Full day training course offered at The UX Conference Las Vegas

Intranet Design Trends and Best Practices

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

Course Date: December 05, 2012

Learn how to best support your organization, enable employee communication and increase employee productivity and satisfaction through your intranet. Be inspired by current feature trends and learn best practices in intranet design processes. Examine examples of good designs to bring actionable insights back to your intranet team. 

Examples and guidelines presented in this course are based on:

  • NN/g’s world-renowned Intranet Design Annual contest’s winning designs from today and since 2001
  • Insights from reviewing hundreds of intranet entries for our annual competition for 15 years
  • Data and examples from extensive intranet usability research conducted on 42 intranets, including usability testing and field studies
  • Information architecture research based on 77 intranets
  • Learnings from client work (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

Topics Covered

  • Winning intranet designs
    • What the best intranets are doing 
    • Lessons learned and successes from winners of the Intranet Design Annual 
  • Governance and management 
    • User-focused intranet design process
      • Timeframe for making great intranets
      • Redesigning an intranet, and catalysts for redesign
      • Steps to complete before designing
      • Setting goals and balancing business goals and employee goals
      • How common it is for intranet teams to set clear goals
      • Understanding employees' needs, workflow, and tasks
      • Incorporating UX research activities
      • Essential elements in a good intranet design process
    • Intranet team components with optimal success
      • Team size increasing for best intranets
      • Where teams fit in the organization 
      • Support needs for intranet teams
    • Content management
      • Structures for content control
      • Governance and management
      • Content contribution challenges and solutions
      • Training and support
      • Importance of guidelines and standards
      • Writing effectively for the organization
    • Multiple locations and languages support
    • Promoting the intranet and change management 
    • Measuring your intranet’s success
      • Benchmark your intranet against others
      • Quantifiable measures 
      • Return on investment (ROI)
  • User behavior on intranets
    • Popular intranet features and how they increase intranet usage
    • Interruptions and the effect on intranet usability
    • Providing access through shared workstations and kiosks
    • Mobile intranets to support employees who don't work at a desk
  • Social features
    • How to deploy social features for success
    • Opportunities for and examples of content sharing 
    • Advice for encouraging engagement
    • 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
    • Examples of successful video styles
    • Selecting the appropriate video style
    • Information to provide about and with video
  • Accessing the intranet
    • One password single sign-on for all intranet related applications
    • Intranet branding
    • Purpose and types of homepages
    • News homepages for conveying current information
    • Portal homepages provide quick access
    • Personalized homepage with targeted information
  • Personalization and customization
    • The difference between personalization and customization 
    • Common roles to base personalization on 
    • Benefits of personalization 
    • Drawbacks of personalization
    • Customization options that employees use
  • Navigating the intranet
    • Information Architecture (IA)
      • Typical ways for organizing an intranet IA
      • Starting point for a task-based IA
      • IA-related research activities
      • Traits of good navigation structures
      • Faceted navigation
      • Mega menus
    • Search
      • Searching versus navigation on intranets
      • Presenting search
      • Displaying results 
      • Dealing with multiple global search functions
      • Presenting global (intranet-wide) and local (section-specific) search options
      • Making search more usable
      • Filters, suggestions, best bets and autocomplete
      • Employee search and building robust and informative employee profiles to promote knowledge sharing
  • Mobile intranets and enterprise applications
    • Assessing the need for mobile access
    • Defining scope and audience for mobile designs 
    • Selecting the right content for mobile
    • Planning an effective mobile strategy 
    • Issues of security and performance



The basis of the course is a lecture format with a few exercises and discussions 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

Participant Comments

Participant Comments

"I am glad I came to this session BEFORE embarking on our intranet re-design. So many great tips!"

Sarah Walczynski, Country Financial

"I will continue to recommend NNg courses as the best I have attended in 20+ years with my current employer. Current, insightful and detailed — [if] you can't learn from this experience, you're in the wrong job!"


"It is rare to get an insight into intranet design. The NNg course provides real life research into the do's and don'ts of designing an intranet."

Dan Hollings, Denplan Ltd

"Super refreshing clarity and lack of jargon all around, extremely useful. Is like a course equivalent of Steve Krug book."

Jordan Cox, UN World Food Programme

"Gives a solid overview of intranet trends from soup to nuts."

Greg George, Protiviti



Kara Pernice

Kara Pernice (@KaraAnn) is Senior Vice President at Nielsen Norman Group. Pernice uniquely combines her 20-plus years of business, research, and design knowledge and experience to help organizations increase their UX maturity and derive interfaces which are usable, useful, and surpass business goals. Pernice is accomplished at evaluating and managing design situations, and crafting with a team the most fitting design and research methods, and converting this analysis into outstanding design. Pernice has led teams running hundreds of intercontinental research studies, and is expert in many usability methods. Read more about Kara.