It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that good practice in intranet design is now well established, but in reality intranet managers move on, the objectives of the organisation change and in particular changes in technology come along, often driven by a corporate IT policy that fails to appreciate the complexities of intranet development and support.  At the same time good practice itself changes, which is why I dislike the term ‘best practice’.  Budget pressures often mean that intranet managers suddenly find themselves with the opportunity at short notice to re-develop the intranet. The question then is where to start? Remember that even the migration of a current intranet to SharePoint will be a complex project to design and manage!

For many years now the starting point for many organisations was the Intranet Roadmap published by James Robertson and his colleagues at StepTwo Designs.  A second edition of the Intranet Roadmap has now been released which again is a combination of a wall chart and a 70pp booklet. As I walk around open-plan office spaces  it is easy to see where the intranet team is located because the wall chart will be a prominent feature! 

The new edition covers project activities relating to strategy development, design, content, change and communications and technology. The wall chart lists the key activities required in each of the project streams. It also highlights which activities (such as usability testing, affinity diagramming, personas and collaborative design) can be used to support individual activities.  The supporting booklet provides an overview of every activity and technique listed on the Intranet Roadmap, as well as linking to further resources and information. A novel feature of the wall-chart and the booklet are QR codes for each of the five work streams that link to purchaser-only resource pages which provide a gateway into the 300+ articles published by Step Two Designs. In this respect the booklet acts as a portal to all the guidance that has been published by the company over the last decade.

The clarity of the writing in the booklet is outstanding. Not a word is wasted and you get a real sense of the depth of practical experience that lies behind the wall-chart and the booklet, much of it gained from the Intranet Innovation Awards. The price of the wall-chart and booklet is $120 plus post and packing.

Martin White