How to Lose a User in 10
Intranets On-Demand
Kelly Freeman
Intranet Strategist
Don’t give them the right tools
Have no objectives
Make it complicated
Don’t keep content up to date
Free text
No input
‘The Management’
No help
It never evolves
See Interact 7 live in the expo
Interaction 2013 - Customer Workshop - Kelly Freeman - How to Lose a User in 10 Ways
Interaction 2013 - Customer Workshop - Kelly Freeman - How to Lose a User in 10 Ways
Interaction 2013 - Customer Workshop - Kelly Freeman - How to Lose a User in 10 Ways
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Interaction 2013 - Customer Workshop - Kelly Freeman - How to Lose a User in 10 Ways


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You want your intranet to mean everything to your users but they just don’t want to spend time with it. What are you doing wrong? Here we look at the top 10 ways to lose your users, and how to help them fall in love with your intranet.

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  • Don’t give them the right toolsOne of the quickest ways to alienate users is to aim to channel the majority of your communication activity through your intranet without realising that a large majority of your staff can’t access it during the course of their normal working day.When you start your intranet project, you must start with the needs of your future users. Who are they? Where do they work? Are they in an office or off site most of the time? What hardware do they use for the majority of the time? PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone? Can they easily access the intranet and the content from these devices?You must make sure that whatever they are using, they can access the intranet quickly and easily and that what they see is the same regardless of device. Interact 7’s seamless view across any size device means that no matter where they are, your users see the same content as if they would on their office laptop as they do on their smartphone.
  • No PurposeThinking your intranet will solve all your company’s communication problems on day one is a mistake. Like any other channel it needs establishing over time. It must have a point, a purpose. There must be solid reasons for people to visit your site. Conducting user surveys is a great way to find out what your future users are interested in and want to know more about so you can make sure your intranet meets those needs. At Interact, we are advocates of a blend of push and pull factors; the pull being essential forms and business processes.
  • Tools like Absence Manager create a essential need for all your staff to visit your intranet on a regular basis as well as providing your business with a centralised way to keep track of all your staff’s absences.
  • Keep it simpleIntranets are not the same as commercial websites; that users want to browse around and discover items to buy. It is a provider of essential information that your staff need to find quickly. They do not want to have to think about where to find it or meander their way through a complicated navigational structure. Burying the most used content into departments means that your staff have to know who owns the document they’re looking for before they can find it.
  • Using a task based structure with a simple top line and quick links to commonly used content gives your users fast access to the things most people want and need. With Interact 7, they can also see their favourites and watched items on the black tool bar which allows a level of personalisation and fast access to their own most used and desired content.
  • Failure to keep your homepages and pages up to date sends a message to your users. It says “no-one cares about this intranet” and if your users think you don’t care, they won’t care. They shouldn’t see the same content on their homepage week after week. Using dynamic content widgets helps your homepage display the most up to date content from around your site whenever new pages are added. Meaning that your intranets is less last week’s scraps and more this weeks fresh produce!You should always have a plan for adding new content to your intranet; what is happening in the business? Is it review time – if so a prominent link to information on completing pdr forms is appropriate.
  • Free text is the antithesis of good content. The top half of any homepage is prime real estate and so often we see it wasted with ‘welcome to this department, here you’ll find’ People know what they’ve come for and it isn’t that; they just want the content they’re looking for. When designing any home or content page ask yourself one question:What are users coming to this section of the intranet to find? Ask people, either informally or with a user survey or use your Interact Analytics to tell you what the commonly accessed pages are in that section. So if you are the working here section for example you might expect that people will be looking for holiday forms, maternity policies, expenses policies, the latest training offered and who the new joiners are.
  • Getting conversation going on your intranet is not always easy, especially if conversing online for work is new to your organisation. Kickstarting a business conversation or an Interact Team needs input and direction from leaders to start with and a plan for tapering their input off as things take off. Otherwise you’ll have a barren wasteland!Think of it as building a fire from scratch: you need kindling and a spark then you need to cultivate it gently, throwing the right fuel on it at the right time. But then once its going, it might only need another log every now and then. The same is true of your online forums and blogs. People will look to model the behaviours of their boss and if they aren’t active on your intranet and asking their team to follow them there instead of email then there isn’t as much impetus for them to be.Good goverance should give you a stakeholder group, some champions and some leaders – use them to light the spark
  • Anyone who understands this reference is as old as me and therefore probably keeping quiet! What I mean by this is making your intranet too corporate or thinking that corporate news is enough to draw users to your intranet. It isn’t. Wanting your intranet to be the primary channel for communication is a noble aspiration but it takes a lot of time and effort to make that happen. Your staff are less interested in ‘the management’ than you want and think. By cultivating your intranet in other ways, with social tools like the football app or social forums, and with the essential business tools we talked about earlier, users see the intranet as a fun and interesting place; a useful place and in turn you can begin to ‘push’ more communication through that channel.In the interim, you may find you still have to use your existing channels to ‘point’ to your intranet news page.
  • Lions are not interested in broccoli. But they’re pretty interested in gazelles. In intranet speak this translates as relevance and personalisation. You users want to see the information they are interested in, not a catch all homepage. Interact intranet allows you to display different homepages to different users depending on their location or department for instance. The interact tool bar shows individual users their own favourite pages and watched pages.As your intranet grows and develops, segmenting your homepages further serves to make your intranet more personal, more relevant and more useful.
  • Having the right level of help for your users is essential. You should always have an up to date library of short help videos and user guides on your intranet as well as first level support for any technical problems. Remember, you want people to use your intranet so you need to make it easy for them to get help.You as Ims can of course use Interact’s community site and helpdesk to get support and advice or book some time with myself or my colleague Steven to address any specfic needs.
  • If you have a purpose and objective for your intranet then this should lead to a strategy for development. An intranet that doesn’t ever evolve or present new experiences for users can cause disengagement over time. At the beginning of your project think about what you want from it and make a short, medium and long term plan to get there, adding apps like teams or workflow and forms over time.Users don’t always need all the features all at once; introducing new functionality over time gives you a ‘long wow’ and a constant stream of new things to talk about and promote. If you are a small intranet management team this approach also gives you time and breathing space to focus on one campaign of promotion at a time.
  • Interaction 2013 - Customer Workshop - Kelly Freeman - How to Lose a User in 10 Ways

    1. 1. How to Lose a User in 10 Ways Intranets On-Demand Wi-Fi interaction interact123
    2. 2. Wi-Fi interaction interact123 Kelly Freeman Intranet Strategist @kellya_freeman
    3. 3. Don’t give them the right tools
    4. 4. Have no objectives
    5. 5. Make it complicated
    6. 6. Don’t keep content up to date
    7. 7. Free text
    8. 8. No input
    9. 9. ‘The Management’
    10. 10. Irrelevant
    11. 11. No help
    12. 12. It never evolves
    13. 13. See Interact 7 live in the expo