I ran a poll recently asking people to rate the usefulness of 9 intranet content types that add value to your organisation. 221 people (as at Sat Oct 15) responded to the poll and the results were surprising.
In comparison to the other content types, the usefulness of news/blogs was relatively well down the list. And yet many intranet home pages continue to be dominated by news (see tables below).
Implications for intranet home page design
If we look at the intranet home pages submitted to the My Beautiful Intranets competition of 2011, we can see that the majority of these are comprised of news, articles, latest news, internal news, external news, company news, announcements, etc.
Where is the space for these other, more useful content types?
Implications for top level intranet navigation
If we go further and also review the top level menu items for each of these pages, it is difficult to find top level menu items called 'How to' or 'Procedures'. In fact from the 37 home pages submitted and the 13 top level navigation items identified in the article Intranet information architectures (50 in total), I counted the following:
- 26 organisations have News or News & Events as a top level item
- 16 have an About Us item
- 11 had Tools
- 5 had Policies
- 5 had Collaboration
- 4 had Forms
- and a measily 4 had Procedures or a 'How Do I' heading
Yet if we look at the graph below showing the average response for each content type, we can see that 'How to/procedures' is considered to be the most useful type of intranet content closely followed by 'Forms/tools/templates' and then 'Structured content'.
Surely, based on the above feedback, a good argument can be made that:
- more space on the home page should be given to listing popular forms, tools, how to topics and popular lists (such as key phone numbers)
- less space should be given to news
- more top level menu items should point staff directly to these types of content, instead of putting them at hard to find lower levels such as Business Unit headings or user defined categories such as Survival Kit, Campus, Workplace, Laundry, Employee Central or Employee Resources.
Breakdown of responses by role
Numerical results for the above graph, shown by Job Role, are listed below.
Note: The 76 responses from the Other group are comprised of the following roles: Other 30, Content Development 19, Management 14, Marketing 5, Sales 4, Human Resources 3, Public Relations 1
Results are reasonably consistent for each content type between the job roles, with the exception being the usefulness of News/blogs. People with Communication roles rate the usefulness at 4.31, IT roles at 3.77 and Other roles at 3.89. This would seem natural as the people most likely responsible for managing the news would have a communications background.
If you want to view the raw data for the poll, click one of the following links:
Measure the effectiveness of your intranet content types
If you would like to measure how effective your intranet is at delivering the above content types, why not participate in the Worldwide Intranet Challenge (WIC). There is no cost to participate.
If you would like to learn more about these content types and how to improve your intranet's home page and top level navigation, consider attending a Designing Successful Intranets workshop (USA & Canada only).