Intranet Portals: UX Design Experience from Real-Life Projects

4th Edition

Intranet portals can drive governance, effectively consolidate applications, connect information, change communication, and reduce fragmentation. A good intranet portal provides easy access to all enterprise information, resources and tools.

Comprehensive case studies show you what enterprise portals mean to the users (your employees) and how the portal team can deliver what the organization needs. Some of the most praised features of intranet portals turn out not to be needed in most companies. For example, role-based personalization usually works better than individual personalization.

This 552-page report presents 174 design guidelines. Discussions and 328 screenshot illustrations supplement our findings.

This report focuses on the design, user interface, use, usability, and adoption of an intranet portal — that is, the user experience of intranets that look, feel and act like portals.

Topics

  • Portal characteristics
  • Past and future portals
  • Development best practices
  • Governance models
  • Department ownership and staffing
  • Winning over users
  • Governance challenges
  • Managing content
  • The importance of the content management system
  • Centralized and decentralized ownership/authorship
  • Templates, standards, and guidelines
  • Communication and support
  • User research, prototyping, card sorting, and focus groups
  • The common portal homepage (or no homepage)
  • Initial portal implementation strategy
  • Sub-sites
  • Department pages
  • People pages
  • Information architecture
  • Moving from intranet IA to portal IA takes time
  • Personalization and customization
  • Application showcase
  • Portal platforms
  • Enterprise mobile
  • Collaboration and social tools
  • Security and single sign-on
  • Search and filters
  • Improving search
  • Return on investment
  • Information on the methods and technologies used to achieve the vision within an organization's framework

Vendor-Independent Analysis

Intranet portals are being pushed heavily by technology vendors, but the experience from the many portal managers contacted for this report is that technology only accounts for about one-third of the issues they had in implementing their portals. Organizational issues and company politics account for two thirds.

This report presents a unique perspective on intranet portals: not that of a vendor trying to push a specific solution, but the user experience perspective. What do portals mean to the users (your employees) and how can the portal team deliver what the organization needs? To find out, we investigated real portal projects in 67 real companies, getting real-life feedback from real portal managers who have been there, done that.

Other reports may give you features checklists, about things that supposedly work and are claimed by vendors or "analysts" to be good ideas. This is a report on what actually works, not what the vendors' sales people claim to work.

Some of the most touted features of intranet portals turn out not to be needed in most companies: for example, role-based personalization usually works better than individual personalization. Similarly, one of the world's five largest law firms discovered that its clients needed much simpler dealrooms than promoted by most vendors of extranet portals.

Other companies that charge much higher prices for their reports receive large amounts of money from vendors. In contrast, we don't pull any punches and this report includes some pretty harsh comments about the main portal vendors. (We also don't have anything against the vendors: we are simply reporting what we found in our research.)


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