Tags: governance, intranet, navigation, sharepoint 2010, usability, usability standards, users
SharePoint 2010 gives you the opportunity to upgrade your technology to meet the current and future needs of its businesses. It also enables other changes to improve business effectiveness to be made at the same time. This helps to justify the cost to the business from investing in SharePoint 2010 and not just keep everything the same as before. There are many features that SharePoint 2010 offers which will help maximise the benefits.
Your business must aim to give users of your intranet a much improved experience from day 1 with continuing improvements made at regular stages afterwards as part of an ongoing intranet strategy. Here is part 1 of my tips to get your business ready to use SharePoint 2010:
- ‘Mega menu’ at the top of every intranet page with functional titles that can expand to show the most popular and/or important content as a shortcut.
- Site menu on the left hand side of every page in the site to navigation menu of the site’s contents.
- Breadcrumb trail below the mega menu on every page to help people navigate easily back to a previous page on their journey.
- Title of each page to show in the header and footer of every page.
- Homepage and any other key intranet sites to have common principles of navigation, functionality, and look and feel with the option of having distinct branding. The type of content and its position can vary for each homepage.
- Content pages to have an owner, review and last updated date shown consistently at the bottom of each page. The owner can link to their My Profile for contact details.
- Content sections will clearly show what they contain. People will be able to collapse sections within the main page or expand them to show all the links and content within them. Some sections can be forced to stay open; other sections can have the option to add more links and content if people choose.
- My Profile will provide information about an individual to help people searching for someone realise this is the right person to help them. The details can include contact details, location, manager and place in the business’ hierarchy, whereabouts and relevant information, experience and interests.
In my next post I will cover how to get your business ready for SharePoint 2010 – the publisher experience.
Tags: best practice, beta testing, intranet, navigation, usability, user testing
Many organisations are are planning to or already use mega menus on their intranet to help employees navigate to the information or tools they need to use. I have been involved in developing several mega menus based on different business needs while helping with SharePoint 2010. Some have been more successful than others at giving a great user experience……….and that’s what you are really aiming to achieve.
People need to be confident wherever they are in the intranet and with what they need to go and do next. I believe some navigation principles help you decide if a mega menu is for your intranet.
Navigation principles for mega menus
- It helps people get to what they need more quickly.
- The headings are consistently placed in the same position on every page.
- The headings are specific and clearly labelled to avoid any confusion or hesitation.
- The content under each heading is relevant to the heading’s title and links to the right page.
- The content under each heading should only be the most important and popular headings – don’t try to duplicate all your intranet.
- The size of the each section of links under each heading should be limited and be used.
- Test it with a sample of people first before launching or making any major changes every time.
My view is the mega menu must help people to get quickly and easily to the most important and popular pages they need to use on the intranet.
I have experienced both static mega menus (same headings, position nd links) and moveable menus that change as they follow you around from one part of the intranet to another. The feedback has been almost universal from people using them. Static menus work and changeable menus cause confusion and are avoided by most people.
When people are more familiar with and use the intranet more frequently maybe you can test with people want to change to moveable headings and content depending on where they are in the intranet?
Tags: digital workplace, engagement, governance, navigation, people finder, standards, usability
Thank you to everyone who read my last post ‘What is a digital workplace?‘ and contributed to a great discussion helping to define it. Staying with the digital workplace theme I want to show you the views given in my workshop at IntraTeam 2012 event ‘How to build the right governance model for the digital workplace‘ which produced some great responses.
The workshop covered four areas needed for the right level of governance: Ownership, Consistency, Standards, and Integrity. The outcome was:
Who should be responsible for developing and implementing the digital workplace strategy?
Digital workplace principles need to be put into your own organisational context. A board of representatives from across the organisation is needed to coordinate a digital workplace strategy. This board can have decision or advisory status. Alternatively you could have a central business unit responsible for strategy, processes, planning and implementation. While there was no clear decision on who led the digital board or business unit there was a consensus it was NOT to be anyone from Communications!
What should everyone expect or need when using a digital workplace?
Everyone should gain a better work/life balance from a digital workplace although managers and their team members will have different expectations. The digital workplace should have all the information and tools you need integrated, easy to access and to find. You are able to connect from any device you have.
What standards are needed for a digital workplace?
A governance framework is needed with standards forming a key part with tools to enforce them. Standards are needed for:
- Legal requirements: accessibility, personal information available
- Business needs: usability, design, navigation, findability, ownership, information retention and employee terms and conditions need to encourage the digital workplace
- Security needs: confidential information restricted, permissions model adopted
- Technical support: platform functionality, server support, agreed levels of service.
How do employees gain confidence with the digital workplace?
Anyone who plans to work remotely, especially if they are the first person in that team, wants to have the same or better experience than where they currently work. You gain confidence when the information and tools you need for work are always available to use. You feel confident that your personal information is there for you (and only you) to use still. You don’t feel any discrimination because you are working remotely from your manager, team, customers and other employees.
What is missing?
Please help me and the other intranet professionals at the workshop by commenting on the outcomes.
Tags: best practice, content, engagement, governance, intranet, killer content, Mark Morrell, navigation, publishing, research, standards, training, usability, user testing
Since 1996 I have been pioneering the best ways to increase adoption of new tools on the intranet. For the 9 years as the BT Intranet manager and since then as a consultant, I have experienced different ways organisations have encouraged adoption of technology. My top 10 ways are:
Research what people need
Ask what their biggest pain points are. What could be made easier? What is missing from the intranet? What is good and they want more of?
How important is the task to the person and to their organisation? How many people are affected by this? How frequently is it happening?
Early adopters to become ambassadors
Identify adopters who have the most urgent need to try something new to solve a business problem. Involve adopters in proposed changes as early as possible to get their buy-in. Satisfied adopters will be your best ambassadors and spread the word.
Make the first experience a good experience
You need to encourage not discourage usage to avoid unnecessary costs in extra effort. Act on early adopters’ feedback. Test with usability experts. Compare with existing best practice.
Advance communications so no nasty surprises
Manage peoples’ expectations. Clearly explain what it is you are offering and where they can get advice, training and help.
Give people a bridge from wherever they were on your intranet to get to another part more easily. Show the same headings and position on every page. Find out what are the best navigation headings that would help people most.
Personalise and target information
Give people the relevant information they need. Give people the applications they need to use. Give people confidence their personal information is secure.
Embed standards into templates
Reduce the barrier for publishing. Make it as easy as possible to do. Focus on what is important – the quality of the information – not how to use the technology. Consistently apply governance. Embed standards in the templates.
Compliance tools give users confidence
Standards need to be enforced when publishers’ behaviour falls below best practice. Compliance tools enforce important standards – business, regulatory and legal requirements – and minimise time and administration. Users’ confidence in the integrity of the information must not be compromised.
Clear responsibilities and roles
Who is responsible for managing the intranet strategy, standards, IT infrastructure? What should everyone involved – publishers, contributors – need to do? Align intranet roles with performance management and job descriptions.
Tags: benefit, best practice, beta testing, governance, help, homepage, intranet, navigation, plan, publishing, research, search, standards, usability, user testing, users, value
I have just finished reading ‘Designing intranets – Creating sites that work’, the latest book written by James Robertson. For those of you who have seen James present or read his blog posts, you will know he gives a clear view to help you – whether you agree with it or not.
James is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on intranets. He has used this experience to write this book.
Whether you are new to intranets or, like me, involved as an intranet manager for years, this book will be very useful to you.
This book will cover all you need to know to be able to create intranet sites that work. And it is the ‘sites that work’ words that make this book different to others. It is more than just a pleasing design. It is what else is needed to be researched, planned and created too that will make your time and effort better spent. Even more, you want the people using your intranet to get the best out of it. This book helps you to do just that!
I have found it helps reinforce why BT’s intranet is like it is and why the things I do are important such as:
- Finding out what ‘normal’ people need from your intranet
- How to prioritise all the things you need to do
- Tips on how to do things well – design, testing, launching, post-launch reviews
- Homepages! This chapter is worth buying this book alone.
As I write this blog post ‘Designing intranets’ is by my side. Some parts of James’ book are looking well used already as I’ve thumbed through them several times for tips to help me!
Why not treat yourself? Read James’ book and help make your life easier and your intranet better by reading James’ book.
Tags: benchmark, benefit, best practice, bt intranet, content, intranet applications, killer content, navigation, research, usability, users
When I posted about the latest results for BT ‘BT Intranet 2010 benchmark results‘ I promised to give examples the Intranet Benchmarking Forum highlighted as global best practice. The first three examples are:
- About our content: IBF said all pages across BT’s intranet contain author and date information
- How involving everyone can make your intranet more valuable to your organisation: IBF said BT’s intranet supports our values to be open and straightforward in dealings with colleagues
- How you integrate your intranet to be the preferred way of working for everyone in your organisation: IBF said BT’s intranet has a wide range of activities, heavily used and with high satisfaction levels.
The latest example covers how BT’s intranet improves efficiency saving wasted time searching for the wrong stuff or sites not being well organised enough. IBF said the BT Homepage was excellent at directing people to tasks tasks that were completed successfully.
BT Homepage groups services and content functionally under the title ‘Essentials’ so people have everything easily to link to when completing an activity. Here are some slides showing examples of what is grouped under each heading on the BT Homepage. Users liked the changes when we asked for their feedback.
Research with users shows high satisfaction with the BT Homepage and 91% were satisfied with Essentials which was great news.
People also rely on the BT A-Z. This is an index of all sites that have a BT-wide purpose and are cross-indexed if need be under more than one letter e.g. Group Finance is under G and F.
I’ll cover our A-Z in a future post.
Tags: benchmark, best practice, bt intranet, content, navigation, research, standards, users
The first two examples are about our content – IBF said all pages across BT’s intranet contain author and date information – and how involving everyone can make your intranet more valuable to your organisation - IBF said BT’s intranet supports our values to be open and straightforward in dealings with colleagues.
My next example is how you integrate your intranet to be the preferred way of working for everyone in your organisation. IBF said BT’s intranet has a wide range of activities, heavily used and with high satisfaction levels.
So, how has BT achieved this for it’s intranet? The following steps have helped BT and can help you:
- Identify content people prefer to see online. Publish it online and make people aware of this. Make sure you switch off any paper versions.
- Makes sure you have a set of standards that show how users will have a great experience. This needs to cover design, layout, features which give confidence to people in the integrity of the content like review dates.
- Measure how satisfied people are with your intranet generally and with specific areas and try to identify trends for future use.
- Align your intranet strategy and your organisation’s so you are providing what it needs to underpin it’s approach whether it is reducing costs, improving flexible working, etc.
- Make it easy to find by having a good search engine and other ways like an A-Z of sites or navigation bar.
Two comments from users show BT is succeeding. “It’s a no brainer – you can’t do your job without the intranet” and “the intranet is the key channel”.
You can too by following these steps……..
Tags: applications, best practice, bt intranet, directory, killer app, killer content, navigation, people finder
When BT’s intranet started in December 1994 one of the key demands from people was to easily find and connect with other people in BT. Along with the BT Homepage and BT today, BT Directory was one of the ‘killer application/content’ that encouraged people to want to use BT’s intranet because it gave them a tool that helped make their life easier.
Today Directory is still as critical as when it started. It is the easiest and quickest way to find out who you need to contact in BT. I have shared some examples of BT Directory for you to see.
Ease of use (slides 1 and 2)
It is very easy to find anyone in BT. You can use Directory to find people from any page on BT’s intranet using the Global Navigation Bar (GNB). You can see I have entered my name as an example of what you do, then just press ‘Go’. Their details will appear from Directory (slide 3). You can also click on the Directory heading in the GNB to enter to use all the features on Directory (slide 2).
People information (slides 3 – 5)
You can find a person’s contact details – office and mobile phone nos., email, address - their job title, manager and what part of BT they work in. Again, I’ve used myself for the example (slide 3).
You can also check their whereabouts (downloaded automatically each day from Outlook Calendar) to be able to choose when to contact them and if their office or mobile no. is better. It helps when planning calls or meetings too (slide 4).
You can also see who is in their team as well as their manager and where in the BT organisation structure a person is. I’ve used myself to show my team and where in BT – Group Communications – I fit in (slide 5).
Extra features (slides 6 – 9)
You can use a power search to find someone by just knowing their phone no., which location they may be at, part of their name or even initials (slide 6).
You can find out who else has a particular work interest, activity or title. The example shows how many people with a connection with ‘intranet’ in BT (slide 7).
Mobile users can also use a cut down version of Directory to find people’s contact details (slide 8). The results shown are the key contact details you will need (slide 9).
As social media tools continue to grow in BT, Directory will be a hub to help you find out more useful information to help them connect easily and quickly with the best people who can help you.
Tags: accessibility, bt intranet, content, governance, intranet applications, navigation, publishing, social media, standards, usability standards, users
So it is vital BT makes sure people are 100% confident they can rely on the integrity of the information and applications on BT’s intranet.
BT does this with a small central team to set standards and prevent errors happening so everyone can rely on the BT Intranet. These include:
Clauses in contracts
In BT’s procurement process there is a clause to make sure any web service bought meets the UK Disability and Discrimination Act 1995 for web accessibility. BT aims for WAI W3C AA standards. There is also a clause on the usability standards the web service needs to meet. These clauses help prevent web services being implemented that don’t meet BT’s intranet standards.
Standards for developing web services
The same applies for web services BT develops as well as buys on accessibility and usability. The developers refer to our accessibility and usability standards and apply them to the software they develop. This gives a consistent approach to any new web service for BT Intranet users.
For all types of content published BT has built as many standards as possible into the templates used. This saves time training publishers and it doesn’t dely them publishing content. Templates are AA compliant for web accessibility, usable . Templates have links to PDA format, print, A-Z, global navigation bar, name of page owner, review date, etc. Users see the same information in the same parts of the screen across BT’s intranet giving a consistently valuable experience.
Before anyone can publish format content they need to show they have completed online training covering publishing standards. This builds up a consistent level of awareness and understanding before anyone publishes. For other content types like blogs people don’t need approval or training – they just start publishing……….
All of these have combined to reduce issues to a minimum that cause a loss of productivity, business decisions taken on inaccurate information and unnecessary helpdesk queries.
Tags: bt, intranet, Mark Morrell, navigation, social media, users
In my last post ‘Searching all intranet content including social media’ I blogged about how users can search for user generated content. I will show in this post how users can tell the difference in the 4 content types I covered in my post ‘Extending publishing standards into new content areas‘.
To help our BT Intranet users we have a global navigation bar (GNB) at the top of every page of published content.
For authoritative, factual, content our users have a purple GNB to show users they can rely on this content for any business decisions they make based on it.
For collaborative and emerging thought content published on blogs, wikis and podcasts for example, we have a yellow GNB and a disclaimer saying that user generated content is content that is produced by individuals or groups of people in real-time without any ‘official’ editorial controls.
This helps users to differentiate the content types and know which is user generated content that may need further assessment before being used for their work.
It does give users access to the latest thinking across BT that wasn’t possible with just the authoritative content.
How can I help you?
- thnx @paulmillersays for inviting me to comment on the #digitalworkplace on #dw24. Good luck to wide awake club members too! 3 days ago
- I wonder how ENTER will manage their comments in 2 to 3 years time? So much content...out of date.......conflicting content. #dw24 3 days ago
- RT @Hadrig: Had to leave the #DW24 to go and talk to a business about internal collaboration and innovation. Well-armed with a few more ex… 3 days ago
Tagsaccessibility applications benchmark benefit best practice beta testing blog bt bt intranet BT today career path collaboration communication content digital workplace directory engagement governance help homepage intranet intranet applications killer content Mark Morrell measure money navigation oracle people finder plan publishing research rss search sharepoint 2010 social media standards strategy training usability usability standards users user testing value wiki