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If you have a physical office, consider your reception area. The standards are a desk for the receptionist, some chairs for visitors – maybe even a coffee table stacked with magazines. But as the first point of contact with your organisation, this reception area should make a great first impression. Perhaps you’ve got some indoor plants, art on the walls, a beautiful carpet, and a friendly face behind the desk. This inviting scene isn’t just for customers; your employees should also feel welcomed into the space. And with remote working here to stay, designing your intranet homepage as a virtual reception area for employees is paramount.
Your intranet homepage is how your team is welcomed to work. So, what do you want them to see and feel?
We understand that first and foremost, the purpose of the intranet homepage is to provide quick access to the tools, information, and files that your team needs most. When you open a page and see exactly what you’re looking for in the most sensible place, that’s a sign of good intranet homepage design. You have a man named Jakob Nielsen to thank for that. Jakob’s Law refers to the way humans naturally interact with ‘web patterns and conventions’. It encourages page design that follows a similar layout across the board, one that people are familiar with. Its also a place for management to effectively communicate with everyone across the organisation.
What does this look like in practice? When you open a Word document, where is the File button? Where is the X to exit? Now open your File Explorer. Notice any similarities? Open a web browser. How do you close it again? It’s this kind of consistency across different apps and platforms, designed by different people across the world, that benefits users. Our eyes know exactly where to go to find the buttons we need. But when those rules are broken, user experience plummets. If your team is having to search for buttons that should be instantly recognisable, then you’ve got an issue.
So when you’re designing your intranet homepage, you need to ask your employees a few questions. What information do they need at a glance? It could be about who is on leave that day, impending deadlines, company announcements. How do they access the files they need, and how to do they navigate to their personal profiles? What is the most straightforward path to collaborate with other team members?
When you organise your homepage to accommodate the way your employees access information, you’ll tick major boxes. Not only will they feel welcomed, but they’ll feel comfortable and confident getting their work done.
Bad intranet design is like a flickering light and a receptionist who doesn’t say hi – off-putting and unwelcoming. Therefore, it makes sense that a poorly designed intranet can greatly impact the experience your employees have. It’s pretty simple: if they don’t like it, or they find it frustrating, they won’t want to use it.
This poor experience could be caused by
Luckily, when you’re designing your intranet homepage, addressing the basics will serve you well. Keep your navigation tools at the top of the page, easily accessible, followed by everything else in order of importance. The goal is ease of use and the ability to move intuitively around the page. If a new employee can log into the homepage and immediately understand where things are, you’ve got an excellent design.
Not only does the intranet need to provide easy access to the work, it should also address the ‘welcoming’ feeling. When done right, intranets have the power to build and nurture community and culture, vital for all workforces.
Consider including the following on your homepage.
It’s not enough for your intranet to look good and work well on desktop. Many workers access the intranet via mobile, which is why designers will recommend building a mobile layout first.
When it comes down to it, your intranet needs to help your employees do their jobs as efficiently as possible. If you don’t have the budget or time for pretty colours, graphics, and a Joke of the Day, that’s fine. If you’re following Jakob’s Law and your employees feel confident and their feedback heard, you’re doing the right thing.
Working with an IT partner who specialises in SharePoint intranet design will take the heavy lifting off your hands. Propelle has worked with organisations all over the world to help them design SharePoint intranet homepages that are effective, look good, and increase productivity.
If you’re interested in giving your intranet homepage a facelift, give us a call.