Northern territory goverNment
Intranet User Experience Design
Sitesmiths were tasked by Brainium Labs with reviewing the current Department of Tourism and Culture intranet which had recently become outdated as six government departments were merged into one. The design section of the project involved conducting content strategy workshops, considering user journeys for six different teams within the Department of Tourism and Culture, preparing new content sitemaps and wireframing the new workflows whilst working closely with the developers to understand the limitations of the front and back end systems.
Designed for its users
Intranets tend to store thousands of policies, contact details, legal documents, company assets and digital files to name a few. As technologies change and grow the way that we structure these files and search for them can change, and by keeping ahead of that technology we are able to speed up the day-to-day tasks for thousands of staff members, saving countless dollars for the agencies that use them. It's important that we take this into to consideration and make sure that the designs load quickly, even in remote areas, and don't interfere or slow down the process by being too distracting. The focus should be on the content and the getting there in the fewest steps possible.
Reworking the content
Sitesmiths conducted multiple workshops and determined that there were three major differences in the way that audiences perceived this intranet; new users saw it as a place to learn about the agency, regular users saw this as a tool to get work done and the department saw this as a way to communicate with its staff and provide updates. Balancing these three different approaches was pivotal to success of the new design.
Task based users vs browsing based users
We recommended splitting the system into two clear areas; the main one would be for tasks and tools, and the other would be for the lesser visited background content. Task based know what they're looking for and want to get through a website to a specific point as fast as possible. These users can easily become frustrated if the website journey isn't clear. For these users Sitesmiths suggested a tool based side panel, similar to those used on software and email systems with task based wording to express that these sections are for finding documents and contacts.
The communication, background informatiom and marketing messages from the agency would take a back seat and be placed along those user journeys at appropriate points, in other words it would no longer be the primary focus of the website and distract people from their daily tasks. The content was housed at the top of the website in a way that feels like a utility menu on a standard browsing website. The labelling is more generic and all aimed at preventing people from using these areas to complete tasks. This allows less confusion and less duplication of content.
In order to help keep this intranet working as it should, there needed to be an overhaul with the way that content was added. Sitesmiths documented and structured all of the current and future content requirements and provided sitemaps to clearly determine where the content should sit to avoid any confusion.
Older technologies meant that each time a document was added to the website it was added multiple times if it was to be seen in multiple places. This means that as a document is updated it needs to be updated in multiple places which may be missed and some documents become out of date. Also, by allowing the document to show in multiple places it became confusing where the source of truth was for each type of content.
To solve this problem Sitesmiths worked with Brainium Labs to propose a potential design solution where all resources would be uploaded into one central library that allows the documents to be tagged and made searchable. This allows the system to display relevant documents automatically on behalf of the user based on the current page's content. If the document needs updating it only needs updating in one area speeding up the management of assets, and preventing staff members wasting time using out of date documents.
Other time saving featured included the introduction of customisable dashboards for speeding up workflows, allowing staff members to have their most used and favourite resources displayed for intsant access on their own personalised home page.
Design, look and feel
The key to designing intranets is that no one should notice the design, they should be fully focussed on the content. The design was kept to monochrome throughout all of the key navigation and content sections, all using a flat base colour to make sure that it loads quickly.
A subtle colour coding way placed throughout the content to help guide users without interfering. All of the colour palettes were designed to be highly accessible for all users.