Nothing can beat learning on the job! Like I am discovering while working on an interesting re-design project. Interesting – because of two reasons – the site is a home grown system and two, there is a resistance to change from the content owners as well as the users.
- Re-use: It might sound strange, but you might find a lot of content and available internal sites which already exist if your organization has been around for many years. It could be sharepoint links or ‘developed’ sites by enthusiastic employees. I would advise you to re-use as much as possible. If you have website standards, use them rather than investing time on new templates.
- Magnify: Conversations with users will point you to links which are embedded deep within your site and need attention. Bring them up and highlight.
- Practice simplicity: The simplest sitemaps are the most usable. Now usability works at both a design and content perspective. Make content scannable and searchable.
- Evolve: Intranets evolve with time and those which are home grown evolve more organically. Take your users into confidence while the re-design takes place. Beta testing is most advisable.
- Build accountability for content: Include content owner names which link to their mailboxes so that queries get routed to the source.
- Make heroes of your employees: There is nothing which gets you more mileage on a revamped intranet than excited employees who are recognized and rewarded. The more eyeballs you get, the greater the chances of the intranet being a hit.