Ten content commandments for intranet managers

Intranet content requires constant curation. It gives employees in the organization support and enhances efficiency when it’s written in the right way for the right target groups and sorted the right way in the structure. Stop taking care of the content and the intranet starts to deteriorate. Be a caring, loving curator and your intranet will thrive.

Here are ten content commandments I live by.

    1. The search engine needs one page each for every global topic (global = relevant for the whole organization, e. g. the employee performance appraisal process) to put first in the search results. Otherwise, the end user will not get the correct answer.
    2. A topic should be at one place in the navigation structure. Otherwise, the end user will not find the right answer.
    3. If we have local deviations on a topic they should also be on the same page or on a sub page, otherwise No 1. and 2. will start to brake down.
    4. The end user—not the fact owner— decides (through user tests) what is the topic’s right place in the structure. Otherwise, the end user will not find the right answer.
    5. But sometimes two (or three) different paths to the right answer is okay. (An example: is “order coffee” a part of “booking a meeting room” or “purchases”? Users often split 50/50 in how they navigate.) Otherwise, only half of the end users will find the right answer. (But never fork your content!)
    6. Always check that the topic pages the end user should start on are the top choices in the related search queries. Work with Best bets/Editor’s choices in the search engine. Otherwise, the end user might only get part of the answer.
    7. Build solutions both for global and local content. Make sure global content is visible for all and local content is visible only for the right target groups. For example, don’t mix content for ordinary employees and content intended for managers. Also distinguish between outward-facing content (from a team responsible for a topic to an internal “customer”) and back-office content (only relevant inside the team). The end user should not have to see all intranet content, only the individually relevant sections. Otherwise, the end user will be confused.
    8. Build distinct highways to content. Don’t put unnecessary content on navigation transit pages. “Minimal transit time to the answer” should be your design mantra.
    9. Build simple and clear information pages. Write content that answers the question the end user has. Make sure the page (e.g. about Annual leave) has an action part (e.g. “Apply for leave here”), preferable in the top part of the page.
    10. An intranet is not primarily a mass news broadcast platform or a digital staff paper (sometimes comms officers forget this). Only having news-centered content is not enough for the end user. The mission of an intranet should be to minimize the tool time and raise the efficiency in the organization. An intranet is first and foremost about information provision, organization control, providing service. It’s a place for getting work done. Service content is the real prime content—and You, intranet manager, are the best curator.
Innehållssida fördjupning grön
No 9. Build simple and clear information pages. Write content that answers the question the end user has. Make sure the page (e.g. about Annual leave) has an action part (e.g. “Apply for leave here”), preferable in the top part of the page. (This template is in development.)
Navigeringssida
No 8. Build distinct highways to content. Don’t put distracting content on navigation transit pages. “Minimal transit time to the answer” should be your design mantra. (This template is in development.)

 

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4 thoughts on “Ten content commandments for intranet managers

  1. This is a superb list of commandments, and it recognises the challenges users face in large and complex organisations. The approach to ‘global and local’ is also very strong!

    However, the approach you recommend requires quite a high degree of *maturity* of content management practices, which is more many many organisations are ready for.

    So I’d suggest that there are some “waypoints” for teams to reach on the journey to your solution 🙂

    Keep up the great work, James

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