my world of work and user experiences

March 26, 2009

The best intranets of 2009 according to the Nielsen Norman Group

Filed under: Usability — Tags: — admin @ 22:09

Recently I’ve been flipping through the Nielsen Norman Group’s Intranet Design Annual 2009 – The Year’s 10 Best Intranets (see Nielsen’s alertbox about it). A couple of things that caught my attention 

  1. SharePoint (especially MOSS) scores well. One of the intranets even looks really standard MOSS, with hardly any additional styling.
    “fully half of the winning intranets used SharePoint, especially the recent MOSS platform (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007).[…] SharePoint use has grown dramatically in recent years. This is particularly impressive given that, from 2003–2006, the winning intranets didn’t use earlier versions of SharePoint at all.”
    That is interesting news, given the fact that I use SharePoint for intranets on a daily basis and I focus on usability a lot.
  2. The concept of intranet has matured quite nicely.
    • An intranet not is not just the phone list online (the equivalent of the leaflet online for websites) that we publish because it is fun. Intranets have all kinds of functionality.
    • The winning companies have serious intranet teams, that repport to high level management, because they realise that the intranet istrategically important.
      “This year does show dramatically increased executive visibility for the intranet in many of the winning organizations. This executive involvement typically results from companies viewing the intranet as a collaboration tool and appreciating the increased business efficiency that a good intranet brings”.
    • The development teams take usability into account. They use various methods, like paper prototyping.
    • Personalisation is getting more  sophisticated. The most basic form is personalised news, but we also see personalised work-relatted content and applications.
      “If intranets show everyone everything, information overload ensues and people either ignore the news area or squander their time reading irrelevant stories”.
  3. This year, every winning intranet has some social networking functionality, like (CEO) blogs, forums, wikis, video and user profiles. Not only because it is cool, but because it can help them share knowledge.
    “Social networking and the intranet: A marriage made in e-heaven”
    “Although likely inspired by the open Internet’s “Web 2.0″ sites, these features often have a much stronger business model within the enterprise, simply because they’re more useful and less subject to noise and information pollution by bozos”.
  4. Any self respecting intranet supports collaboration. Many of the winners use SharePoint functionality for that purpose.
    “According to [spokesperson], a key aim of the intranet is collaboration. “It [the site] is a tool that has been developed to network people within the company and better equip them to do their jobs, manage projects, and deliver the best possible service to our clients.”

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