Some time ago I asked if your intranet standards work. I thought it would be useful to cover what I believe are the 5 ’must have’ standards you should apply to any intranet content.
This could range from formal, authoritative, facts published using a content management system through to personal thoughts and opinions expressed in blogs or groups building up knowledge in a wiki.
I’ve listed them in no particular order of importance. They ALL need to be met to have a successful intranet.
It is vital that all your information is managed properly. Intranet managers need to be able to contact any owner if there is a problem with their content quickly and easily. Users need to know who to contact if they need more information not shown or wish to check about anything that has been published. Wikis make it easier as you can change things yourself rather than ask anyone but wikis must not be anonymous so you know who last edited the content.
No, I don’t mean $, £ or euros! Users must be confident they can rely on your information being up to date. The best way is to show a review date, normally in line with your company’s information retention policy, so users can see it. You also need to make sure content is reviewed regularly and can be removed if it goes out of date.
Users need to see all your information they have permission to see. Someone who wants to view sensitive information must show they are able to use it. This can be by single sign on access when they first login or the first time they get to information that is sensitive, need to apply for access. You need some form of audit trail ideally so you know who has gained access to what content in case you need to check later!
Your information must be usable and valuable to people using it. This means users can feedback any enquiries to the owner; it is readable and written for the web; headings and links have meaningful titles so users are not surprised by what they find. You need satisfied intranet users or you are not getting the benefit from all your investment and effort.
You need to go that extra step beyond usable content and make sure your content is accessible to everyone whether they are impaired or not. It needs to meet WCAG 2.0 guidelines. Legal requirements vary from country to country. For the UK AA level should safely be the right side of any legal challenge.
So, that’s my 5 ‘must have’ standards for all your intranet content – whatever type it is – from formal approved content to an opinion on a blog.