My thanks to @dianarailton who tweeted an article ‘UK retailers still failing to meet web accessibility standards‘. With so many barriers in stores if you are disabled, shopping online from the comfort of your home is an attractive option. Furthermore, under the Equality Act 2010 all retailers must provide access to their goods online as well as in store.
There were several common themes why all of the web sites failed to meet the Level AA of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines. This means that disabled people would face difficulty in buying a product on each site, with half of the sites completely inhibiting people at certain points in their journey.
The Equality Act 2010 applies to intranets as well as external sites in the UK. Other countries have similar laws their intranets need to comply with.
Are you serious about engaging with people and collaboration?
How can an organisation engage with all its employees if a minority cannot use the intranet? How do employees collaborate using the tools on the intranet if some people cannot access them? First, your intranet must be accessible for this to achievable.
When I hear people talk about making their sites accessible, some still think as long as the design can be read by JAWS for people who are blind. It does! But the scope is far wider than that for a site to be truly accessible to everyone.
It is accepted that 10-20% of people have some form of disability. This includes people whose finger joints become stiff or eyesight needs glasses and the size of text to be enlarged. Most of these disabilities happen just through the normal ageing process and wear and tear on life at work and home.
For your intranet to be fully accessible these barriers that prevent employees fully engaging and collaborating must be removed.
How to make your intranet accessible?
Wearing my governance hat I believe you need to take the following steps:
- Have a governance framework that covers how content is published and who is responsible for creating and managing it.
- Have an Accessibility publishing standard that refers to the WCAG guidelines and explains how a publisher creates accessible content.
- Have publishing templates that mean content can be enlarged to allow everyone to read it. Have images with mandatory fields to describe what they show as alternative text for people unable to view the images.
- Provide training to help educate your publishers to understand why this is important and how they comply.
- Audit random samples of content to ensure it complies with the Accessibility standard.
If you put all these steps in place you will have a solid foundation for your intranet. You can encourage people to engage with your organisation and to collaborate with each other.
You can then be confident you can reassure your stakeholders this will happen.
Posted in best practice, collaboration, engagement, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, web accessibility
Tagged accessibility, collaboration, engagement, governance, publishing, standards
Implementing publishing standards that meet your organisation’s requirements helps create a consistently good experience for people accessing your intranet.
They are critical to you implementing a successful governance framework. The publishing standards will support your intranet strategy, publishing model, roles and responsibilities.
All your content owners and editors need to comply with the publishing standards. Knowing this, people will access your intranet and use it more, confident in the integrity of the content and applications and aware that you ensure publishers comply with each standard.
And that can be the weakest link in your governance framework! How do you continue to provide that consistently good user experience with new publishers?
I am talking about publishing accredited – news articles, company policies, etc. – content, not collaborative – blogs, discussion groups, etc. – in this post.
Your governance framework must cover how you manage new content owners and editors. This is the best way to sustain the baseline you have established for best practice. Without it, people will inevitably see a decline when they access your intranet. Their productivity and effectiveness risks declining and affecting their overall work performance.
There are five actions that you need to consider taking so new publishers are good publishers:
- Induction training on how to use the publishing tool. This is not just about what to use it for. It includes how to use the publishing templates. It needs to covers features like global navigation bar, content owner, review and last updated dates. By explaining why this is important it helps encourage best practice.
- Have good communications channels so new publishers can keep up to date with the latest news that affects them. Publishers should be able to ask other publishers for help and get answers. New publishers should feel they are fully informed about how they use the intranet.
- Offer clear online guidance and best practice tips on how to publish on the intranet. Reinforce this when you contact content owners and editors e.g. email, discussion group, conference call or webinar.
- Invite all new publishers to join a discussion group covering publishing topics to help develop a broader understanding. It is much easier (and cheaper) to have peer-to-peer conversations where practical tips are shared quickly with each other.
- Have one set of publishing templates that you manage. Keep publishing simple and easy to encourage best practice. One publishing process will save content owners and editors’ time. It avoids the temptation to try alternative methods or create more templates.
Find out more information on how to manage your publishing community and intranet from my new book ‘Digital success or digital disaster?‘. Read the introductory chapter to find out more. A license to share the ebook with publishers across your organisation is also available.
Posted in benefit, best practice, collaboration, communication, community, digital success or digital disaster, digital workplace, engagement, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, training
Tagged benefit, best practice, collaboration, communication, community, content, Digital success or digital disaster, digital workplace, engagement, governance, intranet, publishing, standards, training
I have written a guest post for ClearBox Consulting on the need to invest at least as much time connecting with your stakeholders as identifying business requirements for technology.
In January, I wrote that intranets are transforming into digital workplaces. As your intranet transforms into a digital workplace so the people you need to work with will expand and change. That will involve you investing time building relationships with new and existing senior managers. They will be your stakeholders who will be at the top of your governance hierarchy.
Read more about how getting that balance right will be a giant step forward to likely success.
Posted in digital workplace, engagement, governance, intranet, plan, strategy
Tagged digital workplace, engagement, governance, intranet, plan, strategy
I recently posted about the challenges organisations face as they move from having online content and tools hosted firmly on their estate to renting space in the cloud.
I believe the way forward is to have a governance framework and information architecture with the same scope to avoid gaps in content being managed or not being found. Both need to be in harmony and included in any digital strategy.
If you want to join the live breakfast talk in Gothenburg, or online seminar and final panel discussion and Q&A using G+ Hangout, it is on 20 November 8.00AM – 10AM Central European Time.
You can also read these posts about how to move to the Cloud:
- Wagon Trains to the Cloud: The most common challenges you are likely to face and how you may overcome these
- Pace-Layering the Building Blocks in the Cloud: How Office 365 and SharePoint can play a part in moving to the Cloud
- Housekeeping rules within the Habitat: How they can help join up your organisation online using their collaboration tools and features
- The Curator – how to cultivate the habitat: Engagement and how sorting and categorisation of artifacts form the curation and cultivation process
- Content Governance – life cycle and reach: Governance and how content should be managed in the Cloud
Posted in content management, digital workplace, engagement, governance, intranet, Office 365, plan, search, SharePoint, standards, strategy
Tagged digital workplace, engagement, governance, intranet, office 365, plan, search, sharepoint, strategy, usability standards
I signed up today to go to Intranet Now, the conference / unconference about intranets and the digital workplace. I am looking forward to going because it is:
- about the Intranet NOW – practical case studies, real experts, and advice;
- serious about how the intranet serves its business;
- concerned with engagement, collaboration, and communication;
- not dominated by any one technology but illuminated by examples of good practice from many;
- a place to learn from others (sharing mistakes as well as successes);
- curious and open to new ideas with room for experimental and left field ideas;
I also want to find out if the governance of intranets and the digital workplace is improving and if so, how that is being done.
It will be a great chance to meet new and existing friends face to face instead of virtually for a change.
There is an early bird discount on Intranet Now tickets until 24 July so don’t delay, get your tickets today!