Archive for September, 2010
Creating a business critical intranet for your organization is a difficult task. Like any project, there are many ways an intranet project can go awry. In2009, the Standish Group reported that the failure or near failure of IT projects is almost certain in a high percentage of those projects:
The Standish Group’s just-released report, “CHAOS Summary 2009,” “This year’s results show a marked decrease in project success rates, with 32% of all projects succeeding which are delivered on time, on budget, with required features and functions” says Jim Johnson, chairman of The Standish Group, “44% were challenged which are late, over budget, and/or with less than the required features and functions and 24% failed which are cancelled prior to completion or delivered and never used.”
If we apply these statistics to intranet projects, the success seems dim at best.
With a nod to the Discovery channel’ s MythBusters, Bill Albert writes about busting myths often held in regards to online usability testing in his 4/9/2010 article, Debunking the Myths of Online Usability Testing in the Johnny Holland Magazine. His focus of the article is online usability testing rather than the usability testing that can be done in person with one or more users but much of the content could be directed at either.
Usability testing goes hand in hand with user research or the needs analysis that must be done to create an intranet that meets the needs of the firm. James Robertson writes about user research in his 2005 Step Two Designs article, Conducting intranet needs analysis. While a bit dated in Internet time, it is still right on point about user research.
Law Firm Intranet Success Specifically
For more information on user research and usability testing for law firms, read a sample of the report, Creating a Successful Law Firm Intranet, written by us (Nina Platt, Laurie Southerton and Amy Witt) based on our experience in working with law firm intranets and published by the Ark Group. The sample includes the Table of Contents, Executive Summary, Chapter 4: Research – Critical for Success, and the case study, Chapter 4: Research for Firm’s Intranet Design.
I received another email from IBM Cognos Express (IBM’s BI product for mid-market firms – in which, I suspect, they included law firms) this morning. I’m not sure why I get them but have found that they do provide some interesting reading. This morning’s email (Subject: New research: 12 tips for dashboards people will want to use) contained a link that urged me to Download and read this Gartner Paper today!
What I found was a summary of the report written by IBM Cognos Express along with information on how they can support such an intiative with a copy of the entire Gartner paper , Tips for Implementers: The Basics of Good Dashboard Design appended. Recommendations from IBM Cognos Express include:
- Focus on what dashboards are for; the targeted delivery of a small group of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) relevant to a user’s role.
- Keep dashboards simple in form, and avoid “gimmicky” features like 3D effects.
- Consider working with an experienced UI developer, human-computer interaction or layout specialist as part of your dashboard team.
I tried counting the tips in the Gartner paper (the writer and librarian in me couldn’t help but analyze the structure of the paper) but always came up with more than 12 which really isn’t important except to note that the paper is chock-full of tips.
What I really appreciated that came from the Gartner paper was a section describing how we can learn from aircraft dashboards in terms of usability as usability testing is just one of the services that NPCI provides for clients working on intranet/portal initiatives. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about our services, but, in the meantime, enjoy the Gartner paper.