Intranets have to balance the needs and expectations of the user with the requirements of the organisation it exists within.
There may well be divergence between what the end user wants and what the organisation wishes to provide.
How you put the intranet together has a big effect.
At some point it is a good idea to involve the user community. In the planning or at least in the testing of the structure.
In order for you to decide what the structure could be you need to understand how the end users think. What is their mental map?
Structuring your intranet
Intranet FundamentalsAltrincham, February 9Twitter @IntranetExperts
10:00 - 10:40 Structuring Your Intranet. Importance of Information Scent10:40 - 10:50 Morning Break10:50 - 11:20 Launching an Intranet - Best Practice Tips11:20 - 11:50 A tour of Romecs Intranet11:50 - 12:20 Hands on time with Interact Intranet12:20 - 13:00 Networking Lunch
Structuring Your Intranet Steve Osborne Intranet Consultant Twitter @SteveInteract
How do they think? What is the mental map of the end users? Don’t presume that you think you know how they think. An intranet contains a lot of content. How you organise that content can make it easy for users to find it, or it can make it hard.
How do you think? – Team Task 1) Arrange the cards into what you think are logical groupings. 2) Give the groups a name. 3) Stick the cards on paper in their groupsIt should be possible to get every card grouped with at least one other card.There is no maximum number of groups.There is no minimum number of groups.
How did you do?How did you ‘chunk’? The basic principle of Chunking: Grouping Information so it is more easily understood. What to look for? Were there common “chunks”? Structure. Question - How could you allow for different methods of chunking?
Information Scent When you plan your intranet structure you should make it easy for users to find the information they need. The signposts of your intranet need to be clear and widely understood. Users look for textual navigational clues
Information Scent Information scent describes how a user evaluates the options they have when they are looking for information on a site. When presented with a list of options users will choose the option that gives them the clearest indication – strongest scent, that will get them closer to the information they require.
Is all this effort worth it? Yes - a meaningful structure is logical, helping users to comprehend and retain the content as well as helping them quickly find the content they need. Many users still look at a screen and look for navigational clues when they are looking for information. Signposts that make sense contribute to a strong information scent.