The design of your intranet has a huge impact on whether your employees will actually use it or not.
A well designed, engaging company intranet that is intuitive and user-friendly quickly captures your employees’ attention and inspires them to use it on a daily basis, turning the company intranet into a business-critical tool.
A clunky, old intranet, on the other hand, is uninspiring and difficult to use and inevitably gets ignored by your employees, despite your best efforts to get them to use it.
Therefore, if you are in the process of developing a new company intranet, good design should be at the heart of the project. Question is, what exactly does great intranet design mean?
To help you answer this question, let’s take a look at 7 intranet designs that are loved by employees. These should provide you with inspiration as you work on coming up with a great intranet design for your company.
Source: Intranet Design Annual: 2019
Like most companies, 3M had an old, clunky intranet that its employees hardly used. It was a disorganized mess of links and individual intranets for its different branches. The design was off, and navigating through the intranet was comparable to navigating through the sea without a compass – a huge challenge.
3M set out to redesign their legacy intranet and turn it into a visually appealing, modern intranet that was amazingly simple to use, and one that would provide its employees with the right set of features and tools and support their day-to-day operations.
The result was 3M Go, 3M’s current intranet that is showcased in the image above. 3M’s new intranet was so successful and effective in driving employee engagement and productivity that it earned the top position in the 2019 Nielsen Norman Group’s 10 Best Intranet List.
What We Love About 3M Go
There are several factors that make the 3M Go intranet highly effective, such as:
- 3M Go is massive in size. The intranet was built to serve 3M’s huge workforce of over 121,000 employees.
- Before 3M’s intranet was designed and implemented, extensive user research was carried out to ensure that the resulting intranet will serve the unique needs of 3M’s extensive workforce.
- 3M Go is highly personalized and customizable. Employees can access content and news on the intranet in 15 different languages. In addition, employees can customize the intranet to make it their own by setting their preferences, creating their own quick access panel that they can use to access tools they use frequently, and even pinning their favorites.
- 3M’s intranet has a very inspiring visual design. It uses the same fonts and colors as the company’s public website, thus maintaining a consistent brand feel for both the intranet and the public website. All the pages on the intranet have a consistent page layout that helps maintain a cohesive look.
- 3M Go is centered on user experience. It uses a dashboard user interface where all the sections have the same level of hierarchy. This helps present all the information to the user in a straightforward manner, without trying to focus the user’s eye on one thing, over another.
- 3M Go gives 3M employees access to all the tools, content and resources they need within a single, easily accessible hub. 3M’s intranet also comes with an awesome set of features, including a tools directory, a search bar, and a quick access panel, all of which are aimed at providing an exceptional user experience to 3M employees.
- 3M Go makes it very easy for employees to add information to their profiles. This is very useful in helping employees learn more about each other and what they do. In addition, this section has been gamified in order to encourage employees to fill out their profiles.
- 3M Go shows a weekly homepage tip card and delivers a monthly email newsletter, both of which are meant to educate employees on how to make the most use of 3M Go.
- 3M Go also has an upcoming events section on the homepage that keeps employees aware of all upcoming events. Having upcoming events visible on the homepage is a great way of encouraging employees to take part in these events.
- Always carry out thorough research before you start designing your company intranet. Proper research will allow you to build an intranet that solves the most important problems for your company.
- Don’t forget the user. You are building your company intranet to be used by your employees, and therefore, your core focus should be on delivering a great user experience for them. This means that you should involve them and collect their feedback during the design stage.
- Designing a platform with good visual appeal will go a long way in encouraging adoption.
Anthem Inc.’s Pulse
Source: Nielsen Norman Group
Anthem Inc. is a US-based health insurance provider with over 40 million members. Anthem Inc.’s intranet, aptly named Pulse, is a well thought-out platform that makes it amazingly easy for Anthem Inc. employees to find information about the company, their colleagues, and HR. It also makes it very easy for employees to collaborate with each other.
To top it off, Anthem’s Pulse offers one of the most user-friendly user interfaces. The team that built the intranet is also committed to continually improving the design of the intranet to offer an even better user experience to Anthem’s employees.
With such a commitment to great user experience, it is not surprising that Pulse also earned itself a spot in the 2019 Nielsen Norman Group’s 10 Best Intranet List
What We Love About Anthem Pulse
Some of the factors that helped Anthem Pulse earn a spot in the top ten best intranet list include:
- Pulse offers a customizable homepage where users can view personalized news and a list of the user’s aps. This makes it easy for users to access the apps they use on a daily basis and to see the information and news that is important to them.
- Pulse is designed to make it amazingly easy for users to navigate through the platform. At the top right is the user’s profile photo, an alerts icon, a site search bar, and information about the company’s share price. Immediately below these tools is a global navigation bar that allows users to access the four key menus: HR, Collaborate, Our Company, and Tools and Resources.
- Anthem’s intranet offers a very comprehensive HR section that allows users to view and manage all their HR issues from one place. From the HR section, employees can access information about announcements and webinars relating to their welfare, view their pay and benefits, view, apply for and manage their time-off, view open job listings, and so on.
- Unlike most company intranets, which do not have an identity of their own, Anthem’s Pulse has a name of its own and even a logo that is different from that of the company. This gives the intranet a force of its own and makes it easily recognizable.
- Pulse is designed with a very visually appealing color scheme, with blue and grey as the main color palettes for the pages, while a dash of orange to make key buttons and other important elements visible.
- Pulse also has a communities feature that allows employees to share information about a project or topic with other employees. Here, employees can view an overview of the project or topic, blogs about the topic or project, events related to the project, key resources, and so on. Communities can either be categorized as State Communities (for users within a specific state), Business Communities (relating to the company’s core business), and Communities of Interest (can be customized to suit any topic).
- Another great feature on Pulse is its highly robust people search, which makes it very easy for employees to search for colleagues. In the search results, users can view a person’s name, photo, job title, location, and phone number. Users also have the option of filtering the search results by job title, location, manager, education, and so on.
- Pulse also provides very detailed employee profiles, which is important in helping employees to know more about each other and collaborate together.
- We also love the fact that Pulse has a “Report” section that allows employees to make reports about any issues at work, such as security concerns, fraud, issues relating to ethics, workplace harassment, and so on. This gives employees a voice and encourages them to speak up.
- A unique and very useful feature on Anthem’s intranet is the Cafeteria menu, which allows employees to check the menu selection for every day and the cafeteria’s hours of operation. Anthem understands that well fed employees are productive employees.
- Creating a great company intranet is a continuous process. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to improve the design and user experience of your intranet.
- Give everyone a say when designing your company’s intranet, especially the people who will be using it on a daily basis – your employees. This will allow you to create an intranet that serves their specific needs and will lead to greater buy-in and adoption.
Source: Nielsen Norman Group
Founded in 2001 following the merger between Billiton and Broken Hill Proprietary Company, BHP Billiton is one of the biggest companies in the mining sector globally.
BHP Billiton has an impressive company intranet that brings everything employees need together and makes it very easy for employees to collaborate on projects. It also has a rich set of features that help BHP Billiton employees to maximize their productivity.
What We Love About BHP Billiton’s Intranet
BHP Billiton’s Intranet has several impressive features that helped it land on this list, including:
- BHP Billiton’s intranet has a well-organized homepage that allows users to access everything they need without having to leave the homepage.
- Considering that BHP employees are spread out across different time zones, the BHP intranet has a convenient clock feature that allows employees to identify the time zones of the people they are collaborating with, depending on their location. This makes it easy for colleagues across different time zones to schedule meetings at times that are convenient for all parties.
- In addition, the BHP intranet is configured in such a way that it provides company news that is translated into local languages based on the employee’s location.
- One of the main purposes of BHP’s intranet is to keep employees abreast of everything going on within the company. To this end, the BHP intranet is designed in such a way that it delivers information to employees through multiple media types – wall feeds, leadership messages, news, publications, trending, and notifications. This reduces the likelihood of employees missing important information.
- The BHP intranet has a very powerful search feature. Through this feature, employees can find just about anything – other employees, teams, locations, documents, news, and so on. There is also an advanced search option that allows users to sort and filter the search results by various parameters.
- The BHP intranet allows employees to bookmark their favorite pages. This feature makes it possible for employees to easily access the pages that they use on a regular basis. When searching for information, the BHP intranet also gives preferences to search results contained within pages that the employee has bookmarked, complete with shortcuts to these results.
- The BHP intranet has very detailed employee profiles. From an employee’s profile, you can learn about their skills and experience, their education, their position within the organization, the teams they are part of, and so on. This is very useful in getting employees to know each other better.
- We also love BHP intranet’s utility navigation bar, which brings together a lot of information into one area at the top of the page. From the utility navigation bar, users can access information about their time zone, their main office name, the performance of the company’s stock, the weather, the user’s name and photo, and other important links. The navigation bar is designed to be non-intrusive, such that users can ignore it when they don’t need it, but at the same time find it easily when they need it.
- In addition to the utility navigation bar, the BHP intranet also has a small toolbar that gives employees access to the most commonly used tools – Document Center, People Finder, My Teams, and Search. This makes it easy for employees to quickly access these four tools.
- The BHP intranet homepage displays the six top news stories for the day, allowing employees to quickly learn about any crucial company information that they need to know. Employees also have the option of customizing their feed so that they receive news that are most relevant to them.
- We also love the fact that the BHP intranet has two cards that show the CEO’s message. This feature is very useful because it ensures that employees do not miss key communication from the CEO. Employees can also click on a link below these cards to view previous messages from the CEO.
- Another impressive thing about the BHP intranet is that it brings together notifications from various back-end systems and displays them on the homepage. These include notifications from HR, technology support, business tools like SAP, and other collaboration tools. This way, employees don’t have to switch between multiple platforms to check their notifications.
- Finally, we love the fact that the BHP intranet has a social feed feature that encourages employees to share details about their projects. This gives employees an opportunity to talk about projects they are proud of, or to seek help where they’ve stalled.
- To ensure success when coming up with a new intranet, have someone to take ownership of the project and drive buy-in among employees.
- The greatest focus when developing a company intranet should be on simplifying things for employees.
Duke Energy is one of America’s largest electric power companies, with over 7 million customers and assets in both the US and Canada.
To provide a hub for its thousands of employees to communicate and collaborate, Duke Energy developed a very robust intranet, dubbed “The Portal,” which has topped the Nielsen Norman’s best intranet list two times.
In addition to making it accessible for Duke Energy’s thousands of employees to communicate and collaborate, The Portal also provides a central location for employees to keep themselves about the company’s news, goals, projects and so on.
The Portal, which is an improvement to Duke Energy’s legacy intranet of the same name, is based on Sharepoint Online.
What We Love About The Portal
- When building The Portal, the design time analyzed all the content on Duke Energy’s legacy intranet and categorized the content into 30 different types, which they call web parts. They then used these web parts to come up with a minimalistic, attractive and consistent look and user experience across all the pages that make up the new intranet.
- While The Portal is not made to be primarily accessed through mobile devices, we love the fact that the design team made it mobile responsive, which is very crucial today as more and more people start relying on mobile devices even for work-related tasks.
- The Portal has a very well thought-out visual hierarchy. It utilizes accordions on mobile devices and mega menus on desktop, which keep important links easily accessible, but at the same time well organized.
- Before launching the new intranet, Duke Energy spent some time letting employees know about the new intranet and getting them excited about its launch. This helped the new intranet achieve a high adoption rate.
- We also love the fact that The Portal has a personalized menu. Users only see links to areas of the intranet that they have access to. This keeps the homepage minimalistic while ensuring that users don’t feel alienated by clicking on certain menus, only to realize that they cannot access these areas.
- The Portal’s visual design is highly appealing, with proper use of flat elements, shading, and subtle colors, all of which contribute to an appealing look while keeping the content easily legible.
- We love the fact that The Portal provides daily weather forecasts to Duke Energy employees. Weather has an impact on energy sector operations, and therefore, keeping employees apprised of weather patterns is crucial.
- From the homepage, employees can also see information about the company’s stock to gain insights into how the company is performing. At a glance, employees can view the current share prices, the date and time, the stock movement status, as well as a line chart showing how the stock has performed for the past three months.
- We also love the Employee Connections feature on The Portal, which allows employees to view various details about each other. In addition to employee profiles, users can also view other employee’s achievements, promotions, work anniversaries, workplace recognitions, and so on. This feature helps bring together employees and enhance employee connections.
- Finally, we love that Duke Energy’s intranet has a guide that provides users with information on how to make the best use out of the site’s many web parts. This makes it easier for employees to use the platform, and at the same time helps ensure that those adding content to the site keep things consistent.
- The old can have an influence on the design of the new. When building the new intranet, referring to the legacy intranet provided the designers with tons of insights that helped ensure the efficiency and usability of the new intranet.
- Always think about the future. Even though mobile devices hadn’t taken over at the time The Portal was designed, the designers still made the site mobile-responsive in anticipation for a day when more employees would be using mobile devices instead of desktop to access the intranet.
- Don’t try to fit everything in. When it comes to intranet homepage design, less is more. One of the things that makes The Portal so efficient and usable is the fact that it utilizes a minimalistic design, while at the same time making it easy for employees to find whatever information they’re looking for.
Struggling under the weight of financial woes, and with a 1,500+ workforce spread out across multiple locations, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) needed a way to get their employees engaged, regain their identity, and come up with a unified community.
NYRA decided to do this by developing a new intranet that would bring the dispersed employees together and provide a central hub for the organization to communicate with its employees and instill its vision and purpose.
The result was an impressive intranet that they christened “Inside NYRA.” When developing Inside NYRA, the main focus was on the organization’s employees. The employees were consulted at every step of the development process, resulting in a site that employees were happy to use, and one that served their every need.
What We Love About Inside NYRA
- Inside NYRA has multiple knowledge hubs that provide employees with information about the sport of horse racing. By providing opportunities for employees to become more knowledgeable about the sport, this made them more effective in their jobs.
- NYRA’s intranet has a news section on the homepage where employees can view the latest company news, thus helping keep NYRA’s employees informed on everything going on within the company.
- Inside NYRA has a feature known as the “Daily Handle,” which provides employees with information about the outcomes of the previous day’s racetracks and the company’s takings from the tracks. This gives employees insights into the organization’s financial performance in real time and provides motivation for employees to work harder to achieve the organization’s revenue goals.
- NYRA’s intranet also has a program referred to as “Unsung Heroes,” whose purpose is to provide recognition to employees who have been outstanding or those who have gone above and beyond in doing their work. This plays a key role in helping employees feel acknowledged and appreciated, and boosts employee engagement.
- Inside NYRA has a powerful People Directory, which employees can use to search for and find other employees. Considering that NYRA employees are in different locations, and that many of them have never met in person, this is a great way to bring employees together and get them to help each other and collaborate on projects.
- We also love Inside NYRA’s “Watercooler Feature.” This is a feature that is aimed at celebrating employee milestones. Whether an employee is celebrating a work anniversary, has just received a promotion, or has completed new training, the milestone is showcased here, and other employees are encouraged to celebrate with them.
- NYRA’s intranet also has an archive area whose purpose is to keep a record of the organization’s history. On race days, employees can take photos of their workday and upload them to the archive area to show their colleagues what their typical workday looks like.
- Always involve your employees in the design process. NYRA constantly consulted its employees when designing Inside NYRA, and as a result, they ended up with a site that served all the needs of the employees, and one that employees were happy to use.
- Be innovative. Always watch out for opportunities to create features that are unique to your organization. For instance, NYRA knows that races are exciting events, and therefore, they created an area for employees to share their race day photos with their colleagues, thus helping create a sense of organizational pride and enhance connections between employees.
A few years back, the UK branch of Barclays Bank launched an innovative intranet christened MyZone. This company intranet is unlike the others we have covered in this list, and as such, it is no surprise that it won the 2013 Platinum Intranet Innovation Award.
So, what makes MyZone different from the other company intranets covered in this article? Unlike the others, MyZone was designed to be a purely mobile intranet, one that would allow on-the-go access by the staff in the bank’s retail branches.
Through MyZone, Barclays employees can view information about the bank’s products, access their pay slips, access various HR functions, communicate with colleagues, share videos, show demos of customer apps, and so on.
The introduction of MyZone was a huge success for Barclays. Following its launch, the following was experienced at the bank:
- Employee engagement rose by 22%.
- Customer complaints resulting from poor product knowledge reduced by 50%.
- Employees were able to come up with new ideas that helped the bank save over £1 million.
What We Love About Barclays MyZone
- The most outstanding feature about MyZone is the fact that it is a mobile-oriented intranet. This allows the bank’s retail employees to access the intranet from wherever they are.
- Despite being a mobile intranet, MyZone is highly secure. MyZone is secured using the same authentication process that the bank uses to secure its online banking services. Whenever a user logs into the intranet, it fast confirms whether they are still an employee of the bank before giving them access.
- The video sharing feature has been very useful in fostering product knowledge. Employees can create and share their video demos, which are a great resource for other employees.
- Don’t be afraid of bold ideas. At the time Barclays launched MyZone, mobile devices were not as mainstream as they are today. Barclays, however, was not afraid to take the risk and go with a mobile-centric intranet at a time when no one else was doing it.
- Be conscious about security. This is especially crucial if you are building an intranet that will be accessible via mobile devices.
With over 900 employees spread out across over 150 stores in three different countries, Australia’s plus-size clothing brand Taking Shape was looking for a way to centralize its employees’ communications and provide a hub where its employees could access various tools, they needed to get their work done.
Before launching their new intranet, all communication was done via email. Leadership making announcements to staff, information about sales goals, HR-related documents, stock process, information about store promotions – everything was communicated through email, and it was getting overwhelming.
To solve this problem, they developed an intranet for them, which would act as a hub for employee communication.
What We Love About Taking Shape’s Intranet
- Taking Shape’s intranet is designed to integrate with the organization’s sales management system. From the intranet, employees can view sales targets and results from each store in graphic form. Employees can also access the Retail Support Center right within the intranet.
- Before designing and developing the intranet, the design team conducted research to identify employees’ needs. The result was an intranet that met all employee needs, and one that employees took ownership in, because they were involved in the design process.
- The intranet has also been designed for integration with Active Directory and Corporate Directory, allowing new staff and new stores to gain access to the site while keeping overhead low.
- Taking Shape’s new intranet also has a good document management system that gives employees quick access to all the documents they need. This means staff no longer have to use email to share key documents.
- To effectively support employees in their work, make sure that your intranet allows integration with the external tools that they rely on for their work.
- Involving your staff in the design process will lead to a sense of ownership and lead to greater buy-in.
Intranet Design FAQ
What intranet design guidelines should you consider?
Some of the intranet design guidelines that you should keep in mind when building your company intranet include:
- Focus on delivering a great user experience.
- Keep the user interface design simple and intuitive.
- Ensure that the intranet you are building is aligned with and supports business objectives.
- Use the homepage to set the tone for the rest of the intranet.
- Make sure that the personality of your intranet matches and complements your company brand.
- Ensure that the intranet provides your employees with all the tools they need to get their work done.
- Think about how you are going to use the intranet to foster a positive company culture.
- Make your intranet accessible on the go.
- Involve the users (your employees) in the design process and be on the constant lookout for opportunities to improve the user experience.
How much does a good intranet design cost?
Before you embark on a project to build your company intranet, it is inevitable that you’ll want to know how much the project will cost you.
However, it is impossible to give a straightforward answer to this question. This is because the cost of intranet design varies on a project-by-project basis.
Some of the factors that will affect the cost of building your company intranet include:
- The size of your organization.
- The capabilities and features you want your intranet to have.
- The amount of integration you want your intranet to support.
- Are you going to use an on premise or cloud intranet solution?
- Are you going to build the intranet in-house or hire a third party to do it for you?
- Are you going to use an out-of-the-box intranet solution, or do you need a custom solution?
- Will you have an in-house IT team to manage and maintain your company intranet, or will you outsource management and maintenance to a third party?
That said, you can expect the cost of a good intranet design to range from about $15,000 to well over $250,000, depending on the size of your organization and the other factors covered above.
What are the principles for modern intranet architecture?
Intranet architecture refers to how organized the information on your intranet is, and how site users interact with this information to get tasks done. Here are the key principles for modern internet architecture that will help you create a great user experience:
- Keep your intranet navigation simple. The more complex your navigation is, the harder it is for users to find the content they are looking for.
- Organize your intranet content by use, rather than by the owner. Content that is regularly used together should be grouped together.
- Give priority to the site’s usability and findability. A good way to do this is to use clear, specific and intuitive labels.
- Make all the content within your intranet searchable.
- Finally, get real users to test the usability and findability of content on your intranet. Testing using real users will allow you to identify problems that the actual users will face when using the intranet.
Is it a good idea to use intranet design templates?
No. We do not recommend using intranet design templates. While intranet design templates simplify the process of building your company intranet, the problem is that templates are built using a one-size-fits-all approach. They are designed to be used by multiple businesses.
When building your company intranet, you want it to solve problems that are unique to your business. Since templates are not created with your business in mind, they cannot effectively solve your company’s unique problems.
Instead of using intranet design templates, we recommend building your own intranet from scratch. This way, you can align it to your unique business needs and solve your business problems in a way that a template cannot.
It is my hope that the seven intranet design examples covered in this article have given you the inspiration you need to come up with your own intranet design.
As you have probably gathered from these examples, there isn’t a single approach to coming up with great intranet design.
All you need to do to come up with a great intranet design is to get innovative, be open to creative, never tested before ideas, and most importantly, focus on providing a great experience to your users. This is the ultimate measure of successful intranet design – if it provides a great user experience, your employees will definitely use it.