As you know, I went public with the intranet site Friday, but with that being a Friday in the summer time I figured most of my real feedback would come today.
Thus far, most of the feedback has been good but there are a couple of things I want to point out to anyone else who might be planning an intranet website for the first time in their office:
1. Some of your users are going to be afraid of it. They don’t really understand what an intranet site is for, so they’re naturally skeptical about trying to learn about it. Unfortunately, if you don’t get these people on board and using the site, it’s effectiveness will be limited.
2. No matter how well-documented it is, you’ll miss something obvious. It never occurred to me, but I should have told people exactly where to find the “submit news” link. The menu options change dependent on what module you are in, people naturally don’t look back at the menu once they’ve entered the News module, assuming it is always the same, like a frame, but it isn’t.
3. It may come as second nature to us, but some people are unfamiliar with the concept of message boards, and how they differ from email. You don’t read an item and then delete it on a message board the same way you do with your email. (I probably added to this confusion by using office-wide emails as an example of where you should use the intranet site instead of what we have been doing.)
4. One of your users is probably going to come up with a way to use the site that you never even thought of. Whatever backbone you’re using to build your site, make sure it’s flexible! (It hasn’t happened yet, but I know there are a couple of pretty web-savvy folks who, once they’re familiar with the concept, will start churning out ideas.)
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