When you are faced with implementing SharePoint 2010 your intranet needs the right standards to make the launch and ongoing use a great success.
How can you do this? Firstly you need to be clear why you have standards. The reasons why usually include:
- Legal: web accessibility, copyright and image rights
- Regulatory: compliance with country and international agreements
- Business: content reviewed regularly and up to date
- Users: content ownership clear, easy to use and find
Your intranet standards need to:
When using SharePoint 2010 I recommend five standards you must include. These cover the different types of content and tools that you can use with SharePoint 2010 ranging from accredited information through to collaborative discussions.
You need to be clear that all your information is managed and has an owner. Intranet managers need to be able to contact an owner if there is a problem with their content quickly and easily. People need to know who to contact if they need more information not shown or wish to check about anything that has been published. You need to reassure your senior managers that any risk has been removed of non-compliance from information not managed.
Your employees must be confident they are using the most up to date information. You need to clearly show a review date, in line with your information retention policy, for people to see. Your content must be reviewed regularly and be removed if it is no longer needed and out of date.
SharePoint 2010 permissions need to be correctly set so people only see the information they have permission to see. Get these right at an organisation-wide level to save time and effort later. Owners (site administrators) of content can decide at a site level who can have permission to create, edit, as well as view content published.
Your information must be usable and valuable to people using it. Use SharePoint 2010 webparts to create the experience research with people has shown is needed. Train your publishers on ‘tone of voice’ and ‘writing for the web’ to help achieve this. To use the full range of SharePoint 2010 features well you must make it easy for people to share views, discover other people and their skills, find the right information and use what they find with the minimum of effort and time taken.
This is not an optional extra. It is mandatory. 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 do vary from country to country. For the UK AA level is the current expert recommendation.
What you need to do is check standards are complied with. This can be achieved by using people or outside auditors to check content or better still, if you can afford it, an automated compliance checker tool.
Posted in benefit, governance, intranet, SharePoint 2010, standards, usability, web accessibility
Tagged accessibility, collaboration, governance, intranet, sharepoint 2010, standards, usability standards
I recently posted about the latest user satisfaction with BT’s intranet but forgot to mention one key area which really troubles me. Self service applications.
You will know my concerns on their usability and the problems trying to improve it. Well, the research confirmed all of these and showed me how much users are prepared to put up with because they have no choice.
But it is the huge loss of productivity because of the time taken completing tasks, asking helpdesks, colleagues or searching for online guidance or having to be trained to do these tasks which is my aim too.
I am working with my IT partners in BT and with our suppliers of self service applications like Oracle to improve the ‘out of the box’ usability.
This will take time but it is tackling the problem at the root source so should ultimately bring many benefits to BT and other customers of these applications.
Posted in application, benchmark, intranet, oracle, research, standards, usability
Tagged applications, bt intranet, intranet applications, oracle, research, usability, usability standards
Oracle is holding their first Usability Board Europe meeting on May 5th. I’ve been to a previous Oracle meeting and am keen to improve the usability of all applications BT uses.
At this meeting Oracle and founding members will:
The usability issues I will be raising are:
- Out of the box usability must be high
- Better usability does not mean more features. It means features must be more usable.
- Think of users when offering help.
- Don’t focus on making error messages better, aim to prevent users making errors.
I’m sharing some slides I plan to use at the meeting. Anyone want to add anything?
Posted in application, intranet, oracle, standards, usability, user testing
Tagged applications, intranet applications, oracle, usability, usability standards, user testing, users
I sometimes come across sites and applications on BT’s intranet which could be more usable. I find it can be easier to pick up with the owner or developer about its accessibility as a lever to improve other areas such as usability. Why you may ask?
Well there are some improvements which are a matter of opinion. What is usable to one person maybe very unusable to another. They are subjective.
But accessibility is NOT subjective. Either a site is accessible or not. Also in most countries there is a legal requirement for web services (this includes intranets) to be accessible. The level required may vary.
Accessibility standards are available to everyone on the internet. So whether a site or application is developed, published or managed inside or outside of your organisation, the information will always be there.
When a site or application’s accessibility is being updated it is a great opportunity to improve the usability and make other changes at the same time.
So ideally you can improve a site or application so it is legal and improved in other ways to give a better overall experience for all users.
Preventing accessibility problems as well as correcting existing problems is very important for your users as well as your organisation’s legal responsibilities.
I’ll post soon about what BT does on web accessibility.
I had another call with Oracle to build on their initial response to my first call and my recent meeting with Oracle about my UCM improvements wish list. This focused on the usability issues BT has with Oracle UCM version 10GR3.
They have attempted to address the issues we have raised. There are changes with 10GR4 and 11GR which Oracle claim will improve the usability of UCM. However I’m not sure whether BT can justify the resources required to use UCM ‘well enough’ to gain these benefits.
I really want UCM to have simpler, fewer, features that mean user with little or no technical skills can easily use it for publishing content. Oracle’s focus is also on improving usability but for the highly skilled technical minded people not the majority of users.
I’m not the only one with issues. Look at the SWOT analysis on UCM the University of Minnesota carried out.
So, Oracle are making improvements. Oracle have offered to pick up the outstanding issues not fixed by releases already completed with BT later in October.
So, continue to let me know of the issues you have that I can raise on your behalf by commenting, tweeting or emailing me.