Our customers often seek advice on how to freshen up their intranet sites, make use of new features and optimize their site navigation. “I finally have enough time set aside for a site redesign and I want to overhaul the look of my site” they say. The consensus is that design is important, and ensuring that your intranet design is not driving your users away, even more so. However, it seems that the design initiative sits in the corner, for months or even years until either an intranet manager has enough time set aside for an overhaul, or the design has gotten so stale that the necessity peaks and a redesign cannot be avoided.
A complete site overhaul will likely attract your employees to your site. You’ll see a boost in engagement levels and intranet adoption, and all that time and effort spent on careful planning, changes and revisions will certainly pay off. Over time though, your users will be hungry for new changes, new content and a fresh look once again, and they may have to wait months or years to get it.
Implementing Incremental Design
Rather than spending a lot of time on one site overhaul, you will find much more success and a consistent inflow of user adoption and engagement by making small incremental changes. They take up much less time, are still effective in piquing staff interest and allow for your employees to get used to the change more quickly. Here are some examples of incremental design changes you can make on your company intranet:
Give Your Intranet a Name: If you do not already have a catchy intranet name, hold a contest and get your employees input on intranet name ideas. Use a quick poll application to choose from preselected names, or open up the floor for ideas using a suggestion box.
Change Your Site Theme: Tools such as the Simple Theme Editor allow you to change the theme of your site in just minutes. Changing color themes to match seasons and holidays is sure to engage your employees and once they catch on that each season or holiday presents a new theme they are sure to come looking at the site in anticipation.
Experiment with Social Apps: Try introducing a KUDOS app, allowing employees to recognize each other for jobs well done. A “Green Tips” or “Tip of the day” widget is also a great way to have content automatically updated on your site each day and presents exciting material for your employees to talk about and engage with.
Online Scavenger Hunt: Having trouble with intranet adoption? Have your employees visit various areas of the site and discover all the business tools your intranet has to offer by creating an online scavenger hunt, hiding images or content throughout the site and offering a prize incentive for finding it.
Showcase Your Employees: Keep employees connected with a widget that automatically updates itself with employee birthdays and anniversaries. Similarly, a Featured Employee widget allows you to display employees on the homepage celebrating milestones such as having a baby, have just gotten married or who have been promoted.
Keep it Simple: Finally, our core value here at Intranet Connections is to keep it simple. Over time, content builds up on your intranet which causes clutter and makes information hard to find. Adding archiving and auto-cleanup will help to keep relevant information at hand, without adding more work for you.
Fathom Online Marketing is a company that is comfortable with incremental intranet design changes. Fathom has quarterly themes, and uses the Simple Theme Editor to change the top banner of their website frequently to match up with these themes. One quarter their theme was “On the Right Track” and Fathom changed the top header to an image with racehorses. If the company met their quartlerly goal, they would take all employees to the racetrack. This is a great example of how your intranet design can help to strengthen your company culture.
Huntsworth Health is a global company which provides consulting and communications services to the healthcare industry. The animated header on their site uses Adobe flash and they use color coordination for all departments throughout the company. Each month they make incremental design changes by changing the intranet’s theme and colors on a monthly basis.
Bonnier Corporation, one of the leading consumer publishing groups in America, is home to over 1,000 employees and has been consistently updating their Intranet Connections business intranet for the past 8 years. Employees consistently check into the site to view company updates, frequently visiting the Brand Leadership area to check in on Bonnier’s latest media stories and publications.
While an entire site design overhaul may get your employees’ talking, if you want to keep them engaged in conversation and contributing to intranet content your best bet is to make incremental but effective design changes throughout the year.