On day 2 of the WCMS14 conference I ran a workshop about mobile collaboration. People can help each other or can ask for help to collaborate. Having mobile access means you can do this whenever you need to and not have to wait any more. To achieve this there are four areas to focus on:
- Make it easy
- Manage it smartly
- Technology has to meet business needs
- Involve people with mobiles
1. Make it easy
The main point is to create an overall consistent experience for people whatever device they use. With more mobile devices than traditional PCs being sold now, organisations should put the need of mobile people first.
By removing the barriers, mobile users don’t need extra logins to be able to collaborate online. It should also be possible to collaborate while offline and the tool synchronise and update automatically.
Research with mobile users what they need most to help them collaborate online, what experience it needs to be and identify tools with the best adoption rates and understand why.
Manage it smartly
It is important that any governance is built to help people collaborate while mobile and not hinder this aim. By extending existing publishing standards to cover mobile use appropriately you continue with one governance framework. The same applies to roles and responsibilities for content and app owners as well as intranet managers.
The findability of content is critical. Having one search engine that covers all the information architecture helps to achieve this. The decision over whether you have one version of the content or app which is responsive to different designs or different versions for each size screen will depend on the information architecture you develop and on security needs.
How long is it before information become knowledge? Your answer to that will decide whether all your collaborative content stays online and is searchable or is archived after a period of time or inactivity or removed permanently. There are no right or wrong answers but you do have to decide what is best for your organisation.
Technology has to meet business needs
Make sure you have the right solution for the right business requirements. This means being very clear what you need before you start to research the technology that can meet your business needs. It will probably also mean you don’t choose the top solution, partly due to the costs, but also because it provides features and functions that you have no immediate or foreseeable need for.
Any technology for mobile collaboration bought or developed needs to be configurable and shown to work with existing systems and platforms.
You need to consider how many operating systems your organisation will support for the different mobile devices used for mobile collaboration. This needs to cover the issue of BYOD. A balance needs to be struck which may be something like x number of operating systems will be guaranteed to give a good mobile user experience and support y mobile devices. You can choose other mobile devices but you should not expect to be guaranteed a good mobile experience.
Involve people with mobiles
You should not assume what collaboration tools people with mobile devices need. You need to research their needs not just make something accessible from a mobile device and say the experience is good enough.
Involve people at the earliest stage of developing the user experience. As soon as the development is good enough for basic use it should be thrown open to mobile users to test out. They can feedback any problems or improvements that will help them to collaborate better to be acted upon.
A perpetual beta development status can be adopted for the mobile collaboration tools to avoid long delays in improvements, the need for major re-launches. Small, incremental, changes can be made quickly based on clear feedback and involvement from mobile users.
Lastly the testing can be a formal User Acceptance testing approach or more informal and open to anyone with a mobile device to use at any time. The process needs to be transparent and a playground/sandpit available where all development can be tested out. This may need IT to change its approach!
- Remove barriers that prevent adoption
- Have one governance framework
- Right mobile collaboration tools that meet needs
- Involve people who use mobile
Posted in best practice, beta testing, collaboration, governance, mobile, publishing, search, standards, usability, user testing
Tagged best practice, beta testing, collaboration, governance, intranet applications, search, standards, usability, user testing
I have seen many intranets over the years. One thing that always makes me sad is when I see a new intranet launched with a great design, clear structure, interesting content……but no or poor governance.
It is sad to see all the time, effort, and money slowly being wasted away as the effects of little or no governance inevitably start to take effect with more and more problems appearing as the weeks go by.
What governance problems? Where do they appear? What is their impact? Well, I’m thinking about these examples:
There is content published everywhere but no one to contact if you want to find out more or query anything that you have read. You spend lots of wasted time trying other people and ways to find out who is the right person to speak to.
No review date
You are not sure if the information is still up to date. It may be a policy, a news article, or a guide to help with a work activity. You don’t know if it is the current version and no one else seems to know either so again, you waste time trying to check if it can be relied upon.
review date is out of date
Even worse than having no review date can be finding it has been passed and the information is available but could be out of date. You waste time checking it is still reliable and wonder why it hasn’t been updated or removed. Maybe your confidence in the integrity of other content drops and you waste more time checking or use other sources?
No last updated INFO
It helps reassure people that a site is active and give them confidence the content is reliable and up to date if a last updated date is shown at the bottom of each page of content whenever it is edited.
It saves time if you have a standard feature for feedback in the same place on every page. It means people can easily ask questions, offer extra information, or clarify its use. Without it, people waste time trying to look for a feedback box, link, or heading. If there isn’t then people try to use other ways to find out what they need to know and can get dissatisfied with the intranet.
These are just some of the problems poor or no governance can cause when you launch a new intranet or site. It is possible to have a good, strong, governance in place for your intranet launch for no extra cost or time taken.
To find out how to do this the smart way please contact me.
Posted in benefit, best practice, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, usability
Tagged benefit, best practice, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, usability, usability standards
In my previous post in this series on mobile ‘Good governance signals right mobile direction’ I said mobile is one of the key drivers for the transformation of intranets into digital workplaces which could become mobile workplaces but progress is patchy. It is no surprise if I say setting the right direction for your organisation with mobile is critical. Having some good governance principles helps you to continue in the right way and underpin your strategy.
We also need to give people a great mobile experience. But what exactly does that mean? Here are my thoughts on what is needed to achieve this in my last post in this series.
Firstly, you need to make sure the people who will benefit the most are able to use a mobile device. You need to be clear who will benefit from having a mobile device. It probably will not be everyone. Even if it is, you will need to prioritise who has the greatest need. Factors like the number of people involved, time spent away from their place of work and what contribution they can make, will help decide the greatest need.
When you have the right people then you can find out what information and which services they most need, when they need to use them and how they need to use them, to be able to design and test for a good mobile experience.
Secondly, you need to choose which mobile devices are the best tool to help people with their work. For example, is it a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, or maybe a combination of more than one of these that is needed? Will you let people bring their own devices to work or will your organisation provide them? These decisions are critical and will depend on your organisation’s corporate values, type of employees, security, funding and speed of adoption. Once these decisions have been made you can then focus on how you start to create a good mobile experience.
Once you know how to support the type of devices and size of screens being used, and the main purpose people will be using their mobile device for, you can start to create a good mobile experience.
Lastly, you need to make sure you have the right infrastructure to support the needs of mobile workers in your organisation. This means access to the information and tools needs to be 24/7 and not just normal working hours. It means business continuity plans must include how people will still have mobile access to what they need for work. Your organisation needs to consider the different mobile operating systems and devices it will support; what is the cost; what should be the limit; which systems and devices will have most overall benefit?
You also need to give a fast connection when mobile workers need it for their work to the information and tools. Why would you want a mobile device if you find it takes ages to connect to any content or services you need to use?
Good mobile experience
So, what is needed for a great mobile experience? These bullet points help summarise the posts on mobile:
- A mobile strategy aligned to business needs
- Supported by a governance framework
- Helping meet the needs of people using mobile devices
- Research and test with mobile users
- Get the infrastructure in place
- Have a policy on using mobile users for business purposes
If you need any more information please contact me.
Posted in digital workplace, governance, help, intranet, mark morrell ltd, mobile, user testing, value
Tagged digital workplace, governance, intranet, intranet applications, mobile, publishing, research, usability, usability standards, user testing, users
Has your intranet got content littered all over it which isn’t very useful to people needing to use it?
By litter I mean no or little thought has been given by the owner on how people need to have this information presented so it is easy to use. Examples can include:
- Links to documents instead of content on an intranet page
- Poorly worded content that doesn’t make sense
- Poorly constructed content that is hard to follow
- Poorly presented content with the wrong balance of images, text, and video
I wonder how many intranet professionals are nodding their heads as they recognise some of these examples being on their own intranets! Yes, it is irritating and creates a poor user experience.
So, how can you make your intranet look neat and tidy? I recommend you consider these:
- Usability standard that sets out what the user experience should be
- Feedback button so people can report back on bad examples
- Document library for content that has to be shown in its original format (legal document)
- Training for publishers on tone of voice
- Training for publishers on how to ‘write for the web’
- Guidance on use of different media with best practice examples
- Audit content and encourage/persuade/force publishers to publish it following best practice
And you can always contact me if you need more help and advice.
Posted in best practice, content management, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, usability
Tagged best practice, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, usability, usability standards, users
I have reviewed many intranets and have been amazed at the variety of publishing standards and how they are enforced. These vary from no publishing standards through to everything being locked down depending on the importance of complying with standards. More importantly it is the amount of time, effort, and money that is used to enforce people to comply with the standards when they publish information.
I sometimes think organisations lose the plot and forget to look at the costs being spent for the benefit being gained.
Your intranet needs standards to make sure your organisation complies with business, user, regulatory, and legal requirements in any country it operates in. The best approach is to have ‘smart’ standards that need the minimum time, effort, and cost which achieving the maximum effectiveness and benefits. How many of these questions can you answer “yes” to?
- Do you train your publishers on what your intranet standards?
- Do you also train your publishers on why your intranet has these standards?
- Do you educate and support your publishers with guidance to understand more about your standards?
- Do you embed any of your standards in the publishing templates e.g. branding, navigation menu?
- Do publishers need to comply with your standards before their content is published e.g. images need to have alternative texts before they can be used?
- Do you review content for compliance?
- Do you remind your publishers if their content is non-compliant?
- Do you remove content if no action by your publishers to comply?
- Do you measure how compliant your intranet is?
- Have you measured it more than once?
If you answered “yes” to all these questions then award yourself a gold medal!
If you answered “no” to any of these questions perhaps you had better contact me?
Posted in benchmark, best practice, content management, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, usability
Tagged accessibility, best practice, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, training, usability, value