Best intranets of 2013: European companies claim half of the top spots

Five European companies appear in the top 10 best intranets of the year. The average size of intranet teams is increasing, and 70% of this year's winning intranets use Microsoft SharePoint - but with customisation.

The Annual Intranet Design Award contest, organised by user experience consultants Nielsen Norman Group (NNg), aims to identify the best intranets judged on design and usability criteria, from a field of hundreds of nominations.

The European winners are electrical manufacturer Hager Group from Germany, Luzerner Kantonalbank AG, one of Switzerland's largest cantonal banks, Spanish telecoms company ONO, Swiss Mobiliar Insurance & Pensions, and Irish insurance firm XL Group.

Other winners include AT&T and AIG from the US, and the Saudi Arabian Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.

Since the Award was instituted in 2001, technology firms have claimed the most top spots overall offering 22% of winners, with financial organisations coming in second place (18%).

According to NNg, a successful intranet takes years to create. This year, it took an average of 27 months to create the winning intranets, from inception to launch.  

The average size of intranet teams is also increasing, according to the report, with this year's winners boasting an average intranet team size of 27 people.  The Award also highlights the important role played by external consultants, who were brought in to work on development, planning, and project management by 8 of the 10 winning teams. 

Notable design and usability trends in 2013 include the inclusion of video channels; the use of ‘mega menus' (large drop-down panels which eliminate scrolling and use typography and icons to explain users' choices); and showcasing the organisation's feeds from Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites up front on the intranet home or news pages. This year's successful intranets also include filters designed to help users identify the right information set, and, in people search functions, offer links with a range of actionable options such as emailing or telephoning the suggested contact.  

70% of this year's winning intranets use Microsoft SharePoint in some way, but with a significant amount of customisation.

Read more about the winning intranet teams and the annual trends

Optimising the user experience, and getting the best out of SharePoint will be among the topics discussed at this year's Enterprise Search Europe conference which also features a presentation on Intranet Search Usability by Kara Pernice of Nielsen Norman Group. More details here.