Maximising Your Intranet Homepage


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Presentation from How to Maximise Your Intranet Homepage by Nigel Williams, Interact's Community Manager on 8th August 2012

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  • I feel this needs to be covered up front – there is no such thing as the perfect homepage, there is no template which will magically engage all of your users or turn a poorly performing homepage into a successful one. What works for one company may not work for another.However there is good practice and there is bad practice.What we will look to do to today is highlight small changes you can do immediately to increase the quality of your intranet homepage.
  • Also there is a golden rule you should never forget…Personalise their content as much as possible to make your intranet essential.
  • The front door to a ‘one stop shop' for user needs.First thing users see when logging onto your intranetSupports the needs of your usersYour homepage will be the most contested space on your intranet between various stakeholders Dynamic content leads to regular user visits to check information relevant to them
  • Homepages are a bit like mansions, they’re huge and when they awesome they are truly awesome, they make you want to go in and nosey around if you’re a visitor…
  • Whilst the unloved ones see you backtracking as far as possible never to return for the fear of bumping into the ghosts of intranets past.
  • We often here of user design being centred around websites.There are some which are highly effective
  • Some which used to be seen as the paradigm of good design but now split opinion
  • And some which are awful. I’ve used this example for months as it is deliberately terrible – Jerry Sadowitz’s comedy character Brian Butterfield’s site
  • But then one of my colleagues sent me this real site this week, the similarities are scary
  • However your intranet is not a website and to base your design on trying to be Facebook or Google is somewhere between bizarre and crazy.There will be certain features you would like to replicate to solve a business problem but Facebook is not designed or suitable to be your intranet.
  • Purpose : Whilst a website may be designed to sell a product, range of products or a specific function, your intranet has to fulfil a range of diverse tasks depending on the user.Size : Your intranet is likely to span thousands of pages whilst the average website will likely be less than 100 pages. Your information architecture will therefore be far more diverse with a stronger information scent.Users : Your intranet is built for frequent users who know your business and have managed expectations. They are likely to learn how to use your intranet over time. A website is likely to have infrequent users who may use a number of similar sites depending on price or ease of use.
  • Prioritises key information Widgets which aggregate various themes e.g. breaking news / company campaigns in the same widgetInformation relevant to users that is accurate, timely and has a clear call to actionTasks should require little or no thinking to achieve Small improvements made consistentlySelf explanatory icons/ buttonsShallow bannerHas a strong engagement balance
  • To maximise your user engagement you need to get a balance between:CommunicationsBusiness Processes CommunityGet it right and you will hit the engagement ‘sweet spot’. Intelligent intranet software enhances this sweet spot by joining the dots between associated content.It may not always be possible to achieve this but as your intranet matures the opportunities for balance should become clearer.For example at launch the community aspect is often the greatest challenge. Don’t just put the tools there and expect people to adopt them, tie them to a business need so they serve a purpose, for example a buying and selling forum for a more social aspect or an ideas generation forum.
  • The sweet spot will maximise users’ ability to:Understand what is happening in your businessFind efficient ways to complete tasks Share knowledge and ideas, eliminating knowledge silos and hierarchy to create knowledge enablers at all levels.This will ensure users check your homepage regularly to see what has changed with the knowledge those changes will be relevant to them.
  • Just to prove we practice what we preach, here is our Customer Community
  • This balance works for other sites, for example our customer Community
  • This balance works for other sites, for example our customer Community
  • This balance works for other sites, for example our customer Community
  • This balance works for other sites, for example our customer Community
  • Dominated by CommsThis is prevalent in intranets ran in cascaded communication models / three line whip communication models.RisksPeople become ambivalent to on going, one way communication. People don’t feel invited to comment, discuss or engage.The ‘What’s In It For Me?’ factor is rarely answered.Business processes are hidden or lost amongst the on going communications.
  • Dominated by Business ProcessThis is prevalent in intranets heavily influenced by business functions or expected to justify Return of Investment on every inch of the homepage. It does however work as a homepage for remote workers who may be looking for quick links to five or six tasks as you’d expect from a mobile intranet. However there should still be a balance of Community and Communication to reduce a sense of isolation and a ‘tell’ culture.RisksPeople assume the intranet is solely a task management tool.People will only visit the intranet when they have a task to do.User feedback tends to be defined by the fields they complete within the business processesCollaboration goes off lineCommunication tends to merely support the release of a new process or procedure
  • Dominated by CommunityThis situation is at the other end of the scale to the prevalence identified in the previous two examples.There is a big drive to encourage social intranets and the benefits of this are well documented. However having gathered these users and given them the environment to speak you need to add some direction into this group with Communications and Business Process to realise your business goals.RisksLack of business process leads to ad hoc, parochial processes from various thought leaders.Company news and urgent announcements are lost in the noise.The community dictates a communication’s value so a negative article is likely to be lost quickly unless there is a reaction.Business processes will be seen as anti community and unrelated to the main activities of the intranet.Thought leaders will appear in a parochial manner. With strong community management this situation can be beneficial to a business but left to grow organically will not usually allign with business goals and will lead to accusations of time wasting.
  • You may have a number of these features already but are you maximising their potential?Dynamic content is far more engaging for users.
  • You may choose to split your news between essential and general interest. Essential might be the unveiling of your company’s business plan for the next year whilst
  • A strong New Starter Homepage should include some of these features:Your intranet will be one of your new starters’ first impressions of your company. An easy to use, timely and relevant homepage will reinforce a positive company culture, a homepage where the content is out of date and irrelevant will reinforce a negative image.Some companies give their new starters a specific homepage. This has a number of advantages, particularly if you get the balance right as it encourages new employees to engage with the wider business and share their expertise from the start, forming behaviours.
  • There are other tools which will heighten the effectiveness of your homepage:Aggregated WidgetIn this example we have taken three forums andmade them appear as one aggregated forum. This maximises latest information without taking valuable homepage real estate.This is actually four widgets without the widget title / borders displayed – the title is a free text box, the next widgets are forum displaywidgets.Alternatively create a category with two links feeding as sub categories, for example news and campaigns or company wide news and local news.
  • Another very effective way to condense often unrelated themes without using three separate widgets.Design each tab as you would a regular free text widget and users can click through three overlapping tabs.The content is better suited to task based documentation than dynamic content.
  • The action of a button should be obvious from the logo on it. Anchor text also reduces this misunderstanding.
  • We often discuss whether homepages should go below the fold. It is widely accepted that homepages are fine to do this.It is particularly good practice if you have remote workers. Due to the time it may take between pages loading, scrolling is instantaneous.
  • Large areas of static contentNo logical information architectureOne homepage for everyoneNon personalised content e.g. generic contentInconsistent layoutAssumed hyperlinks i.e. it just says click here without an associated actionOut of date information100% cascaded communication
  • Welcome to a bad homepage
  • We have seen a worrying trend of people using video images like the one above as a hyperlink going through to a document. This confuses users and should be avoided.
  • If you have an extensive piece of text like the example here, place it in a document widget with a link on the homepage. If it is critical make it a mandatory read. Do not place it in its entirety on your homepage if it is likely to only have a read once use and is not searchable!
  • These typically appear on homepages when a Senior Exec decides this needs to be here without broader understanding of users’ needs.Showing a highlight of the latest threads is often a good idea with an option to click through to an area to see all forums.
  • Fixing the Bad Homepage ExampleGiven the issues with the Bad Homepage Example, there are a number of quick, effective fixes which can be used, most notably moving to a full width homepage.In the next screenshot you will see how a number of the initial challenges have been overcome and how the space can be used more effectively.Note each of the widgets near the fold encourage users to keep scrolling down, complimenting the commonly used widgets which are displayed underneath as discussed earlier
  • If Atlas wanted to promote the forum blog they could give it a specific widget with a brief explanation of why people should be interested or create a click through to a specific Fleet area.
  • Users are king. Make it as easy as possible for them to do what they’re doing consistently
  • Stats are your best friend when keeping an effective homepage. Look at both what people are doing and what they are struggling to do via failure to find
  • Maximising Your Intranet Homepage

    1. 1. @intranetexpertsWelcome toMaximise the Potential of YourHomepagewith:Nigel WilliamsCommunity Manager@footshort82Sarah GuestVP, Marketing@sarahlguest
    2. 2. @intranetexpertsPlease ask questions using theQuestions Interface in yourGoToWebinar toolbar.How to ask questions...Webinar
    3. 3. @intranetexpertsFollow the conversation on Twitter• #ihomep
    5. 5. @intranetexpertsWhilst We’re Dispelling Homepage Myths• Homepages should never go below the fold• Homepage content should have an obvious business benefit• Homepages are for breaking news…even if the news is 3 months old• Homepage content should be driven by senior level
    6. 6. @intranetexpertsThe Golden Rule : Give Users What TheyWant
    7. 7. @intranetexpertsWhy is Your Homepage So Important?• Front door of your intranet• Supports the needs of your users• This makes it the most contested space on your intranet• Dynamic content leads to regular user visits
    8. 8. @intranetexpertsContent
    9. 9. @intranetexperts
    10. 10. @intranetexperts
    11. 11. @intranetexperts
    12. 12. @intranetexpertsContent
    13. 13. @intranetexperts
    14. 14. @intranetexperts
    15. 15. @intranetexpertsHowever Your Intranet is Not a Website
    16. 16. @intranetexpertsKey Differences• Purpose• Size• Users
    17. 17. @intranetexpertsSo What Makes a Good IntranetHomepage?• Prioritises key information• Widgets which aggregate various themes• Relevant, timely, accurate information relevant to users with a clearcall to action• Tasks should require little or no thinking• Small improvements made consistently• Self explanatory icons/ buttons• Shallow banner• Strong engagement balance
    18. 18. @intranetexpertsThe Homepage Engagement BalanceTo maximise your user engagement you need to get a balance between:• Communications• Business Processes• CommunityGet it right and you will hit the engagement ‘sweet spot’. Intelligentintranet software enhances this sweet spot by joining the dots betweenassociated content.
    19. 19. @intranetexpertsThe Homepage Engagement BalanceCommunicationsAn intranet PUSHCollaborationIntranet PUSH & PULLBusiness ProcessesAn intranet PULL
    20. 20. @intranetexperts
    21. 21. @intranetexpertsCollaborationBlogs allow users to discuss issues or shareknowledge.Homepage positioning is important as itincreases interaction with other users.
    22. 22. @intranetexpertsPersonalisationThis answers the ‘what’s in it for me?’aspect. Interact’s Intelligence make surethis is user specific.
    23. 23. @intranetexpertsCommunicationContent pushed by the company to the user /user group.
    24. 24. @intranetexpertsBusiness ProcessesThese are business critical, user generatedcontent.
    25. 25. @intranetexperts
    26. 26. @intranetexpertsCommunicationCommunication
    27. 27. @intranetexpertsCollaborationCollaborationCollaborationCollaboration
    28. 28. @intranetexpertsBusiness ProcessBusiness Process
    29. 29. @intranetexpertsPersonalisationPersonalisation
    30. 30. @intranetexpertsEngagement Unbalance• It can be particularly hard to achieve engagement balance at launch.• There is a big pressure from stakeholders to ensure all processes,procedures, documentation and communications are in place.• People need coaxing to collaborate with a new tool.• However stats and feedback are great indicators to ensure you strikeyour engagement balance as your intranet matures.Typical homepage misbalances include:
    31. 31. @intranetexpertsDominated by CommsCommunicationsAn intranet PUSHCollaborationIntranet PUSH & PULLBusiness ProcessesAn intranet PULL
    32. 32. @intranetexpertsDominated by Business ProcessCommunicationsAn intranet PUSHCollaborationIntranet PUSH & PULLBusiness ProcessesAn intranet PULL
    33. 33. @intranetexpertsDominated by CollaborationCommunicationsAn intranet PUSHCollaborationIntranet PUSH & PULLBusiness ProcessesAn intranet PULL
    34. 34. @intranetexperts
    35. 35. @intranetexpertsBlogsBlogs should display a user’s profile pictureto enhance engagement
    36. 36. @intranetexpertsNewsNews should be displayed with a date andsummary.The length of the news widget should bedependent on the amount of recent news.
    37. 37. @intranetexpertsInteract SuggestsDocument logos should be relevant to the topicand include a summary.This widget pushes user specific informationbased on their roles and typical searches.
    38. 38. @intranetexpertsActivities/TasksUser activities and tasks should beabove the fold as these are actions thatthis specific user needs to complete.Activities/TasksUser activities and tasks should beabove the fold as these are actions thatthis specific user needs to complete.
    39. 39. @intranetexpertsRolling WidgetThis is a great way to promote multiplecampaigns or information without usingextensive real estate on the homepage.This means its more likely to be seen by theuser.
    40. 40. @intranetexpertsContent pushed bycommunications and pushedand pulled by collaborationContent pushed by InteractIntelligence StoreContent pulled by businessprocesses
    41. 41. @intranetexpertsNew Starter HomepagesFirst impressions of your company:• Easy to use• Timely• Relevant• Out of date• IrrelevantStarter Specific Homepages:• Encourage engagement withthe wider business• Share their expertise from thestart• Forming positive behaviour
    42. 42. @intranetexperts
    43. 43. @intranetexpertsSignpost WidgetThis is a great way to get your new starters to getused to updating their information and guide themwhere to find this information about other users.The profile completeness drives people to get to100% whilst ‘Have you Tried?’ and ‘tips’ push usersto get used to features.
    44. 44. @intranetexpertsEmbedded VideosA far more engaging way to get your users tounderstand the key features of your intranetor welcome them to your company.
    45. 45. @intranetexpertsInteract AnswersWe’ve all been a new starter somewhere witha question to ask every 5 minutes.This widget share information andencourages collaboration as a behaviour.
    46. 46. @intranetexpertsNew JoinersAllows new users to see and networkwith other new starters, particularlyeffective if you run induction workshops.
    47. 47. @intranetexpertsMy WidgetGives new starters a voice and encourages them toengage with employees across the business.
    48. 48. @intranetexperts
    49. 49. @intranetexpertsBlogsA great way to share knowledge, opinion andshare collaboration.
    50. 50. @intranetexpertsDiscussion ForumsAn excellent way to share information and helpnew users understand business challenges andthe latest campaigns
    51. 51. @intranetexpertsMost Commented WidgetEncourages new starters to engage indiscussions and establish themselves as a topicexpert
    52. 52. @intranetexpertsMandatory ReadEnsure new users are reading essentialcommunications and business processes
    53. 53. @intranetexpertsAggregated Widgets
    54. 54. @intranetexpertsFree Text Widget With Multiple Tabs
    55. 55. @intranetexpertsSelf Explanatory Buttons
    56. 56. @intranetexpertsTouch Screen Buttons for EPOSIf you are a retailer and your store based users have touch screentills, consider touch screen sized buttons to access certain information.
    57. 57. @intranetexpertsEncourage Your Users to Scroll• Widgets which span over two screens encourage users to scroll down• Place essential but static tools below the fold to ensure your users areaware of the need to scroll• Tools which do this effectively include:
    58. 58. @intranetexpertsActivity WidgetShows activities a user needs to do
    59. 59. @intranetexpertsFavourite Document WidgetShows user selected favourite documents
    60. 60. @intranetexpertsCalendar WidgetShows the next events relevant to that user
    61. 61. @intranetexpertsRewards widgetShows all rewards given across the company.
    62. 62. @intranetexpertsRoom and Resources WidgetShows meetings booked for specific rooms or resources over a setperiod.
    63. 63. @intranetexpertsAbsence Manager widget (holidays etc.)Shows the last approved holiday request and outstanding holidays totake.
    64. 64. @intranetexpertsFootball Challenge WidgetDisplays the league table for the Football Prediction Module. This canalso be swapped with an internal Games ladder.
    65. 65. @intranetexpertsWhat Makes a Bad Homepage?• Large areas of static content• No logical information architecture• One homepage for everyone• Generic content• Out of date information• 100% cascaded communication...
    66. 66. @intranetexperts…• Assumed hyperlinks i.e. click here without an associated action• Homepage driven by looks rather than usability• Inconsistent layout• Not having full width homepage despite a small left hand menu• Content which is on the homepage due to the rank of the stakeholderrather than being there as it is useful to the user.
    67. 67. @intranetexperts
    68. 68. @intranetexpertsSmall left hand side menus / blank spaceThis is not an effective use of space. The IntranetManager would be better to make this page a fullwidth homepage than take the approach theyhave.
    69. 69. @intranetexpertsWeb pages embedded in small windowsThis is definitely one to avoid.The Intranet Manager should create a link to thespecific site and use a ‘Click Here to AccessBBC Sport’ hyperlink for example.
    70. 70. @intranetexpertsOver or undersized images with excessive blank space / Usingvideo images as a linkMake full use of the widget space where possible, particularly whenembedding videos.
    71. 71. @intranetexpertsExtensive static text in a free text boxThis should be avoided at all costs!
    72. 72. @intranetexpertsBroad column widths with excess spare spaceHomepage space is valuable so make sure it is beingused rather than having blank spaces.
    73. 73. @intranetexpertsNiche Topic ForumsAvoid forums which users aren’t going to refer orengage with consistently..
    74. 74. @intranetexpertsBreadcrumb TrailYou shouldn’t need a breadcrumb trail to tell you thatyou’re on the homepage.This again takes premium space.
    75. 75. @intranetexpertsWelcome MessagesYour homepage space is at a premium.Welcome messages do not achieve anything, nomatter how welcoming you’d like it to be. It soonbecomes something people ignore as it adds no on-going value.Avoid this at all costs!
    76. 76. @intranetexpertsDocument ListsPlain lists are not engaging. Try to includesummaries and images to make the content moreengaging.If it is timely include the date, if it is on-goingBusiness Processes where a document could belive but 18 months old, avoid doing so.
    77. 77. @intranetexpertsUsing Official Event LogosUnless you’re an official sponsor of theevent, avoid using official logos or you couldface legal action.More information on the Olympics logo forexample can be found under sponsor support
    78. 78. @intranetexpertsMisusing Branded IconsIn this example there is a danger that users could be confusedseeing a Twitter symbol on a widget which quite clearly isn’tTwitter.When using icon widgets, use them when using a widgetwhich is using that specific application, be that Twitter,YouTube etc
    79. 79. @intranetexperts
    80. 80. @intranetexpertsFull Width HomepageThe full available space of the homepage isnow being used.
    81. 81. @intranetexpertsVideo WidthThe video now uses the full width of thewidget.
    82. 82. @intranetexpertsDocument DisplayAll documents have an image and summarymaking the most of the available space.
    83. 83. @intranetexpertsLinking to the Previously Embedded WebPageAs well as the danger of poorly sizedembedded windows, you are also at thewant of homepage redesigns by the site youare embedding. A direct link is far safer andeffective.
    84. 84. @intranetexpertsForumsThe most recent forum posts are nowdisplayed.
    85. 85. @intranetexpertsRemoving Large Static TextThe brand guidelines can now be accessed within aclick rather than taking up over a third of the homepagespace.
    86. 86. @intranetexpertsMobile Homepages• This is a whole presentation in itself with the differences betweencomputer, tablet and smart phone but in short don’t try to give usersyour whole intranet on mobile, provide them with the tasks theyneed to be able to do whilst on the move.• Remember that going between pages takes far longer if you’re in apoor reception area so streamline those tasks to as few clicks aspossible.
    87. 87. @intranetexperts
    88. 88. @intranetexperts1) It’s all about the users
    89. 89. @intranetexperts2) Stats are you best friend
    90. 90. @intranetexperts3) Make Small Changes Consistently
    91. 91. @intranetexperts4) Maximise Your Features
    92. 92. @intranetexperts5) Make Your User’s Content Relevant
    93. 93. @intranetexperts6) Don’t Overload Your Mobile Content
    94. 94. @intranetexperts
    95. 95. @intranetexpertsQuestion Time
    96. 96.