Intranet Design Annual 2011 report from the Nielsen Norman Group

by | Jan 20, 2011 | Intranets

Reading through the Intranet Design Annual report is always such an encouraging start to the year.  This year the report profiles AMP Limited, Bennett Jones LLP, Bouygues Telecom, Credit Suisse AG, Duke Energy, Habitat for Humanity International, Heineken International, Korea Telecom,  Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construcao and Verizon Communications. Credit Suisse and Verizon have been previous winners, and Bennett Jones won the Platinum Award in the Step Two Intranet Innovation Awards for 2010. This is such a diverse group of organisations in terms of size, sector and geographic location that there is something in this report for every intranet manager.  Each of the profiles extends to 30 or 40 pages with nearly 200 screen shots in total.  In addition there is a short but useful section on why some of the submitted entries failed to gain an award. It would be useful to have the screen shots available as a separate PowerPoint or pdf file so that purchasers can present them in team and management meetings.

According to report authors  Amy Schade, Patty Caya, and Jakob Nielsen the critical success factors are to watch people work, conduct usability evaluations, understand the technology, personalise after you create the structure, help content contributors to succeed, consider accessibility and measure ROI.  In the case of ROI there is a comment that decreased use can also be a good ROI indicator!  For example, Habitat for Humanity saw a 60% decrease in “where do I find?” questions after launching its improved design. A sure indication that users are getting the content they need more often. Interestingly the average size of the intranet teams still remains around 1 per 3000 employees.  That seems to be what it takes to have an intranet that makes a significant impact on the organisation, and that level of impact does shine through in all of the profiles in this report.

Some of the main themes of the winners this year are a focus on mobile access and on supporting knowledge management applications. Six out of the ten winners had made a substantial investment in providing access to the intranet by staff working away from the office, double the number in 2010.  It also seems that social media applications are maturing, and are now supporting knowledge management, innovation management, participation rewards and customised solutions.

This report represents excellent value for $248, as it combines the detailed descriptions of individual intranets that can provide a range of practical solutions for any intranet together with a strategic analysis by authors who have the experience to see beyond the screen shots.  It is not a quick read, and there almost needs to be a version with wide margins for marking up comments.  Sadly still no index!  May be next year? Last year I compiled a list of organisations in previous editions of the report, and this will be updated when this web site is re-launched shortly.