Building an Award-Winning Intranet: Design Matters!

Many people think that an intranet’s only purpose as a platform is to provide great content and access to many useful applications. In fact, there are three main stepping stones when building your intranet: software solution, content and design. This is our first blog post in a new series on Building a Powerful, Award-winning Intranet. 1/3

NEW SERIES 
Building an Intranet 

Part 1 of 3

ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

Author

Asya Stamenova
Brand Content Writer

Published on

June 11, 2019

Tags

Design, Tips and Tricks

There are three main stepping stones when building your intranet: software solution, content and design. Too often, the latter gets ignored during implementation, even though it’s a very important part of the intranet building process. Good design helps employees to reach high productivity in their daily work activities.

The Visual Era

Let us ask you this question: would you prefer to eat a donut with nice frosting and sprinkles or just a plain sugar one? Don’t think about the taste for now.

Most people will choose the first option. This is because our eyes are always the first ones to make a decision. The same can apply to your intranet! Your employee end-users will notice and navigate the platform according to colors, shapes, fonts, etc.

The abundance of visual communication has taught users to pay more and more attention to design. It now befalls companies to design their intranets in a way that will grab and engage all users from the start. Good design has the power to facilitate a platform’s accessibility while increasing effectiveness. It is also meant to easily guide users toward the data they are looking for.

Effective Design

ON A RELATED TOPIC

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The main objective of an intranet is to improve employees’ working capacity. Don Norman – cognitive scientist and co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group Design Consultancy – provides a very good base for web and interaction design, that each intranet designer should probably explore at the early stages of the implementation process. These days, most design projects are user-centric and take into account user behavior research.

8 Design Tips for an effective intranet

Try to limit the homepage to 5 widgets or items
Don’t use more than 3 or 4 colors per page
Avoid becoming scattered
Avoid monotonous design and create a rhythm for each page
Don’t be afraid of long pages
Carefully select your illustrations
Simplify and synthesize your menu
Respect the graphic style of your company

What makes a big difference

It’s clear that an award-winning intranet isn’t just your average intranet. It combines functionality with added-value for everyone.

In 2002 Nielsen Norman Group consultants estimated that productivity levels inside a well-designed intranet solution are 43% higher compared to a poorly designed corporate network. Implementing an intranet that includes the latest digital solutions will also consolidate the adoption process and increase productivity.

UX Design is defined as the set of means implemented to design an interface that fully meets each user’s usability needs. The objective is to provide the best possible user experience and encompass all aspects of user interaction. UX design applied to a website means:

UX Design 

Accessible
Ergonomic, consistent design with easy to use and intuitive features
Credible

Ordered information that creates a natural functional flow

Responsive

Usable by all users regardless of the digital medium (smartphone, tablet, desktop)

On the other hand, UI Design concerns all visual characteristics that will create a pleasant and useful interface for users. User interface design is focused to maximize usability by making user interactions as simple and effective as possible. In the website it translates to:

UI Design 

Visible

Make an impressive product launch to attract users from the very beginning

Attractive

Create an appealing, visually pleasing and well-constructed interface

Easy

Make relevant information easy to reach, thanks to intuitive navigation and personalized content and notifications.

A successful interface facilitates task completion without drawing unnecessary attention to itself. At the same time, good design provides an aesthetic appeal which enhances users’ ability to make the most of the solution’s features.

One more tip: personalize!

Make your brand shine

The intranet has to represent your brand identity and values, by sticking to a consistent corporate design that’s used for all other types of communication. One easy way is to incorporate a few distinguishable design features. Making this small alteration can bring a stronger sense of belonging for users inside the organization.

01

Character fonts

02

Brand Colors

03

Images and illustrations

04

Forms, shapes and icons

The design process must balance technical functionality and visual elements to create a system that is not only operational but also adaptable to changing user needs

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