Intranet sites are quite different from external public-facing sites in a number of ways:
- Intranets are usually used only by internal employees vs. public sites which are used by customers, prospective employees, and other constituents.
Intranet content and tools are tailored towards employees and other internal stakeholders. There is not as much focus on product information which is usually found on external customer-facing sites. Types of content or tools that are found on an Intranet site may include:
- Internal news and events
- Contact information
- Human Resources information
- Procedural or operational documentation
- Links to access to ERP, Sales and other customer database repositories
From an infrastructure perspective, an Intranet is configured differently from a public facing site:
- Installed behind the firewall: Access to the Intranet and Intranet applications from outside the firewall would require a VPN client with strict password change rules.
- More standardized access: Intranets need to be designed and developed to incorporate Corporate IT standards. These may require standard OS and browser versions. Firewall rules may restrict linking or access to certain internal repositories and/or external sites based on user profile. Also, corporate bandwidth usage may be throttled and monitored depending on the nature of the user’s role within the organization.
- Usually, in a single language as most organizations have corporate language standards.
Given these differences, outlined below are the top 10 considerations to consider when planning for an Intranet design/redesign:
- Understanding the user base and the key stakeholders
- Focus on the key content and tools
- Make it easy to navigate and accomplish key tasks
- Utilize and link to other information and resource centers
- Ease of access
- Think glocally (globally & locally)
- Test early and often
- Standardize the look and feel
- Deploy on an appropriate scalable, robust and maintainable technology platform
- Advertise and market it