5 key ways to make an intranet easy to use

30 June 2016 | Chris Marshall

What do people say about your intranet usability?

Are colleagues always happy, or are there the same old issues they bring up time and again? Is it tough to add new users, create sites, or set permissions? Do you find it a struggle to upload new stories, change images, and more importantly – get people to use the platform?

The problem with managing an intranet is that very often, the problems people come to you with are actually problems inherent within the tool itself, and the intranet usability. As a consequence, when someone tells you they find it impossible to find that important document or person, the real cause isn’t how the intranet is being managed, but the fundamental design of the intranet itself.

In this five-part series, we’ve been exploring how the traditional way of building intranets just doesn’t square with today’s needs. And, we’ve been investigating whether an intranet could prove the solution to these issues. Today, we look at five key areas where intranet usability is let down, and show how the intranet can be made easier to use.

Rebuild the city – like a new intranet

In our last post, we looked at how an intranet manager is a little like an urban planner. We explored how Paris was redesigned in the late-1800s to make it fit around the needs of the modern world and future proof the urban landscape. And, we showed how an intranet can provide intranet managers with comparable solutions – a tool that utilises the latest technology and an easier to use interface to help the business adapt to modern expectations.

We’ll look at five key areas where a Fresh intranet can help you oversee the creation of a more modern, more appealing and more appropriate intranet for your organisation which overall boosts the intranet usability.

  1. Cut IT hassle

Users regularly complain that using the intranet is simply too hard. There are too many steps to complete before they can get even the most basic tasks done. If it becomes too hard to get around, expect people to get frustrated and not use it. Just like in a city – if it becomes too hard to get from A to B, people will look for alternatives.

A Fresh intranet will provide you with the tools to make the intranet usability and navigation a breeze. We’re talking Single Sign On (SSO) for all your apps and tools. We’re talking a clean and logical interface. We’re talking about very low (or no) training needed. You need a bold new solution – just like a city planner widening roads or building a metro.

  1. Make it easy to be productive

A study by the Worldwide Intranet Challenge found that there is a direct relationship between how much users value their intranet, and how easy it is to interact with. This is hardly surprising – if it’s easy to join groups, watch a video, collaborate, upload and publish content, share ideas and documents, people will use the platform more and it becomes a key part of their day. By contrast, if it’s the place where documents go to die, and content is stale, people won’t use it.

A Fresh intranet should help here. By providing social tools that allow people to share and comment on documents, access Skype for Business to communicate naturally and interactive sites where they can publish blogs, video, news and ideas, Fresh can make it far easier to be productive.

  1. User experience (UX) is essential

If managing an intranet is a little like managing a city, UX (User eXperience) is like making the city look good and making it easy to live and work in.  If the place where we live looks great, we’re proud to be associated with that area and will tell people. If it doesn’t, we’re less inclined to do so. The same goes for intranet usability; if it’s attractive, easy to navigate, easy to use and signposted to help users find what they want, when they want it – they’ll use it.

Built on Office 365, Fresh does just this. We take the ingredients that Office 365 provides, and turn them into a best practice intranet designed specifically around your own business. Our UX designers have over 15 years’ experience creating powerful, modern and easy to use platforms, meaning your intranet will have the best UX available.

  1. Encourage work

The modern intranet should be a place where work gets done. It’s about more than simply storing documents and reading stale news. Instead, it should be a digital extension of your bricks-and-mortar office, allowing people to communicate and collaborate as if they were physically in the same place –  it should be your digital workspace.

An Fresh intranet does just this. On signing in every morning, your colleagues open a suite of powerful applications. The company-branded home page feeds them relevant company news and Microsoft Delve surfaces the documents users need to work on, before they’ve even sat down at their desk. And, they can easily reach all their work tools from a single app launcher – meaning they never have to open up multiple windows to get working.

  1. Education, education, education

It’s not all about technology. Just as cities need frameworks, administration, and guidance for citizens, intranet users also need this kind of advice and guidance.  From day one it might not be obvious what your people should be doing with all these new tools – without the right level of education usage remains low on even the most attractive intranets.

The point here isn’t about telling people which buttons to click, but about providing wider assistance in understanding why the solution exists and how they can get the best from it for their day to day work. When we deliver Fresh, we incorporate this education into the project by default. With experience of delivering more than 500 intranet projects, we know just what does and doesn’t work when it comes to training new intranet users and enhancing intranet usability.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

To learn more about Fresh and intranet usability, contact us today. And, to understand more about how Fresh allows you to manage your intranet in a way that fits around modern working, read the next post in our series.

Need help?

We’re happy to help with whatever questions you have.

Get in touch