The design of your intranet could well be the difference between success and failure. An engaging, easy to use design will see your employees happily logging on and taking full advantage of all the great tools and features. A poor design, however, will leave staff members frustrated and switching off or worse still seeking alternative tech solutions. So what does a well-designed intranet look like? What lessons can we learn from the most successful intranets? Here are some best practice intranet examples together with a short commentary as to what makes them stand out.
Home Page Example One
The homepage is critical as it sets the overall look and feel for your intranet. All the best intranets tend to go for a simple, minimalist look that is easy on the eye. Trying to pack too much in with lots of text and images can be confusing for the user and makes it hard for them to sort out what’s important and find what they need. For maximum effect, therefore, keep it as simple as possible.
Visual appeal is important and engaging staff with vibrant images is a great way to immediately entice them in to further explore the content. The example below uses a well-chosen, high-res banner image that is not only a beautiful photo in itself, it’s also reflective of what the company is all about. Photos work best when they are strongly related to the content they sit beside and where possible should show employees doing their work.
In the intranet example below you can also see that they have opted to give the site a name “The Hub.” This helps with developing an identity for the intranet site and positions what the site is all about. Clear navigation links drill down into key departments and areas of information allowing staff to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. In this example, they have the latest company news clearly positioned below the main intranet banner, which then leads on to other key announcements, links and information. And the box style of layout clearly delineates the key information items.
Home Page Example Two
Banners are a great way of linking to pages and help to put content into context. However, make sure that the style and color choice of your banner is in keeping with the overall feel of the site. You don’t want your employees to mistake it for one of those advertising banners that pop up when you’re browsing the web! Another possibility is to consider introducing fat footers as a vehicle for highlighting popular tools, new content or the latest news.
The intranet design example below shows how to effectively use banners to highlight corporate content. In addition, the dashboard-style home page provides easy access to the important areas of information your employees need. The generous use of white space and a soft gray palette with just a touch of color delivers a clean and simple look. What’s more, the use of boxes makes it nice and easy for the user to quickly scan the information and find what they’re looking for.
Staff Directory Example
Using a staff directory allows employees to easily connect right across your organization. It’s a simple but very effective tool for improving internal communications and employee engagement and makes for a friendlier, more people-focussed company culture.
Another benefit is rather than needing to remember everyone’s name and job role, employees can access the staff directory whenever they like. It will be a popular tool with new members of staff in particular and many companies have made it part of the onboarding process.
User Profiles Example
After using the staff directory to find a member of staff, user profile pages are an invaluable way of introducing employees to each other. This is great for new starters as well as being able to match an employee up to a skillset that you are looking for. Many companies are using user profiles as a platform for promoting joint working and collaboration across the board.
Some intranet solutions like MyHub allow you to create and use custom profile fields within the profile pages, further expanding the options open to organizations for creating an intranet that will meet your needs.
File Sharing Example
Storing files centrally within your intranet can solve a number of problems. How often have you been asked by a colleague, “Where is the project file for this customer?” For most employees remembering folder structures is a pain. And from an organizational perspective, how much time is being wasted on searching for files and documents in the business? The answer is probably too much.
Storing all company data and information on your intranet means that staff know exactly where to go – there’s no need to search complicated email trails and there are no security concerns like there have been with some cloud file sharing options. With a familiar file explorer interface, staff will be able to quickly and easily share files and documents both internally and externally. What’s more, the intranet allows you to provide context around files by linking directly to them from pages. Quite simply, your intranet allows for a more efficient exchange of information and data across the organization.
Accordions / Expanding Text Examples
Using accordions or expanding text modules can be a great way of putting a lot of information on a single page. Be careful though as some solutions load all of the content in one go and this can make page load times take forever, frustrating your users. A great example is shown below and has two columns with different sections for each product area. The information in each expanding text area doesn’t load until the user clicks the chosen product.
Accordions and expanding text are a great idea for mobile responsive intranets as they work better than mega menus on the smaller screen format.
Mobile Responsive Example
The example below shows the home page from example one and how it responds to different device types and orientations. It’s really important that your intranet is mobile responsive so that employees on the move and remote workers can benefit from the improved processes and communications that your intranet will bring. More and more employees are working flexibly and a mobile responsive intranet ensures they remain productive whatever their location.
In this context, it’s also important to think carefully about how your content will translate to the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets. For example, your choice of typeface, its size and the color scheme of your intranet may come across differently in a mobile device and it’s even more important to have an uncluttered look that’s easy to find your way around. Employees shouldn’t have to work hard to read the text or locate information on a mobile intranet page so be careful in the choices you make. It’s always a good idea to pilot your intranet before going live to check on how well the content is working for you from a mobile perspective.
Forms / Workflow Example
We all know that paper-based forms can be a bit of a headache and multiple emails can easily get lost and often contain errors that end up just going backward and forwards. The example below shows how you can group say all of your HR forms in a single area on your intranet providing easy access for staff. In fact, many companies are doing just that to make life easier for new starters who are often required to complete a number of forms as part of the onboarding process.
You can use the intranet’s intuitive forms builder to set up your workflow processes or alternatively you can use an embedded G Suite or Office 365 app. With simple drag and drop fields, it’s possible to create a fully customizable form and automate processes in your business. As the example below illustrates, whether it’s to book holidays, set up a new supplier on the system, or order new stationery, the intranet makes for a more streamlined and efficient process.
In addition, you’ll notice in the example that this particular user has a notification on the top bar showing the logged in user that someone has started following them.
Embedding cloud files such as Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365 files directly within your intranet pages can provide a powerful solution to a number of business problems. By using page permissions, you can easily restrict access in conjunction with your existing cloud solution permissions. The example below shows an embedded Office 365 Excel spreadsheet. Not all of your users will require access to directly edit the spreadsheet data. Therefore, by embedding it within your intranet, you can provide a live view of any of the data entered without the need for the user to find the file. This also opens up a number of options in terms of being able to provide context and training information on the page if you want to.
So, for example, say your business has a weekly sales return spreadsheet that teams are required to complete. Embedding an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet directly in the intranet means that multiple users can simultaneously access and edit the data at any time. Updates are made in real time with the intranet automatically saving the information. What’s more, any explanatory notes about how to complete the spreadsheet and why the information is required can be displayed alongside for users to refer to. Managers and staff can, therefore, be confident that the intranet has the very latest sales data available.
Employee Engagement Form Example
Are you looking to improve employee engagement in your business? One great way to achieve this is to use the intranet’s built-in forms builder to create employee engagement surveys that will help you identify areas of improvement. This could be a snapshot survey in relation to a particular issue or initiative, say for example, seeking staff views and feedback on the new company logo. Or it could be as part of a more formal employee engagement survey that you carry out on a regular basis.
Employee disengagement is a proven major cause of increased rates of absenteeism and low productivity so this is a relatively simple and effective way of reducing costs in this area.
Intranet Examples – Forum Example
Forums are a great place for employees to collaborate. Whether it’s to share insights and updates or to discuss issues surrounding different projects, having the conversations stored within your intranet and being able to access them from anywhere, even remotely, is a great asset for an organization to utilize.
Access to the forum can be restricted to the relevant personnel only by using the intranet’s intuitive administration tools. And it’s possible to set up a system of subscriptions and notifications so that members are automatically notified when there is a new post without the need to directly login to the forum.
The intranet example forum shown below is particularly useful for those companies that have a geographically spread workforce or with large numbers of telecommuting employees. It means that staff can still communicate and collaborate in real time even if they are located many thousands of miles apart.