Intranet Information Architecture Design Methods and Case Studies

2nd Edition

Report PDF cover image

Learn how best to structure your intranet, how to design its navigation system, and how to run the Information Architecture (IA) aspects of the design process.

The ROI is immense; we find that employees waste inordinate amounts of time being lost on intranets. Improve your intranet's IA and the findability of your content and services, for higher user satisfaction and employee productivity.

Our analysis encompasses intranets from a wide range of industries in 13 countries. Of the organizations, 9 were small (500 employees or less), 48 were mid-sized (501-20,000 employees), and 17 were large (more than 20,000 employees).

This 1,349-page report comes in two volumes:

Volume 1: Intranet Information Architecture Design Methods and Case Studies

  • 265 pages
  • Annotated screenshots explaining why a particular design is good or what to watch out for
  • Analysis and summary of common design patterns used
  • How to tackle navigational issues faced by these organizations

Volume 2: Design Gallery: Screenshots and Examples from 77 Intranet IAs

  • 1,084 pages
  • 1,106 screenshots of the navigation design. Mine this treasure-trove of design ideas.
  • Company profiles briefly describing the organizations and their intranet
  • Complete sitemaps listing all the IA categories, allowing you to see how they’re structured

Article on research findings: Intranet Information Architecture (IA) Trends


  • Common topics found in the main navigation
  • Labeling of navigation categories
    • Problem with confusing labels
    • Design solutions to unclear terms
    • Ideas for good category labels
  • A starting point for top-level navigation
  • Ordering of top-level navigation links
  • Determining the website structure: Hierarchy, linear, web
  • Organization schemes to group related content by
    • Department
    • Topic or task
    • Audience
    • Geography
    • Format
    • Time
    • Alphabet
  • Presenting only relevant content through personalization and customization
    • Pushing content based on user's profile
    • Removing content depending on relevance to user
    • Application customization
    • Whole page customization
    • Personal profile pages
    • One intranet vs. Multiple websites
  • Benefits and drawbacks of different types of global and local navigation
    • Across the top
    • Vertical on the left
    • Expanding menus
    • Dropdowns and flyouts
    • Megamenus
  • Role of information architecture
  • Research methods used when designing an IA
    • Learning about users: field studies, diaries and interviews
    • Establishing a starting point: content audits and collecting feedback
    • Traffic statistics
    • Gathering opinions: surveys
    • Card sorting
    • Tree testing
    • User testing
    • Promoting good practices across the organization
    • Tools used
  • Common information architecture problems
  • Section landing pages to help users find information
    • List of links with and without descriptions
    • Large centerpiece image
    • Modules
    • Paragraph summary of area
  • Wayfinding: helping users orient themselves
    • Consistent and persistent global navigation
    • Location in website
    • Breadcrumbs
    • Creating a consistent experience: guidelines, templates, and content management systems (CMSs)
  • Encouraging exploration
    • Related links
    • Inline links
    • Social filters
    • Tagging content
  • Shortcuts
    • Quick links
    • Fat footers
    • Utility navigation
    • A-z index
    • Sitemaps
    • Grouping similar information: forms, policies and other content

What’s new in the second edition?

The second edition contains new screenshot examples and recommendations – increasing from 56 to 77 case studies and navigation outlines.

This edition also covers new topics, including:

  • Tree testing
  • Navigation structures
  • Organization schemes
  • Ordering of top-level navigation links
  • Types of global and local navigation, including megamenus
  • Social filters
  • Tagging content
  • Navigation shortcuts


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Purchase an individual license if the report or video will only be used by one person.

Customers who choose an individual license are not authorized to share the report or video with anyone else, or post it to any internal or external file server, website, or intranet. Individual License Terms


Purchase a group license if the report or video will be used by multiple people within your organization.

Customers who choose a group license are authorized to post the report or video on internal file servers or intranets and make it available to others within the organization. The group license does not grant permission to make the report/video available to people not employed by your organization, the general public, or to post it to a publicly accessible website or file server. Group License Terms


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