Successful intranets all have one thing in common: a great intranet design that really engages with staff. And so if you’re planning a company intranet, it pays to spend as much time on getting the design right as you would on determining the content. An eye-catching, easy-to-use design will have staff members wanting to use the intranet, which means that your intranet will hit the ground running, quickly becoming an indispensable office tool. In this post, we share our insights on what makes for a great intranet design.
1. Intranet Design & Layout
A great intranet design starts with the layout and card layouts are a good choice for intranets. Made popular by Pinterest and Tumblr amongst others, a card design and grid layout is one of the latest trends in web design that we are now seeing reflected in intranet designs. The secret to the success of cards and grid layouts is their simplicity and flexibility. Cards contain bite-sized chunks of information and are very effective in grabbing the attention of users. Cards can be used to highlight content or functionality on the intranet’s home page and don’t have to be static. A different function could be highlighted for say a day or a week at a time. The idea is to draw users into exploring the intranet and to showcase its functionality.
2. Simple Interface
This aspect is closely related to the layout and is concerned with having a clean, uncluttered look for your intranet design. Make sure that your content is clearly spaced from each other: use lots of clean lines and plenty of white space. It may be tempting to cram as much information as you can onto the home page, but the truth is that it’s counterproductive. Too much content and too many features on the intranet leads to information overload and will simply see your users logging off.
What’s more, a clean interface is essential when it comes to having a mobile intranet site. More and more staff are telecommuting and working flexibly which means that they will need to access the intranet from their smartphones or tablets while on the go. For mobile users, having lots of space and big sized buttons to click on is important. You may also want to consider introducing long scrolling content which is much easier to follow on a mobile than content presented horizontally.
3. Use Color
Don’t be afraid to use big, bold colors. Bright colors are not only eye-catching and engaging, but they can also be used to create themes and signal the importance of content. Many intranets, for instance, use red to highlight critical company information or the latest news. Green is often used by designers to encourage an action, or a click and blue is the standard color to indicate a link. So color can be used to enhance your design and at the same time to provide a visual cue in relation to the content. It’s important, however, that you keep the color scheme simple, in fact, less is more, so just stick to a few well-chosen colors rather than a rainbow effect. Use of a complimentary set of flat design pastel colors based on your company brand colors a great place to start.
4. Include Lots Of Imagery
Nothing makes for a dull and boring intranet design more than having too much writing and big blocks of text. Use pictures, diagrams or photos to break up the text and add visual appeal to the look of your intranet. Sometimes a picture or image can convey a lot of information much more easily and quickly than a long paragraph of text. So clever use of images will help to enliven the design as well as being a useful tool for concisely getting across key information.
What’s more, try to be imaginative in your use of images. For example, instead of opting for stock photographs sourced from Google Images, why not use real photos pertinent to your office or industry? Every staff member has a smartphone with a digital camera and so why not use images that reflect the work of your organization or have photos of actual staff members going about their work on your intranet?
5. Utilize Different Fonts
You may have a very visual intranet, but you will still need to include some text. Instead of using the traditional fonts of Times New Roman or Arial, why not use one of the more modern web fonts? Google have their own free range of fonts. What’s more, a font can be a distinguishing feature for your brand and is also a great aid to readability. In addition, make sure that the font you chose works well and is legible on the mobile platform. Why not mix it up a bit and use a couple of different fonts as well as bold and normal typography and adding space above and below text.
6. Intuitive Navigation & Menu
There’s no point in having an intranet if staff can’t easily find their way around it and access the information and tools that they need. Make sure that your intranet is presented and organized in a straightforward way that makes sense to your organization: this may be by team, function, geographic location or by topics and themes. Involving users at this stage is important to make sure you don’t end up creating information silos or an intranet that is so jumbled and disorganized that users can’t easily navigate it.
7. Look Beyond The Home Page
Often organizations spend so long and put so much effort into ensuring the home page really packs a punch that they neglect the rest of the intranet. The company intranet, however, is more than just the home page and while it’s essential to have an effective one, the rest of the intranet is equally as important. In fact, it will have more impact on whether staff engage with and use the intranet. Consider grouping your intranet navigation menu by user role or by different topics that make sense to your users. Remember one of the key business goals that can be achieved is better internal communications, but this will only be possible if your intranet is intuitive to navigate from the end users point of view. Try to organize content into different sections that make obvious sense to users so that they can find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. This is where search can play a very important part of the overall design as well.
Consult The Intranet Design Experts
And if you’re after a great looking intranet that includes all of these essential features, but you’re pressed for time and don’t have the internal resources, then help is at hand. Here at MyHub, we offer an intranet design service that will deliver a customized intranet solution which meets your business requirements. It’s a simple process. MyHub’s intranet designers follow a comprehensive engagement process that’s proven to deliver great sites within any budget. You get the benefit of our expertise and knowledge while we work closely with you on determining your requirements and coming up with an innovative design. What’s more, we’ll be there to offer support during the launch and on an ongoing basis.
Ready to start? Contact us at MyHub for a no obligation discussion today.