Archive for December, 2007

Information architecture (IA) is something anyone managing an intranet should be concerned about. A deliberate and proactive navigational structure can ultimately ensure the success of your intranet over the long-term.  If you think you need to brush up on this topic, read Nielsen/Norman Group’s report on Intranet Information Architecture.

Jakob Nielsen lists some of the highlights of the survey of 56 different intranets of varying sizes and industries in his Alertbox postingon November 26th:

  • Only 25% of the surveyed teams had a full-time person dedicated to IA
  • The most common research methods used include surveys, card sorting, traffic analytics, and user testing
  • The majority of top-level navigations included human resources info (66%), company info (63%), and news (59%)

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 on CD-ROM for $396 (single license), and at 1,193 pages with 744 unique screenshots it promises to be well worth the price tag.

~ Amy Witt


Have you wondered what platforms or tools other law firms are using to develop their intranet portal?  Are there as many firms using SharePoint as you think there are?  Perhaps not knowing the amount of investment other firms are making in the way of resources is keeping you up at night?  If so, you might want to participate in the new benchmarking study we are conducting.

When complete the study should answer the following questions by size of firms:

  • How many firms have deployed or started the deployment of an intranet/portal.
  • Did the firms purchase a solution or build it?
  • What platforms or development language did they use? 
  • Did they use consultants?
  • Did they use SharePoint?
  • Did they use any third party legal specific products to accelerate the development in SharePoint (XMLAW, Handshake or LawPort)?
  • What version of SharePoint?
  • What was or is the number of people dedicated to the deployment?
  • How much money did they spend?
  • How long did it take or do they think it will take to deploy the software?

Law fims participating in the study will receive a copy of the summary of results.  The individuals who fill out the survey will be entered into a drawing for $150 gift certificate from

All information will be treated confidentially with no firm names disclosed in the summary. Costs will be reported in the aggregate. While we ask for email addresses, they will not be used for any purpose other than delivery of the survey summary and entry into the drawing.

If you are responsible for your law firm’s intranet and you haven’t already participated, go to Intranet/Portal Development Methods and Investments Benchmark Study to get started.  The survey will be closed on 12/31/07.

 ~ Nina Platt

j0177968.jpgBuilding an intranet or portal is tough enough but doing it without a plan is close to impossible.  I’m not talking about making even dramatic changes to what you have but starting over.  With a strategy in place as mentioned in a previous Strategic Librarian post, Intranet/Portal Redesign: Developing a Winning Strategy, planning should be straight forward if you know what to do.

Redesigning anything is a large prospect.  The good news is that even that task can be made simpler by breaking the process into phases.  The most logical approach to redesigning your firm’s intranet/portal is to use a five phase process:

  • Research
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Rollout
  • Maintenance.

The research process allows you to learn more about what your organization needs, what platform is best for your needs, and what resources you will need to deliver a new portal or intranet. 

The design phase is where you gather your research and make decisions regarding platform, content,  and development tools.  In this phase you use the user requirements gathered in the research phase to develop a design that responds to those needs.

The implementation phase is the phase where the rubber meets the road in terms of deliverables.  Up until now, the results of the first two phases can be defined by additional planning documents but during the implementation phase, the end results take shape.

The rollout phase delivers the new intranet / portal to the organization taking into account the communication process that needs to take place with a new system.  Some version of training is part of this phase.

The maintenance phase starts after the rollout as the the intranet/portal is evaluated and improvements are made.  This phase is ongoing as long as the intranet continues to support the needs of the organization. 

During the next few weeks I will be posting an article for each phase beginning with research.   I look forward to your comments or thoughts on the topic.

~ Nina Platt

  • kiiac
  • Purchase Creating a Successful Law Firm Intranet

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