In today’s hybrid and remote digital-first work environment, the value of an intranet is indisputable. The value of intranet design, however, is sometimes overlooked. But design considerations, alongside other intranet priorities, will help create a vibrant digital collaboration workspace that your team will be excited to engage with.
The design of your intranet is more than the color scheme, the layout, templates, and general interface will impact user adoption and ease of use for members of the organization. Follow these intranet design best practices to ensure your organization is collaborating efficiently:
Start at the User Experience and User Interface
Consider the point of view of your user when planning your intranet layout. The employee experience is the bigger picture which requires you to take into consideration their end-to-end interaction with the company intranet.
Defining a layout and taxonomy for your intranet is the first step in the process. Take the time to produce descriptive labels and easy-to-find CTAs (call to action) for each page. The next thing you need to consider is the platform’s intuitiveness and make sure that employees’ top activities are easy to find and conduct. Organize your intranet with balanced widgets that are symmetrical and proportionate, giving a systematic flow to the intranet.
Make Your Homepage the Prime Real Estate
The top rule is to not overload your homepage with information. This is the entryway to your intranet – use it to set the tone for your company culture and experience. A nice welcome message with links to important resources is a good starting point. You can also make the latest content and updates front and center by adding interactive widgets.
Dive deep into the key elements of a successful intranet homepage with our blog and real-world examples of intranets implemented by our team.
Make it Your Own
Your intranet is the digital home of your company culture. Make sure to reflect that in your intranet design. Using your brand colors and logos in your intranet design can help create a sense of familiarity and belonging among users, something they may be lacking if they have transitioned to remote work. Additionally, including elements that reinforce your company culture in a fun way does a lot to help keep users feeling engaged and connected with your company.
Design Your Intranet for Accessibility
Your intranet should be functional and accessible to all members of your organization, regardless of their circumstances. Whether it be visual or hearing impairment, you need to consider readability, alignment, color contrast, alt text for imagery, and more.
Even if you don’t think you have any employees who require accessibility features, it’s important to build these in from the outset. By developing your intranet design for accessibility, you are making it easier for all users to navigate and find the right information with ease.
Logical Grouping of Content
You may be tempted to overload the navigation and menu bar of your intranet with links to every piece of information on your intranet. But restrain yourself, and group content logically. This will help you narrow down on areas that have earned the front and center position. A best practice is to avoid creating a 2-line menu bar by limiting yourself to the top five options.
With logical grouping, you also control what information goes above the fold on your intranet. Remember that not all content is a top priority, so follow a hierarchical approach to arrange the information that is worthy of users’ attention.
Mobile Friendly Intranet Design
Meeting your users where they are is key to success. Mobile first optimization of consumer-facing websites is increasingly common, but we need to do the same for internal stakeholders. Increasingly, remote and hybrid users are often interacting with intranets using their mobile devices, so curating the design in a consumable format with responsive features is key.
Don’t Set it and Forget It
Even if you design and build the best, most functional intranet possible, there is still the possibility that it will fail. Usually, this is due to a ‘set it and forget it’ attitude. Implementing a new intranet is a huge project, but it’s important to remember that project is not ‘finished’ once the intranet is launched and in use. In fact, it’s never going to be finished. Organizations change, technology changes, and user needs change along with them. It’s crucial to develop a plan for ongoing maintenance and improvements to your intranet to ensure it is still meeting your company goals and your user’s needs. Another benefit of good intranet design means you won’t need to develop a new intranet solution to keep up with these changes– you’ll just be evolving your existing, well-designed intranet.
Award-Winning Intranet Design with Klarinet Solutions
Klarinet Solutions, an award-winning intranet consulting team, has extensive experience in designing and deploying intranets across industries. With our decades of experience, we solve everyday technology problems with the Microsoft 365 suite and modern SharePoint. Intranet homepage branding and design play a huge role in building a corporate identity, improving company culture, and telling your story. Talk to our experts to see how we can elevate your intranet experience with a captivating intranet design.