Posts Tagged ‘user-centered’
Even if you’re a seasoned intranet professional, there’s always something you haven’t heard before. Sometimes, the very nature of the intranet (being internally focused and heavily customized to your corporate culture) lends itself to being cut off from the outside world. I read an article recently called 12 Workplace Phrases You Probably Don’t Know…But Should. Many of the phrases are applicable to the intranet world and are worth repeating. Below are a few of the phrases the authors listed, but I added my own thoughts on how they apply to intranets.
Holistic: No matter what you’re doing with your intranet – redesigning, building, planning, maintaining – you must always keep the big picture in mind. That means taking into consideration things like the number of users affected, other practice groups involved, resources you might need, time for development and testing, other projects happening simultaneously, the external website and any duplication of effort or content, etc. Look at everything around you – this is what a “holistic” approach means.
Running in parallel: If you’re developing something new for your intranet, it’s always good to keep the old system around for a period of time, even if it’s just as a backup. I’m not saying that you should allow people to use both old and new for very long, but running in parallel until the new system is stable is a good idea.
Use Case: These are critical for intranets when developing something new and testing. Use cases are documented situations that explain a specific situation to follow in order to determine if the solution will meet the needs. You should write multiple use cases for various situations in order to thoroughly review the solution.
Wireframe: Wireframes are especially helpful for intranets when you are in the beginning stages of a new design. They are simple pictures to show your developers how you’d like the screen to look. They should be low-tech and low-cost. Draw a picture, if you must! Creating wireframes is a way to ensure that the project is programmed they way you envision.
Now here are a few more phrases you should know that I’m adding to the intranet list:
User-centered design: Involving users in every phase of an intranet project enables the team to effectively prioritize features and functions, select the right tools and design the most efficient ways to accomplish tasks online. During each phase of development it is critical to engage, involve and interact with users. Asking basic questions and documenting findings will enable the team to make better decisions throughout the project.
Needs assessment: Exploring they way things are in the current intranet is critical, as well as determining where things should be. An assessment in my mind is different than an evaluation, which occurs after the fact. You might be locating gaps, assigning priorities, finding causes and identifying solutions. Again, intranet end users are critical to finding this information, so involve them early in the process.
Do you have some intranet phrases of your own to add to the list? If so, I’d love to hear them!
Intranet design has come a long way in recent years, especially with the advancement of social networking tools, user-centered design, and mobile access. If you’re interested in what other intranets are doing and keeping your intranet fresh and usable, you should read Nielsen/Norman Group’s post and report on the 10 Best Intranets of 2010.
The 10 winning intranets for 2010 include:
- Enbridge, Inc., a leader in energy transportation and distribution in North America (Canada)
- GE, a diversified technology, media, and financial services company (US)
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), a nonprofit medical research organization (US)
- Huron Consulting Group, a consulting company (US)
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a NASA Center that manages robotic spacecraft exploration of Earth, the solar system, and the universe (US)
- The MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit organization managing four federally funded research and development centers (US)
- SCANA Corp., a Fortune 500 energy-based holding company (US)
- Trend Micro, Inc., a leader in Internet content security (Japan)
- URS Corporation, a leading provider of engineering, construction, and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies (US)
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Walmart), a retailer with more than 8,000 retail units under 53 different banners in 15 countries (US)
- median company size among winners was 6,350 employees
- average team size this year was 14 people, which is 27% higher than the average team size in 2006
- 30% of the intranets had special mobile features
- social network features on winning intranets include social features for employees as individuals, as well as workgroup support and other features that encourage work-related connection
- trend of CEO blogs on better intranets
- winning intranets encouraged users to try out new and improved features
- 40% of winning companies designed intranet features with the explicit goal of addressing unexpected emergencies
While the Alertbox posting has some of the high-level findings, the nitty gritty detail is, of course, in the full report. It’s available for download for $224 (single license), and at 449 pages with 198 full-color screenshots it promises to be well worth the nominal price tag.
We are pleased to announce the publication of Creating the Successful Law Firm Intranet published by Ark Group in association with KIM Legal. Written by Nina Platt, Laurie Southerton, and Amy Witt, the report is based on the user centric implementation method presented during last year’s webinar series of the same name. It includes chapters that discuss developing a business case, governance, and an in-depth look at the process model the book is based on as well as chapters for each phase of the model – Research, Design, Development, Roll-out, and Measure & Maintenance.
The report also includes case studies of the intranet deployments at Baker Donelson, O’Melveny & Myers, Reed Smith, Tory’s with additional cases studies of firms who are not named. Our thanks to Meredith Williams, (director of knowledge management at Baker Donelson), Tom Baldwin (chief knowledge officer at Reed Smith), Marty Metz (director of information technology at O’Melveny & Myers) and Elizabeth Ellis (partner at Torys) for their willingness to offer their intranets as case studies and work with us on the development of those case studies. We also want to thank Anna Shaw, commissioning editor at Ark Group, for her editorial expertise.
A link to more information about the book is included above. Once there, you will find a link to view the table of contents and executive summary. We will be posting additional information regarding the purchase of the book next week.
Now we can return to creating posts for this blog. Something we haven’t done for some time.
~ Nina Platt