational culture.

  1. Customer success stories

Customer success stories are a staple of external-facing websites, but are not always featured on intranets. Success stories help to celebrate overall company success as well as individual team and employee contributions, and reinforce the message that employees make a difference, adding context to everyday actions.

  1. Examples of living the values

Most companies have values or a mission statement. Let’s be honest, these can be pretty generic and are not always taken seriously by employees. News items or stories that actually provide examples of how an organisation is living its values and putting them into action are more likely to resonate than something more general and woollier. Content that helps an employee feel proud to be working at the company is going to support employee engagement.

  1. Shout-outs and thankyous from peers

Peer-to-peer recognition is a strong way to celebrate individual achievements, generating a positive culture and sense of community. This is often done through shout-outs and thankyous from individuals to their colleagues, recognising contributions that reflect organisational values or instances where people have gone the extra mile. There are dedicated peer recognition solutions, but praise and shout-outs can also be delivered very successfully through social platforms like Yammer. Surfacing these on your intranet homepage can support engagement and culture amplification initiatives.

  1. Employee blogs and photos

Having visible user-generated content on your intranet can raise adoption, but also demonstrates that the employee voice is valued, again underpinning engagement efforts. When you give everybody a voice, it sends out a strong message that opinions are valued. There are multiple ways to surface user-generated content on your intranet, but employee blogging is an excellent way to tick the box on engagement and generate lively content. Including photos submitted by employees even via a simple photo of the day feature can also be effective for engagement.

  1. Podcasts

Podcasts are currently a very popular content format which are increasingly being used inside enterprises. Podcasts on particular themes can be a highly effective way to deliver targeted content to specific audience segments, supporting wider employee engagement. Podcasts have the advantage of being popular across different demographics, including frontline employees.

  1. Authentic leadership comms

CEOs and other senior leaders have a major influence on employee engagement. Most intranets showcase leadership communications, but these can sometimes still come across as formal and corporate. Leadership communications that are more honest, personal, informal, authentic and even vulnerable, showing the real person behind the job title, are more likely to resonate with the workforce and better support employee engagement. During the pandemic, some CEOs started to communicate through informal videos shot at home which have been generally well-received, and which can work on the intranet too.

  1. Q&As with senior leaders

Another good way to drive transparency and open communication with senior leaders is to publish questions from employees with relative questions and answers, or hold Ask Me Anything sessions and publish the related recordings or discussion threads on the intranet. Again, the more open and less sanitised these Q&As are, the more likely it is they will engage employees.

Q&A

  1. Crowdsourcing input from employees

Modern intranets and social collaboration platforms provide opportunities for dialogue. Having two-way channels where employees are asked their opinion by senior management and, most importantly, where this results in action can positively influence employees feelings about their employer. Specifically, crowdsourcing input and feedback from employees to influence decision-making is key here; we’ve heard examples that range from the tactical (getting input on new uniforms for customer-facing staff) to the strategic (asking for input into new strategies). Surveys, polls, discussion threads and commenting can all be used to crowdsource employee input.

  1. Internal opportunities

High levels of internal talent mobility and opportunities for staff career paths are highly desirable for organisations, as they help retain the best talent and reduce recruitment costs. Advertising internal opportunities on your intranet, including new roles, secondments and training schemes, is a common way to drive awareness of these positions, as well as promoting employee engagement through demonstrating the opportunities for career growth available to employees.

  1. Access to learning

Employees ability to access resources that will help them in their personal development and career growth is an underrated source of employee engagement; it demonstrates an investment in and commitment to people. Being able to search and discover courses, learning material and training assets is a strong use case for any intranet. This is becoming increasingly possible with the tight integration between learning platforms like LMS365 and SharePoint intranets.

LMS365

  1. Health and wellbeing themed content

Health and wellbeing is a significant theme in employee experience, and demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to its employees. An intranet can support wellbeing in numerous ways, providing health & safety information, tips and tricks, factsheets, health-related communities and more.

  1. Events

An events calendar is a useful addition to any intranet homepage, especially if employees can register for specific events and add the details to their personal calendar a feature available in SharePoint Online. Event calendars also work very well to promote both learning through knowledge-based webinars, for example, and wellbeing sessions on topics like mindfulness.

Events

  1. Ideation platforms

Ideation platforms are highly mature, and are becoming a common part of the digital workplace landscape. They work by inviting employees to submit ideas usually on a particular theme or responding to a specific challenge with the ability to vote on the best ones. A company may then choose to take some of these ideas to fruition. A snapshot of the latest ideas submitted, as well as the ones that are being actioned, shows employee ideas are being taken seriously.

  1. Communities

Online communities on both work and non-work themes help drive connections and foster a real sense of community and engagement within your organisation. These can range from professional Communities of Practice, to Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), to Communities of Interest on non-working themes. Whether a forum for discussing highly specialist engineering techniques or a place to swap cat videos, communities drive employee conversations and connections.

An intranet supports online communities in different ways; for example, your core intranet features may support communities or include feeds from a social platform like Yammer. A central directory of groups can also help users discover and join communities they are interested in.

Yammer

Engage your employees

Employee engagement is key, and the content and features you include on your intranet can make a real difference. If you’d like to discuss how you can use your intranet as part of your employee engagement strategy, then get in touch!

SharePoint page editing – Improving the experience for content publishers

SharePoint 2013 does not provide a great experience for content publishers out-of-the-box.

This is something that we need to address in nearly every intranet project we deliver.

There are two main approaches that can be taken:

  1. Add some custom editing elements that simplify the experience, but are hyper-focused on a few key editing tasks.
  2. Use a third party add-in to provide a better user experience across a broader set of features and content types.

 

Custom editing elements


Content publishers can click an onscreen element like this one.


The editor can then add information to the page by filling in a simple form.
This avoids any of the out-of-the-box SharePoint interfaces which can be confusing and overwhelming.

We have provided a demo video that shows an example page content editing task. See video below:

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Drastically improves the experience for content publishers
  • Reduces or completely removes the need for training
  • No on-going licence fees
  • Restricted to a small number of important areas (otherwise costs can quickly add up)
  • Requires additional budget to maintain and enhance these features over time

 

Third party add-ins

builder

There are many options when it comes to third party add ins for SharePoint.

Some are aimed at enhancing every aspect of SharePoint like Wizdom intranet-in-a-box.

Others are aimed at enhancing things like page editing and design. A good example of this type of product is ShortPoint.

Products like these still require some training for content editors, but offer an improved experience and greater flexibility when maintaining intranet content.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Improves the experience for content publishers
  • Reduces the need for training
  • Has a wide ranging set of features (depending on the product)
  • On-going licence fees (often fairly significant ones)
  • You may be paying for features you dont need
  • Requires support from the product vendor or consultancy

 

Summary

Improving SharePoints content editing interfaces is not easy and comes at a cost regardless if you take the custom or prebuilt route.

Therefore, it is important to identify and prioritise the areas where you want to give a lot of control to content editors. Typically more options for ways and styles of publishing = greater cost.

By limiting the control given to content owners and making things as template driven as possible, you can keep costs more reasonable.

A positive side effect of a template driven approach is often a cleaner, more simplified experience for your intranets end users.

More recently, a significant way to improve the user and editor experience for SharePoint is to move to SharePoint Online as part of Office 365. SharePoint Online has a completely refreshed interface which makes things a lot easier for editors.

Wizdom intranet’s most popular feature: “news engine”

Wizdom intranet features a unique relevance engine that revolutionises news and information management distribution across the whole intranet. The engine includes both Corporate News (for official, corporate comms) and Noticeboard (for more informal comms and messaging).

At the core of the news engine is an information classification engine that automatically makes the content more relevant to employees depending on their job roles and subscription preferences.

Corporate News

This Corporate News webpart has been set up to display as 'metro' style
This Corporate News webpart has been set up to display as ‘metro’ style

corporatenews
News articles can contain related content, social, video and even other webparts

  • Wizdom Corporate News allows content creators to easily broadcast engaging corporate messages.
  • News includes modern page templates and can be managed through approval workflows and scheduled publishing.
  • The news is visually engaging and supports rich media such as images and embeded video (Office 365 video, YouTube, Vimeo etc.)
  • An easy-to-use picture editor makes it quick for editors to add pictures and ensure they are scaled to the right size.
  • Editors can choose to highlight corporate news on the homepage in a variety of formats including a carousel, cards, thumbnails etc.
  • A news archive makes it easy to find older news through search.
  • The corporate news templates allow you to include any of the SharePoint and Wizdom webparts and embed them in an article. For example, you can add a form or an FAQ to a news article.
  • Editor can choose to have likes and comments on news articles.
  • The news articles can be filtered by tags that you define and are relevant to your organisation.
  • Next to the article you can see related news, related documents, related people and related pages based on tags.
  • The author of the articles is displayed which allows staff to contact the right person about the content.

Noticeboard

Make sure that information is shared with all relevant employees and eliminate mass distribution email messages. Wizdom Noticeboard offers editors as well as end users an intuitive experience that makes writing, commenting and reading announcements available to everyone in your organisation.

Noticeboard
The Noticeboard can be set up to display messages from just one or multiple channels

postmessage-1
Before posting a message the user must choose a channel to post to

postmessage-2-1
The post message pop-up window on Noticeboard is super-easy to use

  • Wizdom Noticeboard personalises the information flow, only showing news that is relevant for the user.
  • Noticeboard is easy to use and allows you to open news publishing and messaging to a broad user-base without the need for training.
  • Noticeboard is made up of different channels. Channels can be made mandatory for all or for a selected groups. Or they can be made subscription or a mixture of both. It’s even possible to have hidden channels that are only visible to certain employee groups.
  • See an overview of the most widely read messages, most commented messages and most heavily subscribed news channel.
  • Noticeboard offers a variety of intuitive options to control the visual look of messages including support for images, videos and links.
  • Choose between a selection of Noticeboard webpart templates and display news in various ways. If you want your own customised look and feel, you can easily create your own Noticeboard template in the Wizdom Configuration Center.
  • Employees will receive new items in their notification panel every time a relevant new message or comment is published. This will draw their attention to new information that is relevant to them personally.
  • Social features – likes, comments, @mentions and notifications ensures that more people are involved in producing and reading intranet news.
  • The sender of a Noticeboard news message can choose to enable social comments and likes on their message.
  • Noticeboard also allows you to show news from external sources as part of the intranet news stream.
  • Video can be integrated into news by embedding Office 365, YouTube and Vimeo videos – allowing for employee generated video.
  • Manage news through approval workflows and scheduled publishing.
  • The Wizdom news archive offers filtered search to find older news.

How to be an intranet video star (video)

In his IntraTeam 2017 presentation Content Formula intranet consultant John Scott examines why intranet video has had a tough time catching on compared to web video. He explains why it’s all about to change and gives you tips and advice on how you can start to use video on your intranet.

Also see John’s other recent video explaining the difference between Microsoft’s two video offerings: Microsoft Stream versus Office 365 Video Portal

Microsoft Stream vs Office 365 Video

With the release of Stream, organisations need to consider their use of Microsofts incumbent video platform, Office 365 Video. Take a look at my tour of Stream, and read my observations below. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more.


Im talking about the use of video, for engagement and comms, at the IntraTeam Event Copenhagen in March details at the bottom.


Microsoft introduced Office 365 Video in late 2014; its a much better solution than merely uploading video files to SharePoint libraries, because SharePoint isnt designed to stream video. Office 365 Video allows employees to upload a video and have it converted to the right format automatically. The video can be streamed without needing video player software. Different video channels can be used to host different content, and people can search for videos by using keywords found in the titles, or descriptions of the video, and so on. All very much like an internal YouTube.

This wasnt new technology, as many third party video services were already available that could do these things and more but, importantly, Office 365 Video was a native app and included with the Office 365 Enterprise plans.

Unfortunately, Microsoft were a little slow in rolling out some must have features such as the ability to embed O365 videos in SharePoint pages, or view video from mobile devices. But, those features are now included and its a useful app.

Introducing Microsoft Stream

So, with Office 365 video seemingly reaching a point where it was arguably a mature product, Microsoft then surprised everyone by announcing their new video baby Microsoft Stream.

Stream looks a lot like O365 video and Microsoft says that its based on the learnings from O365 video, but its a completely separate product and currently available to try as a preview version.

I notice there are a few things missing though:

No external sharing. Stream doesnt yet have the capability to share your internal videos with external partners. So only people in your organisation will be able to see the content. External sharing is apparently on the road map.

No speech transcription, yet. Now this is also something that the Stream product team are working on. Using speech recognition, Stream will allow you to search for key words that are mentioned in the audio of the video, even if those words arent in the video meta data like the title or description etc.

No editing tools. Trimming, cutting bits out, and adding chapter points is something you should do before upload.

No live streaming. Wouldnt it be great if you could live stream your town hall meeting to colleagues in other countries? Well you cant. At least not yet.

No advanced analytics. You can get some basic stats, like how many times a video has been viewed, but you cant get more detailed information like the percentage of users who watched all the way to the end, and which specific users watched a video.

No approval workflows. Ideally, it would be possible to subject videos to the same publishing processes as policies and SharePoint pages where a person or group of people get to review a draft version of a video before hitting the publish button. Unfortunately, thats not available yet and there is no word on when such a feature might be included.
IntraTeam Event Copenhagen

Into the future…

Microsoft is keen to re-assure existing Office 365 customers that Office 365 Video and Stream will eventually merge and become the same thing probably keeping the features that currently exist in each product. But, should organisations use one, or both platforms right now?

In this blog update from August, Microsoft provided some details on the thinking behind launching a new video platform, and what it means for the future of Office 365 Video. One thing that was mentioned is that Office 365 Video will still see new features arriving in the next few months e.g. being able to tag people in videos. And, importantly, they are committed to automating the migration of existing videos and meta data into the new Stream service.

The main motivation for launching a new product is a desire to offer video services to customers who are not using Office 365. So expect to see Stream as a standalone service as well as integrated in Office 365.

The point of video

Has video changed the enterprise or had any affect upon the intranet and digital comms?

Im talking about the use of video to inform, engage, and entertain on the 1st of March at the IntraTeam Event Copenhagen (surely one the largest digital workplace conferences in Europe).

Ill tackle the technical difficulties, and just what makes a good video.

Check the three-day programme; its well worth a flight.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter I like talking about SharePoint, intranets, and video.

Intranet governance and contributor engagement

Dan ends our video series by exploring the people elements of intranet governance. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more.

Dan Hawtrey, Managing Director
+ 44 20 7471 8500 | [email protected] | LinkedIn

Governance is a big word. It carries connotations of centralisation, power, control, and authority. But actually I think it’s perhaps a bit of a misnomer because today’s intranets are very social systems with ownership distributed across many different people.

Yes, you do have to define a strategy, put in place a steering team, think about policies and processes; I’m certainly not trying to downplay those pieces, they’re very important. But getting governance right is also about putting the right support structures in place, in particular support for content owners and site administrators.

The key aim of modern intranets is to get plenty of contributions from lots of different people. On top of that you want contributions to be high quality, so that they’re engaging and useful. But that’s only half the battle, you also want your content owners to keep things up-to-date and to continue contributing after their initial burst of activity. It’s all about maintaining high levels of enthusiasm.

Stats graphA great way to do this is to share with them analytics about how their section is doing, and perhaps even show them how it’s doing versus other people’s sections. After all, who wouldn’t be interested in knowing how many times their piece has been read.

You could give them a login to Google Analytics, but I’ve always found that GA is pretty opaque to people who aren’t familiar with it. A better way to do it, is to take the time to create a report yourself, something that is going to be quick and easy to read and digest, rather than letting them drown in data.

Giving support and analytics on a regular basis to your content owners is not only providing positive reinforcement, but it’s also giving you a chance to keep up the dialogue between you and them. This is going to help reduce the chances of empty sections and content growing old and outdated.

View Joe’s previous video: making life easy for your content contributors.
Browse all ‘intranet planning’ videos.
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A 7-point framework for employee engagement in the digital workplace

Modern organisations are using a number of clever techniques to accelerate internal change and make it stick. This free e-book puts forward a simple and effective 7-point framework to use to deliver change campaigns and programmes.





Making life easy for your intranet content contributors

In our eighth video, Joe argues that publishing content should be as pleasant as browsing content on a well designed intranet. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more.

Joe Perry, Technical Manager
+ 44 20 7471 8500 | [email protected] | LinkedIn

We don’t just design and build intranets, we also run them.

We have a number of clients who rely on us for the day-to-day management of their intranet; this is not just technical work, but also content planning, publishing, and design.

This means that we have intranet managers and content editors who are not developers.

Just like our clients they need administration interfaces that make publishing information as easy and as fast as possible.

We involve these team members in every project to help us make better choices about how our intranets will be managed. We don’t want our clients to be in a situation where they need a developer every time they want to make a simple change.

This is especially important when an intranet has many content owners and contributors, often across many countries. Things need to be designed so that they’re not only efficient, but also intuitive, and require little or no training.

This is an important tip for anyone designing an intranet; when you think about your users, don’t forget about your administrators and your contributors.


View Joe’s previous video: SharePoint — out-of-the-box and customisation.
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Planning your new intranet – defining information architecture (video)

In the third of our series on planning your new intranet, John talks about involving end-users to inform the structure and navigation of your intranet. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more.

John Scott, UX Director
+ 44 20 7471 8500 | [email protected] | LinkedIn

Businesses are complex, even if they don’t have a lot of staff, they have a lot of information, different processes and terminology. A big part of designing an effective intranet is making sure that we define the right information architecture.

The information architecture, or I.A., is basically the structuring of information, how we should organise things. The problem with this is that everyone seems to see this in a different way, everyone has a different mental model. So what we need to do is find the consensus so that we create an information architecture which makes sense to the most people possible.

In order to understand how different users see the business and how we should organise the information we run a series of card sorting sessions. Card sorting is a design technique that involves users. We write different topics of information on individual cards and then we ask the users to group those cards into logical categories.

There are two types of card sorting. An open sort is where the participants can invent their own categories, and this is useful when you’re creating a new site and you need to define a completely new information architecture. A closed sort is different, in this case the participants, have to categorise the information into pre-existing groups. And this is useful if you’ve got an existing information architecture and you need to bring in a lot of new information in to it.

The old fashioned way to do card sorting is face to face with users, using actual physical cards. It’s more time consuming but you do get more qualitative insight because you get to ask people what they’re thinking as they perform the task. Alternatively you can use online software to run your card sorting exercise. This is good because it gives you a larger sample size and you can get more quantitative insight. Such software often comes with built-in analysis tools that allow you to make more sense of the data. Ultimately whichever way you run your card sorting you should find that you have an improved sense of the I.A. that will resonate most with the majority of users.

View John’s next video: getting the navigation right.
View John’s previous video: end-user interviews.
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Content strategy: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rihanna

If youre a communicator, youll already have guidelines for article writing, but how do you review existing content on your intranet after years of publishing? The archive is bursting with past events, project sites become out-dated, and company-wide initiative communications become stale. What do you do to root out the rotting content?

ROT is a good acronym Redundant, Out-dated, Trivial. If performing a robust content audit, or a perfunctory review of a project site, ROT can help you categorise the content that needs updating or pruning.

Another way of looking at content is as an asset that needs maintaining, and that needs to work hard and provide a return on the investment that created it. Heres our catchy content tactic guidance to help you remember to get maximum value from your existing material.

Reduce contentReduce publish less, delete some

How bloated is your intranet? Youre publishing news every day, your intranet contributors, project managers, bloggers, team leaders, and change managers are publishing news every day of every week. So your intranet is growing, and only growing. Do you have any policy, and supporting mechanism, to unpublish material?

The first R of our mantra is to refrain from publishing material that could be better communicated in another manner. Perhaps that news update about the cycle to work policy could just be bundled into this months Team Meeting agenda, and the relevant cycling page could be updated. Reduce the amount you publish check the urgency and importance of every comms request that comes across your desk. Be a good editor, understand what people need to know, rather than what certain managers want people to know…

Now, review the content already on your intranet, and delete or archive anything that is redundant or trivial. Be aware that other pages may link to this content, so be sure to do something clever to redirect visitors we do not want to present a page not found error. Check out our review of SharePoint 2016 to find out about a neat feature that can do this for you in the latest SharePoint version.

Reuse contentReuse copy n paste is your friend

Great comms move people to action good content is also modular and reusable. Save yourself time, effort, and money by reusing chunks of content. Why write fresh joining instructions for every event when you can reuse the same text (if the process is identical)?

When writing, think about how others can use your paragraphs. Chunk topics together, use sub-headings throughout your article, and write short sentences.

The same paragraphs can be used on the intranet, in an email newsletter, in the quarterly print newsletter, and on slides. Even if the article itself seems unique, written in a different tone and for slightly different audiences, you can still reuse paragraphs to help maintain consistency of message and reduce your workload.

Recycle contentRecycle format shift to reach a new audience

Similar to Reuse the third R in our mantra is really about upcycling the customising of a thing in such a way as to create something of higher quality or value.

Quotes from employee interviews (perhaps including exit interviews, but also those getting to know you articles) can be used in change management presentations to show current culture and expectations.

PowerPoint presentations can be recycled into narrative articles for the intranet or newsletter, to explain in plain English whats going on. Survey results can form the basis of a suite of engagement articles. Even meeting minutes can be spun into news articles and status reports.

RihannaRihanna does it sparkle?

Ahem. The bottom line is, whats the value of your content, whether its old or fresh? Does your content drive action, bolster engagement, and support your organisations objectives? Is it truly relevant? Further, is it really interesting?  The Health & Safety Manual is relevant, but is it interesting? H&S reports and news can be interesting, but only if you make the effort. Same goes for financial reports. Even change programmes need a bit of Rihannas sparkle to cut through the noise. Whatever you think of Rihanna, shes not dull, and your content neednt be either.

Icons by Milton Raposo C. Rêgo Jr. from the Noun Project.

Photo by DoD News Feature / EJ Hersom.

One hour intranet ideas to do right now

WatchLook at your home page from top to bottom. Lets consider what you can improve with about an hours work, with no need to seek approval from your steering committee. Assuming youre the site / intranet manager, that is!

Navigation menus

This might take an hour per item much longer if you mean to do a full, robust overhaul. To really get into menu design you should consider navigation to be separate from the structure / IA of your intranet. Menus are about helping people get around, whatever the structure. Card sorting and treejacking are basic, necessary (but insufficient) tools to help match your menus to peoples needs.

But before you start a big navigation project, why not simply review the terminology within your menus. Is everything clear and obvious, or is there a lot of jargon?

Note your observations about obtuse menu labels in about an hour, and then work with your UX and steering committee, and the indicated site owners, over the next fortnight to make improvements. Be sure to publish a news article or intranet blog to explain what youre doing (always keep people informed).

Headlines

Look at your home page. Are headlines too long? Many organisations aim for five or six words, or perhaps a certain character count. Do your headlines end-up on three lines, rather than one or two? The most important thing, in my opinion, is using unambiguous headlines. Headlines are not supposed to tickle peoples fancies; they are supposed to help a person decide what to read and what not to read.

Take ten minutes to note the headline length and clarity, then work with your internal communications team to set the guidelines to be succinct and clear.

Summaries

Directly below headlines you should offer a sentence, just a few words, to express the what and who of the article. Its all about helping people work out if the article is relevant to them.

Are summaries written with the home page in mind, or are they just the first sentence from the article? Take ten minutes to assess the clarity of summaries, and then work with the internal communications team to set the guidelines for bespoke summaries.

Photos / images

Does your home page look the same as it did a fortnight ago? Fresh, relevant images for each main article can help communicate that your intranet is a vibrant, up-to-date place. Images need to be relevant take care using stock photos. Try to use snaps taken with peoples smartphones whenever you can. Set standard dimensions for a pleasing, consistent page layout.

Text

This is a big one, as it can have implications for design / layout across your site / intranet. But the principles can be reviewed and set in less than an hour, so get your UX pro and IT people talking about:

  • Font-family is it readable on different resolution screens? Is each letterform clear, or might you choose a different font-family?
  • Text size increase the text size a bit. It helps everyone. Dont let your chief designer tell you that people can increase the font-size themselves using their browser because people dont know about this browser feature and dont do it even when they do.
  • Line-height increase the space between lines of text (called leading in the print world). This will dramatically increase readability, understanding, and instantly makes your pages look clear and designer-y. It just does!
  • Paragraphs maybe increase the whitespace between paragraphs a smidge. Again, it increases readability. Talk to internal comms team members and content authors about ideal sentence length and ideal paragraph size. Generally, we need more paragraph breaks!

Navigation aids

When a person is at the bottom or a page, or end of an article, what do they have to do? Are they forced to scroll all the way back to the top to navigate away?

Place a Back to top link in the footer / at the bottom of every page. An hours work for immediate benefit! Just do it.

What other in-page links or navigation aids might your colleagues expect? Review famous websites and reflect on how they help you get around.

Logo

Make sure your company / intranet logo (or name) is clickable and takes you directly to the home page. You may need to get IT involved if you cant hack the code yourself. This is about creating a consistent and trustworthy way for anyone anywhere to jump to the home page. Its expected behaviour (because external websites all do this) so it should happen on your intranet. Might take you ten minutes, and needs no approval just do it!

Search box

Make sure your search box meets peoples expectations it should be in the upper-right of your pages, and:

  • Use a simple magnifying glass icon.
  • Have an open text box to type in (i.e. not just the magnifying glass).
  • Ensure the input is submitted by clicking the magnifying glass icon as well as hitting the Enter key on ones keyboard. Let people do what they prefer.
  • Consider assigning a keyboard shortcut so that people can jump to the search box and simply start typing. Keyboard shortcuts can enhance the accessibility of your intranet.
  • Consider making the search box hold the cursor be default in other words, as the page loads, the cursor is already in the search box.
  • No need to place the word Search in grey text within the search box people should be familiar with your intranet and what else could the box be? Ensure the search icon is clear, and that you use semantic mark-up in the code to label the search as search.

Youll probably need ITs help, and you may have an experienced UX professional on hand to guide you. But otherwise this is a global improvement you can just get on with.

Footer

I bet you get a lot of requests for new links to be popped into your main global navigation. This is a big deal because you have to be strategic about global navigation, yet its hard to say no to the H&S director.

Consider developing a fat footer place secondary links and helpful links in the global footer. Nobody will use it very often, but the links are always there when a need arises. A fat footer can be developed over time to be beautiful and useful, but can start with a dozen not-very-important but needed links, grouped by category.

Just do it

These nine intranet ideas might take you seven to fifteen hours to assess, implement, and test. Thats not a lot of time for quite a lot of value. Remember to consider the governance of your intranet for continuous improvement purposes, and keep contributors and end-users informed.

What else can you improve about your intranet in an hour?

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