In this fifth and final post on Designing Intranet Structures I’ll be looking at what should happen once you have agreed the structure of your new or re-designed intranet with your users and stakeholders – mapping and continuously improving your intranet.
Archive for the 'Design' Category
In Part 3 I discussed how the design of URLs can play a big part in forming the initial structure of your new or re-designed intranet. In this post I’ll explain how users and stakeholders can contribute to defining the structure, why iteration is the key to a good intranet structure, why content is important and why thinking of the future is important.
In all of the posts and articles I’ve read about intranets I’ve never heard much mention of URL design yet this can be a key approach in designing your intranet and will also permanently help your users in finding the content they need. If you’re worried that this might sound a little complicated don’t be. The approach I’m proposing in this post is simple and low tech.
This post details the first step towards designing or re-designing your intranet – the system map. This map will define your intranet domains and give the first overall view of the domains that make up your intranet and the things that go in them.
Before any system map can be compiled it is important that in depth user and stakeholder research is carried out as well as a content inventory (see Content Value Analysis). The analysis of these activities will contribute towards populating the system map.
This is the first of a series of posts exploring a methodology for creating the best possible intranet structure based on research and iterative conversations with users and stakeholders. This post gives an overview of the methodology and subsequent posts will explore parts of the methodology in more depth.
In Part 1 I discussed the importance of considering content during the whole of the design process and the need to give it the same weight that the user through UCD/UX currently receives in most web projects. So how might this be accomplished?
I recognize that all web projects are unique is some way and any approach has to be tailored, so in this post I’m going to provide a fairly high level methodology, a methodology however that gives users and content the same emphasis. It has now become the norm that the needs and wants of users are considered at every stage of a project. I want content to have the same recognition.
While doing some research recently I was pointed towards the Drupal 7 User Experience Project by one of its designers. Drupal is a free content management system that allows users to publish, manage and organize web content. I found the project to be a brave attempt to involve their users in the entirety of the design process basically from sketches on the back of envelopes up to the completed wireframes.
The project used free social apps such as Flickr, YouTube and Twitter to suport the project as well as discussion lists. Looking at what Drupal did gave me some pause for thought. If they can effectively involve their users, who are scattered all over the world, in improving their upgrades shouldn’t it be far easier for intranets to do the same? After all we know who are users are and where they are so there are no good reasons why this shouldn’t be done for every major change that is planned for our intranets.