Strong intranet design can be the difference between an energising platform and a confusing mess. It will impact adoption, engagement and ease of administration. Design will be a major contributor to the success or failure of your employee portal.
Get 8 SharePoint intranet design ideas with this free guide.
INTRANET DESIGN IDEAS
A good intranet integrates seamlessly into the organisation’s existing technology landscape with familiar colours, fonts and brand voice.
However intranet design is more than just branding and colour palettes. It is designing the way your employees will experience their intranet. How will they find things? What takes priority? How much targeting and personalisation is needed? How will it present on a mobile device?
It can be difficult to know where to start, so the Injio team have created a look book with eight SharePoint intranet design examples focusing on different employee portal goals.
INTRANET HOME PAGE DESIGN
The home page will likely receive 10 to 20 times more views than any other page on the intranet. Get it wrong and reaching your engagement goals will be almost impossible. Allocate space based on what users are looking for and - sorry - but this is not the latest town hall video or ideation page. 90% of the time, users are visiting the intranet to:
- Find something to help them do their job eg information, a template or system
- Locate and connect with someone for a specific purpose
- Complete an action like requesting leave, equipment or training
Make sure you truly understand what business users – both deskbound and otherwise – want from their intranet. Conduct surveys and focus groups. Prioritise these things in your design: place them at the top with plenty of space.
Keep it simple! There’s a difference between simple and unconsidered. Successful design should be so integrated and functional that it’s almost unnoticeable.
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
SHAREPOINT INTRANET DESIGN
SharePoint intranets have an advantage in that the SharePoint modern platform enables clean, attractive, responsive design with minimal technical knowledge.
Although the modern framework imposes limits on the elements that can be used and the style of design, for many organisations it provides the right balance of visual appeal, ease of use and template-driven consistency.
For organisations already using Microsoft 365 and SharePoint, leveraging its knowledge management capabilities to create an attractive, mobile responsive intranet is the logical choice.
COMMON INTRANET DESIGN MISTAKES
1. Mimicking your public website
External sites have very different goals to employee portals and - aside from overall branding and colours - should not significantly influence the design.
2. Allocating space on the homepage according to stakeholder seniority
As far as possible, avoid capitulating to political games and negotiations. Ideally the CEO should have the final word to deliver an intranet that will perform, not stroke egos.
3. Not prioritising search
It’s best to give the search function prominence and thoughtful filters. Employees are often more likely to search than navigate using the menu.
4. Not testing with actual users
The most beautiful intranet design in the world will be a failure if it does not help people quickly find what they need. Identify users from different areas with a range of digital abilities and observe them completing common tasks.
5. Not allowing users to customise
Customisation is a central component of successful intranet design. No two users need exactly the same things so allowing them to make their intranet more useful by saving links or following topics will significantly drive adoption.
6. Basing intranet structure on organisational hierarchy
It’s not how people think or search, it’s difficult for new starters and it’s likely to change.
7. Setting and forgetting
It can be such a process to get an approved design that no one wants to revisit the topic ever again! However new technology, branding updates and evolving design aesthetics can make a once-shiny intranet seem dated. You will probably need to re-evaluate at least once every twelve months.