Intranet user experience (UX) matters. According to Simpplr Research, poor user experience is a contributing factor to nearly a quarter of failed intranets. Yet, it’s one of the most misunderstood intranet capabilities. Based on our research, we believe user experience is an essential intranet feature. In this post, we’ll define user experience and cover various points to consider if you’re looking to improve your intranet’s user experience.
What is user experience?
The overall experience of a person using a product such as a website or computer application, especially in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use
Intranet user experience is about the quality of a user’s interaction: Did they reach their objectives efficiently? Was the interaction intuitive? Were they satisfied with the experience and workflow? Intranet user experience is not simply visual design. It’s more than layouts, color schemes, and branding.
About Intranet User Experience
Again, when it comes to intranets, user experience matters. Here are 6 considerations intranet managers should take the user experience more seriously:
You don’t get many second chances
It’s no secret that intranet managers are constantly looking for ways to drive continuous engagement. User experience impacts first impressions and users’ likelihood to return. According to emarketer.com, 88 percent of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience, and 70 percent of projects fail due to lack of user acceptance. The same challenges hold true for employee intranets.
Intranets often fail because IT professionals (generally speaking) aren’t usability experts
Since many intranets continue to be built out from scratch or through a configurable platform technology (like SharePoint or Google Sites), intranet user experience suffers more than other software. Generally speaking, IT has traditionally been strong at providing customized features and workflows but they aren’t exactly known as usability experts.
If you have to train people, you’ve already failed
This is a good rule of thumb to learn about any wall-to-wall software that is used by all employees. Training shouldn’t have to happen. Think about your chat tool, email, and messaging apps. Were you trained? Intranet usability needs to work the same way for end users. User experience thus focuses on leverage existing patterns (interactions users know from other consumer-grade software) and concentrate on simplicity.
It’s not about your preferences, it’s about your users’ preferences
Intranet administrators often make the mistake of focusing their attention building out intricate sites and pages that are three to four clicks into their content. While the organization is helpful for a clean knowledge architecture, intranet users almost universally prefer to have their information served up to them front-and-center or have information accessible through the intranet search tool.
Relevancy and segmentation are key to intranet user experience
Many intranets serve up information that simply isn’t relevant to a wide swath of users. Members of the Cincinnati office can’t make it to the Dallas happy hour. Hong Kong doesn’t worry about benefits deadlines in California. To improve the user experience, intranets need to understand personalization behind the scenes so users only see relevant information.
Features are different from the user experience
You can have the best product in the world, but if it isn’t easy to use or laid out intuitively, those features won’t get used! The best software companies actually limit and remove capabilities based usage and analytics, not continuously cram features into an application. You’ll end up having a piece of Frankenstein software. If you’re on the market for a new intranet or you’re replacing your legacy intranet, we drafted a useful intranet RFP you can use as a guide.
Analytics are (surprisingly) critical to the intranet user experience
Intranet content left unmanaged will bog down the entire system. We talk a lot on this blog about preventing intranets from becoming content dumping grounds. Analytics plays a key role because they can help cull dead content understanding what is in demand, what is not, and what is outdated. When you’re equipped with this kind of data, you’re informed to make changes that improve employees’ user experience with the intranet.
Simpplr’s User Experience in Action
Simpplr’s R&D is heavily skewed toward staffing front-end engineers who are usability experts. We constantly run usability tests across every interaction in our software. And we never stop, every release comes with more usability improvements. Usability is anchored in our brand promise and why we’re named Simpplr. Simpplr has also been recognized for having the UX design in a SaaS product. If you’d like to see Simpplr in action, you can view our 10-minute demo.