Full day training course offered at Usability Week Minneapolis

Intranet Design Trends and Best Practices

Enterprise UX strategies to increase employee productivity, communication, and satisfaction

An intranet typically has both mission-critical applications and enormous amounts of information. You will learn how to best support your organization, enable employee communication, and increase employee productivity and satisfaction by improving the intranet’s usability.

Examples and guidelines presented in this course are based on:

  • Insights gained from reviewing hundreds of intranet entries for NN/g’s Intranet Design Annual competition
  • Data and examples from research (including usability testing and field studies) conducted on 42 intranets
  • Research of 56 intranets’ information architecture
  • Work with clients (though specific content is anonymous in these cases)
  • Surveys with intranet designers, managers, developers, and content managers
"This is a great start to learning intranet best practices. You will be surprised with the issues that exist in colleague-facing sites."

Cory Shamble

Topics covered

  • User-focused intranet design process
    • Timeframe
    • Redesigning an intranet, and catalysts for redesign
    • Steps to complete before designing
    • Setting goals and balancing business goals and employee goals
    • Understanding employees' needs, workflow, and tasks
  • Intranet team components with optimal success
    • Sizes
    • Models
    • Where they lie in the organization 
  • Social features
    • Accessing the readiness for social features at the organization
    • Benefits to offering polls, endorsements, team spaces, comments, blogs, video, feeds, and more
    • Barriers to social participation in the enterprise, and how to overcome them
    • Traits of good blogs, videos, and other social features
    • Involving employees while supporting the organizations' culture and particular benefits
  • Video
    • How people use video successfully at enterprises
    • Formal versus informal style
    • Information to provide about and with video
  • Accessing the intranet
    • Single sign-on
  • Homepages and their importance on intranets
    • Types of homepages and benefits and drawbacks of each
      • News homepages
      • Portal homepages
      • Personalized homepages
  • Personalization benefits, drawbacks, tips, and examples
  • Content Management
    • Structures for content control
    • Governance and management
    • Challenges and benefits
    • Training and support
    • Importance of guidelines and standards
    • Writing effectively for the organization
    • Multiple locations and languages support
  • Information Architecture and Navigation
    • Typical ways for organizing an intranet IA
    • Starting point for a task-based IA
    • Traits of good types of navigation
      • Faceted navigation
      • Mega menus
  • Search
    • Why employees search: Hunting strategies and search behavior
    • Global, intranet-wide search
    • Local, domain-specific search
    • Suggested search
    • Filters
    • Employee search and informative employee profiles
  • Mobile optimization
    • Enterprise applications
    • Responsive Design intranets
    • Planning an effective mobile strategy
    • Security and performance
    • Selecting features for different viewport sizes
  • Promoting the intranet and new features
  • SharePoint tips
  • Benchmark your intranet’s usability against others, how to and data
    • Research study methodology and results
    • Numeric findings from usability sessions
    • How to conduct your own study
    • Return on investment (ROI)


The basis of the course is a lecture format with a couple of group exercises to reinforce the learned principles and guidelines.

The course also includes:

  • Findings from our own usability studies
  • Screenshots of designs that work and don’t work, and why
  • Opportunities to ask questions and offer your own stories


Amy Schade

Amy Schade works with clients large and small in a variety of industries such as telecommunications, e-commerce, government, travel, automotive, music, publishing, banking, non-profit and education, including extensive work on corporate intranets. She has conducted worldwide user research, including longitudinal studies, remote studies and eyetracking research, running studies in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. Read more about Amy

Course Date: September 11, 2013

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