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September 30, 2021

Secrets of the Best Intranets, Part 2: Improve your intranet UX and delight your people


Summary: 72% of people use their intranet every day, usually multiple times a day. So shouldn’t it be easy to use, engaging, and effective? By employing task-oriented design and UX, you'll increase your internal ROI.

News Flash: Your intranet should be a place you want to go.   

Of the survey respondents who rated their intranets Extremely Effective, Very Effective, and Effective, 82% said the intranet made their jobs easier. That’s a pretty big number. Now, consider your company’s intranet. How does it make you feel?  

At Reason One, we believe that the intranet you’re using every day should make you feel in-the-know, excited, connected, and dare we say it . . .? Unstoppable. That’s because we know that when your employees are truly empowered to do their best, your whole organization can do its best. 

So how do we get to a place where our intranets are a welcomed pleasure rather than the bane of our existence? Here’s how:

Conduct interviews and user surveys

The first step to a successful user experience is to fully understand who you’re building it for. Conducting interviews and user surveys to understand the needs and motivations of your internal audiences is critical to focusing priorities. This is common for external sites, but it’s a practice that should be applied internally as well.

One great tool is Greystone’s gSight intranet survey tool that allows you to collect user feedback and as well as compare your users’ perception, utilization, and experience to your peers. 

From the survey, we learned the important role that user testing plays in successful intranets. 

63% of respondents who said their intranet was effective did user testing prior to launch, compared to 26% who didn’t. Interestingly, when IT played a lead role, only 38% of organizations did user testing. But isn’t everyone using the intranet? So what gives? 

It’s time to get everyone involved! To do this, create a staff stakeholder group for user testing that engages different departments and demographics, and schedule testing at key milestones in projects. You can even use a third-party user testing service like usertesting.com. These are inexpensive and efficient. 

The insights these tactics bring in will be extremely valuable to your efforts, but they hold an intrinsic value as well. Along with your analytics, this information can help you make your case to leadership. Beyond that, when you engage your actual users in building a tool that is for them, you’re creating a team of early adopters, advocates, and even fans that will support and ease your rollout efforts. 

After you know what your users want and need, start designing it!

Use task-oriented design

Great UX is equal parts inspiration and facilitation. Inspiration in UX, especially intranets, is about creating a sense of belonging and shared purpose. How does your brand, messaging, and content reinforce your culture and mission and bring your people together? 

Intranets deserve good design. They deserve a content strategy. They deserve an engagement strategy. They deserve the same time and energy we put into making public sites engaging and inspiring. Inspiration should be leadership’s goal and what helps them advance cultural and operational metrics.

If you address users’ needs first and make their jobs easier, they’ll be inspired and more open to innovation. Task-oriented design is the way to do that. 

What tasks are they trying to accomplish and how can we make them easier? From our survey, we discovered that the most frequent tasks and those in most need of improvement are one in the same! In other words, imagine driving a car every day where drive, reverse, and the cupholder were the worst features. Yikes! 

Task-oriented design also considers context. 71% of respondents said their mobile app was not useful. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that when, where, and how we work should be up to us.

What’s a good first step to embracing task-oriented design? Look at your analytics. See what your people use most and make a plan to improve those features. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. 

Bonus: In the survey, we also asked, if in charge, what would you do to improve the user experience? Here are the top five answers we got:

  1. It needs to be easy to use, navigate, and find content
  2. Search functionality needs a lot of love
  3. Graphic design could be better and more engaging
  4. The lack of accuracy and timeliness of content is important and builds trust
  5. The mobile experience needs to be more robust and effective

Keep these answers in mind when planning and designing your intranet UX.

How we can help

Reason One UX experts are no strangers with helping companies enhance their intranet UX. Learn how we transformed the intranet UX at Prisma Health here. Ready to improve your intranet but need to convince executive leadership? Check out how to do that here

For more resources and to watch our full webinar on the Secrets of the Best Intranets, click here. Want to see the full Greystone survey report? Drop us a line.