Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Intranet credibility

Back to series index: How to build an intranet

The inability to locate information, or uncertainty about its reliability, poses a serious risk to the credibility of an intranet as the central, trusted source of business information. This has the potential to affect user adoption rates.

A powerful and reliable search function is key to credibility and I would argue as important as a well designed information architecture. A good search will scan both webpage and document content and allow users to filter the results by file type. Searches by keywords, phrases, Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), and wildcards(*, and ?) should all be possible.
Of course, you can have the best search facility available, but if your content isn’t written in a way that is optimised for the web (SEO), users will express dissatisfaction with it, because it won’t always return the results they expect to see.

Action point – Find out whether the reporting system of your current intranet (or server log files) tell you about the search terms employees have entered in the past? Analysing the search terms entered will provide you with an important steer on the taxonomy of your new site.

Action point – Create a plan for the ongoing maintenance of intranet content. Secure buy-in at management level to dedicate resource to this task.

Action pointIdentify whether users will want the option of searching specific areas of intranet in isolation, as well as the site as a whole.

Action point – Educate employees about the value of adding meta-data to their documents and content pages. The best search on the market won’t operate fully without this – it’s a case of rubbish-in, rubbish-out. Plan in resource to educate content authors in the basics of writing for the web (SEO).

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