You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s why, at the Scottish Government, we were determined to help our new starts get off to the best possible start with our intranet. Today I’m going to tell you about the tool we’ve developed to help us do just that.
First of all, I’d like to give you a little background. Over the last few years our intranet – Saltire – has gone through a major revamp. This has seen us go from 50,000 pages to 5,000 and the number of publishers reduced from 500 to 3. All the content was reassessed and, where appropriate, rewritten to make sure it was task focused and met user needs. This is what our homepage used to look like. Fairly traditional with no opportunities to get involved or personalise it in any way. So it was out with the old...
… and in with the new I could talk to you at length about our transition but that's not what I'm here to do today The new site allows for a fairly high degree of personalisation and for it to work at its best users need to get involved and take action to make it work for them. It’s simple things that we want them to do – add a photograph and some information about themselves, select the systems they use most often and set their home page up in a way that suits them. Little things but things which make the difference when it comes to user experience. But we have experienced some issues with adoption – it was a lot of change for people to get used to. Everything is going in the right direction and users are becoming accustomed to the new system but by no means everybody has embraced the idea of personalisation.
So we had a clear challenge – how to get more people to make the most of the new intranet. But we were also presented with an opportunity. The Scottish Government was about to embark on a major recruitment exercise – the first for many years after a recruitment freeze. These new staff represented an opportunity for us to get them at the beginning – while they were new and enthusiastic – with no preconceptions over what the intranet should or shouldn't be. In an ideal world, line managers would have been able to show staff around Saltire, demonstrate how features work and encourage adoption. But we don't live in an ideal world and we couldn’t rely on all line managers to do that. So I had the idea for a pop up for new starts which would give them some of this information – and the idea for the Saltire tour was born. I briefed our developers – Storm ID – and we decided to carry out some UX research with new members of staff to find out what they thought of the current product and where they thought more information would be useful. Did they know about the personalization options available to them?
The result was the Saltire tour. It launches automatically for new starts when they get their intranet permissions. It's quite simple – just 8 screens which the user can scroll through. Each page has brief information as well as gifs, some of them animated, to show the user how to do things like update their profile information, add a photograph or use their quick links. The tour is also available for any user at any time through the help section or a link in the footer.
· The second part of the solution is the welcome checklist. This sits on the user's homepage until they choose to remove it and reminds them about some of the things they need to do – like mandatory training – as well as suggesting some useful information which they should read.
The checklist is easy for us to update – it's populated from a simple back end list – and we’ve tried to strike the right balance between practical content which helps them get off to a flying start and corporate information which they should read.
We surveyed the new starts and were very impressed by some of the results. In general, they told us that they find Saltire easy to use. But 75% had personalised their homepage 60% took the Saltire tour and 96% of them found it useful 99% found the welcome checklist helpful
But we also got some unexpected results. The welcome checklist has helped to increase take up of some of the corporate things which it can be very difficult to persuade people to do. So we’ve seen 86% of users completing their mandatory training And 78% have read about health and safety while 70% found out about our security policies.
It was a simple intervention but has had a big impact. Really shows the importance and value of making a good first impression. There’s a wider induction project going on at the SG and we need to make sure that our intranet is at the heart of that.
First impressions count — Marion MacKay
• Encouraging staff to use our intranet’s new features
• SG undertaking major recruitment exercise – first in
• 1,800 new recruits between last June and April
• Opportunity to influence behaviour
The solution – a Saltire tour
… and welcome checklist
What new entrants think:
• 80% found it easy to use Saltire
• 75% had personalised their homepage
• 60% took the Saltire tour on start up
• 96% of those found the tour useful
• 99% found the welcome checklist helpful
What we achieved:
• 5,000 views of the Saltire tour this year
• 86% of new users said they had completed
their mandatory training
• 78% read about health and safety
• 70% found out about our security policies