There are many benefits to implementing a corporate portal in your enterprise: improved internal communication, streamlined information flows, and consolidated workflows are just some of the merits. All of them ultimately lead to a significant increase in work effectiveness. Sounds great? It would if it wasn’t for adoption impediments.
Let’s face it: most intranets fail
Like all systems, an intranet can only be beneficial as long as employees understand it, recognize its advantages, and actively use it. Some employees might be unsure about the ownership of their company’s intranet. Others might think that it is used only by the rank-and-file employees, and not by the executives. Given this, it’s hardly surprising that, in many cases, the intranet adoption rate leaves much to be desired.
There are many possible reasons employees don’t use corporate portals. One of the most common culprits of intranet failure is poor UX and UI design. A complex, cluttered layout is an instant user experience turn-off. The same goes for interfaces that are dull, clunky, and confusing.
7 principles of outstanding intranet design
Designing intuitive, seamless UIs that deliver an enticing user experience is not exactly a walk in the park. It requires advanced knowledge of interactive design principles, branding, typography, and color psychology, paired with a thorough understanding of the end-user requirements. However, prioritizing your portal design, you stand a much higher chance of building a solution that will immediately engage corporate users. Here’s how web portal designers work their magic, developing captivating layouts that boost intranet adoption.
Prioritize user needs and let them know you do
The user is always of primary concern. Remember that each employee, team, and department have their own needs, just as they have their own respective tasks. A well-crafted intranet corresponds to all those unique requirements. To customize your solution accordingly to make it truly helpful.
The main aim of an intranet is to consolidate and streamline collaborative workflows, a fact that should be communicated clearly and explicitly. You can achieve this by implementing a portal tour for first-time users, during which you’ll present different functionalities and show how they can be used in everyday work. Some of the core features include an efficient search engine, messaging system, calendar, project management add-ons, and newsfeed. If you prove to your employees that these tools can assist them in their daily tasks, they’ll be much more eager to use them.
Make your portal accessible
The golden rule is always to make sure that the intranet is available to all members of your organization, no matter their age, nationality, the languages they speak, or the time zones they work from. This is particularly important in the case of distributed international enterprises. Also, remember about people with disabilities. Account for employees with impaired vision, limited motor capabilities, concentration issues, and other handicaps. Don’t leave anyone out.
You already know that you should make your intranet as accessible as possible. However, some users may still struggle with navigating the portal. You can help them out by providing on-site support. This can be done in a variety of ways: you can implement a FAQ subpage, user discussion boards, the aforementioned website tour, or even user support chatbots.
Another important matter is the ownership, that is who’s in charge of the intranet. Is it the HR department, communications, or maybe someone else? Knowing this, users will be able to ask for help when they stumble upon more complex issues. Make sure that essential information is clear and easy to find to empower your employees and provide them with all the knowledge they need.
More and more aspects of our online lives take place on mobile devices, and work is no different. Younger employees, in particular, often prefer to use them over PCs or to switch between the two. Plus, seeing that facilitating internal communication is one of the main advantages of an intranet, making it available anywhere anytime is a reasonable thing to do. Launch your network across various types of devices to appeal to mobile users and offer your employees more flexibility.
Add some fun to it
Boosting employee engagement is one of the main advantages of a well-designed corporate portal. And what better way to keep people engaged than by entertaining them? Implement a social module to build up team spirit. Enable media sharing, chats, thematic groups, or even gamification in the form of polls, rankings, and rewards to spice up everyday routine with some healthy competition. Encourage users to socialize by allowing them to customize their profiles with bios, photos, hobbies, and other non-work-related information. All that will create a friendly image of your platform and may even inspire employees to develop their own content.
Remember: looks matter
Speaking of images, don’t underestimate the meaning of the visual aspect of the intranet. Like it or not, many people judge books by the cover, and websites by the homepage. Looks can be a make-or-break factor, and you sure want to leave a good first impression. Consistent color schemes, pictures, animations, interesting layouts — there are many ways to give your intranet more visual appeal.
That being said, be careful not to make it too flashy. Esthetics can’t eclipse functionality, but should rather highlight it. Aim for the happy medium between the austere and the distracting. Another tip: avoid walls of text. They generally discourage users from interacting with content. Instead, you can opt for tiles or an image-based layout.
Collect feedback and build on it
Ensuring efficient communication is a never-ending process of finding out what works best. Thus, you should make sure that you’re able to get that knowledge firsthand from your intranet’s users. Implementing feedback collection tools is a proven method of generating ideas that help enhance your enterprise portal.
Asking your employees for opinion also has the added benefit of boosting their engagement by making them directly involved in improving the company’s workflow. Moreover, it makes it clear that their voice matters, and that you are open to constructive discussion.
A corporate portal can be an incredibly helpful asset for your company, but it requires a solid and well-thought basis. By designing a web portal for your employees while keeping up with these good practices, you’ll lay the foundations for an efficient and engaging online workspace that your employees will love — and use.