3 ways to improve users’ intranet experience

In my last post ‘A publishing cry for help’ I asked for your help in trying to find a cheaper, easier, content management tool for our intranet publishers.  Thanks for your comments which I’m following up.  Janus Boye who writes a very good blog asked me why my criteria had the 4th bullet point of ‘automated intranet management tools can check all content for compliance’.

I thought it was easier to post than to reply so I can explain why it is.  The success of BT’s intranet has been based on users being confidence they can rely on the status of the information they use for their work.  It builds on my post ‘Do your intranet standards work?‘ which covered briefly what our intranet management tools check.

We have bought a checker tool we have called Webchecker.  It replaces existing home grown tools BT developed.  It will improve the overall user experience.  So what will it do?

Users need to know the content is current and owned so they can check for more information of clarify anything not easily understood:  Webchecker makes sure every page of content has an owner and review date that is in the future in a given format.  This means intranet information complies with BT’s information retention policy and reviewed at least once a year.

Users need to know any private or sensitive information is properly protected and needs the right permissions for anyone to be able to use it: Webchecker makes sure any ‘in confidence’ or ‘in strictest confidence’ phrases found in content is either exempted because it is guidance or protected.  This means intranet information meets BT’s security and privacy policy and properly protected with the right permissions needed to use it.

Users need to know especially especially impaired users need to know information is accessible to everyone whatever device they use including mobile phones and PDAs: Webchecker checks all content meets WCAG 2.0 AA standard so no user is discriminated against.  This means our content meets UK law with the 1995 Disability and Discrimination Act.

But how does Webchecker work I hear some of you say?

Webchecker checks each week every page of content to see if it has an owner; a review date at least 28 days in the future; web accessibility up to 2.0; no confidential content.

Webchecker automatically emails the owner of the page using records in a central database of all publishers and sites on our intranet.  It explains what the problem is; how it can be fixed; when it needs to fixed by.

If no action is taken Webchecker will escalate the outstanding issues to the owner’s line manager.  If no action is still taken the content is removed from the intranet and replaced by a page that says ‘Sorry, this content is unavailable because of (reasons why).  Please contact the page owner (contact details given) to find out more.

This normally has the right impact of unhappy users contacting the page owner who quickly makes the improvement so content can be restored.

Failure still to take action will mean Webchecker will escalate this to the owner’s 2nd line manager and eventually remove the content permanently.

The main aim is achieved that users have confidence the content can be relied upon for their work.

4 responses to “3 ways to improve users’ intranet experience

  1. Thanks for this post! I am a big fan of automatically checking standard conformance. Would you let us know where you got your tool?
    Thank you

    • Barbara,

      It is IBM’s Rational Policy Tester (was Watchfire) which IS Solutions, systems integrators, have customised to meet our needs.


  2. Pingback: Is your intranet breaking the law? « Mark Morrell

  3. Pingback: The benefit you gain from intranet standards « Mark Morrell

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