There’s nothing like having a few days away from the office over the holiday season to give you a fresh perspective on things. It may be that you have come back to work, logged onto the company intranet and realized that it is looking a bit tired and dated and is in need of a revamp. Or perhaps the first big project you’ve been assigned for the year is to implement intranet software in the company. Whatever the case may be, you will want to ensure your intranet reflects the very latest design trends; after all, the overall look and feel of your intranet has a major impact on how successful it is. So, what are the very latest trends in intranet design? Well, as intranet software providers, we have a good handle on what’s current and what the next big thing is likely to be. Carry on reading for our take on the top ten intranet design trends in 2019.
Intranet Design Trend #1: More Integration
The intranet may well be the go-to platform for all things work related but sometimes external tools are needed to complete tasks. Office 365 and G Suite are probably the number one examples here. In some businesses, staff members are constantly switching between different software and platforms, often requiring multiple usernames and passwords. Not only is this an inefficient way of doing things, but it’s also labor intensive.
This year we’re likely to see more integration features becoming standard in intranets. Integration capabilities in the shape of widgets along with embedded G Suite or Office 365 apps, social media feeds, even CRM software such as Salesforce will be the norm for intranets moving forward. Seamless access to all work-related apps and tools via the intranet makes sense. It’s more efficient and effective and eliminates the need for constant switching between screens and systems. What’s more, the single-sign-on features of intranets means a reduction in problems associated with lost or forgotten passwords as well as the possibility of password phishing.
Intranet Design Trend #2: Increased Use Of Vlogs, Animations And Graphics
Text dominated intranets are most definitely a thing of the past. With more and more staff members working remotely and accessing data via smartphones or tablets, intranet design has become far more visual rather than text-based, and this trend will continue into 2019.
User experience is the name of the game. The truth is that visual features such as videos alongside movement opportunities with animations and rotating graphics are not only a great way to grab the attention of the user, they also help to engage staff members and make it easier for them to use the intranet. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words and in the context of mobile responsive, user interactive software visual features really come into their own.
Furthermore, those businesses that are looking to improve their rates of employee engagement will be interested in the possibilities offered by vlogs and videos. The dominance of YouTube in recent years has shown what a popular and engaging medium video is. A CEO message delivered via a vlog rather than a more traditional print medium or all-staff email is likely to have far more impact. Instead of coming across as a remote and inaccessible individual, the CEO and senior managers can get up real close and personal in a video blog. Incorporate the ability for staff members to comment and provide insights or feedback directly to the CEO and you’ll be simultaneously be ticking a number of important boxes: from increased employee engagement through to enhanced internal communications.
Intranet Design Trend #3: Personalized User Interfaces
We have social media to thank for the trend towards more personalized user interfaces and employee feeds. Staff members are used to seeing the customized news feeds offered by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Businesses are becoming more aware that employees are mainly interested in the updates that are directly relevant to them. So, when a user logs on to the intranet in 2019, it’s increasingly likely that they will be accessing more customized and personalized user interfaces and feeds.
For example, when Bob in Accounts logs on to the intranet in 2019 it’s likely he will be presented with a user interface with shortcuts to his most commonly used apps and tools. In addition, Bob’s news feed will highlight updates pertinent to his role or team. By contrast, Stacy in Marketing will have a user interface and news feed that reflects her role and interests.
User-centric intranet solutions offer a win-win for the employee and the organization. From the perspective of the organization, it means that staff are not wasting time scrolling through irrelevant content or navigating through several information layers to access the data they need. What’s more, a user-first intranet design will drive adoption rates and helps to ensure staff stays engaged. And from the employee’s point of view, it means that they can quickly and easily access the right tools and data, can source information directly for themselves and can keep up to date with all the latest developments relevant to their team or role.
Intranet Design Trend #4: Social Intranet Features
A natural progression from personalized user interfaces, social intranet features build on the trend towards more customized, self-service intranet solutions. Blogs, forums and chat features on the company intranet have been around for a while now; however, in 2019 we predict we will see more companies moving towards in-depth employee profiles.
Most people have some form of social media presence whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or even LinkedIn. We all take pride in our personal brand and story. In 2019 we are likely to see more businesses adopting internal versions of these social media profiles as a way of connecting staff and enhancing collaboration and joint working.
Employee profiles can take many forms – from a personal biography and summary of current work projects or particular areas of expertise through to more sophisticated follow me functionality and personal activity walls. Whatever form they take, social intranet features have the potential to connect staff and allow for real-time collaboration regardless of department, time zones and physical or geographical location. It can also contribute towards a positive company culture and team spirit as well as promoting an all-round sense of camaraderie.
Intranet Design Trend #5: Simplified User Interfaces
Not surprisingly, intranet design trends often follow the lead of developments in website designs. A trend that will continue this year on both internet and intranet platforms is a move towards cleaner, leaner and uncluttered user interfaces. Keep it simple and you won’t go too far wrong. This doesn’t, however, mean dumbed down functionality, far from it – all the great features and tools that you would expect in the best intranets are still there. It just means that there are no unnecessary frills, bells or whistles to distract the user.
Intranet Design Trend #6: More Automated Business Processes
Intranets of old tended to be fairly static platforms for displaying company content and conveying information and data. Not so the intranet of 2019. Nowadays, intranets are vibrant hubs where staff go to get things done, not just passively read information.
The existing trend towards automating business processes on the intranet is set to become even bigger in 2019. Rather than old-fashioned paper or email-based systems with the potential for errors or information going astray, automated online processes are more efficient and effective. Use the intranet’s online forms for everything from managing vacation requests, updating employee personal details through to hardware requests and new supplier details. What’s more, the built-in approval process together with automatic routing makes for a super-fast, responsive service. Quite simply, automated business processes save time and money, so make sure your intranet keeps up with this important trend for 2019.
Intranet Design Trend #7: Creative Use Of Color
The creative use of color and visual color cues is becoming more apparent in the simplified user interfaces we’ve already examined. Some businesses are branding their intranet pages with different colors based on topic, department, product or service. This makes it easier for the user to navigate the site as they can quickly identify a particular product or service by the relevant banner color.
Other companies are using shadows, gradients and color variation to add depth to the design of their intranet sites. Rather than a dull, flat design, the imaginative use of color in this way can add interest and visual appeal and helps to keep users engaged in the intranet.
Intranet Design Trend #8: Increased Use Of Footers
Footers are often an overlooked and under-utilized aspect of intranet design. Up until now, footers have mainly been used to identify the author and when the page was last updated. In 2019 we predict that we will see more ‘footer boosts’ being used that direct users to other relevant content, invite feedback or provide news headlines.
Intranet Design Trend #9: Increased Focus On Relevant Content
In the past companies have often been guilty of uploading all company content on to the intranet without really thinking through how staff are using the information. However, one of the unwelcome consequences of this approach is that employees have become overwhelmed by the sheer scale of irrelevant information on the intranet and so find it hard to differentiate what’s important. In 2019, the mantra of less is more is becoming commonplace. Information architecture (IA) is the key tool for managing and organizing all that company information so that it remains relevant, current and adds value to the user.
If you haven’t already done so, then 2019 is the year to invest in an IA system that meets the needs of your business so that employees can intuitively find relevant information. An annual audit of content is the absolute minimum. Another approach is task testing where a sample task such as adding a new supplier is completed and assessed against how easy and intuitive it is achieve on the intranet. Card sorting in which users are asked to group intranet content and information into logical headings is another tool to ensure navigation and intranet content matches the expectations of users and the specific requirements of the business.
The bottom line is that as the content on your intranet grows and increases so does the need to ensure that it remains relevant and easily navigable. IA will ensure your intranet doesn’t become a black hole in which information simply disappears for ever.
Intranet Design Trend #10: Mobile Responsiveness
Yes, you’re right – this isn’t a new trend, but it’s worthwhile remembering that any changes, improvements or enhancements that you make to your intranet need to work just as well on smartphones and tablets as they do on the PC. Think touchscreen optimization and responsive intranet software and make sure you pilot and test changes in the field for mobile optimization. With so many of us working flexibly and remotely, it’s a mistake to make any innovations to your intranet design without thorough testing of how they work on mobile devices.
Intranet Design Trends: Ask The Experts!
If you are still grappling with how to incorporate the latest intranet design trends into your existing or proposed intranet, then get in touch with us here at MyHub. We are always happy to share our expertise and knowledge. Better still, why not try out our super easy to create and use intranet software? You see, the MyHub Intranet already reflects the very latest intranet design trends and we are constantly reviewing and refining the product in the light of user feedback, technological improvements and industry best practice. Contact us today for a no-obligation demo or a 14-day free trial.