Saturday, October 20, 2007

Commentary on Nielsen's Intranet Usability Report

Jakob Nielsen recently published his findings on intranet usability and found marked improvement since his last study.

The report is very detailed and worth reading, but as I was reviewing it a few things came to mind:

  1. I've had quite a bit of experience with corporate intranets in my career. It's ranged from intranets having very little information and being of little use to intranets with so much information they are disorganized and too difficult to find anything. No two are alike.
  2. Just because an intranet is only seen by a select group (employees in a company, for example) it doesn't mean web usability guidelines and standards don't apply. People transfer their expectations of what they find on the web and how it functions to the intranet they are using. The only difference is the information on the intranet they are consuming is meant for their eyes only.
  3. Finding information on an intranet quickly and efficiently will help increase productivity. Nielsen does an excellent job illustrating the costs (both in terms of lost and gained productivity) associated with intranet usability.
Intranets are a wonderful tool for managing and transferring information in an organization, but don't forget they are subject to the same usability standards we come to expect from the web and applications we use on a daily basis.

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