Top ten intranets named

What lessons can be learnt from great intranets and what are the key noteworthy trends?

Jakob Nielsen, a leading expert on web usability, has announced what he considers to be the ten best designed intranets for 2011 - and European organisations feature strongly.

This year, the report notes that 60% of the winning intranets had a mobile version (an increase from 30% last year).   Winning mobile intranets focused on a few key features rather than attempting to replicate the entire site on a tiny screen.

Managing employee knowledge

Employees are the ultimate knowledge resource, and many winning intranets provided features to transform user behaviour into manageable knowledge. Winners focused on using the intranet to:

  • Share knowledge - through repositories; templates; Q&A tools
  • Manage innovation - capturing ideas and supporting the creative process
  • Enable user comment or rating or usage ratings on content
  • Encourage user participation through ‘rewards'
  • Provide for customised content collections

 Great intranets

  • Use a wide spectrum of technology solutions - there is no single way to build a great intranet
  • Rely on user research methods to reach design and architecture decisions
  • Have task-centred architectures
  • Provide ‘useful' news stories as a homepage feature
  • Have improved employee profile pages, that enable easier expertise searching
  • Offer improved search functionality
  • Maintain content consistency through a CMS
  • Provide adequate training for content/site managers
  • Have content curators who maintain currency on specific pages

The winners in alphabetical order:

  • AMP Limited, Australia (wealth management)
  • Bennett Jones LLP, Canada (law firm)
  • Bouygues Telecom, France (telecoms and internet communications services)
  • Credit Suisse AG, Switzerland, (financial services)
  • Duke Energy, US (electrical power)
  • Habitat for Humanity International, US (non-profit)
  • Heineken International, The Netherlands (brewing)
  • KT, Republic of Korea (ICT)
  • Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construção, S.A., Portugal (construction)
  • Verizon Communications, US (internet communications)

The comprehensive 433 page report is available for purchase from the Nielsen Norman Group.  

Photo: thanks to Sam Churchil, via Flickr