Intranet Information Architecture: What It Is And Why It Matters
We recently hosted a webinar about why good Intranets fail. Our discussion centered around Intranet information architecture and how it is absolutely essential to having an effective and successful Intranet (You can watch the video here).
Information architecture is the structuring and organizing of information and content in such a way that it is easy for your users to find. The ultimate goal is to have your Intranet be as intuitive as possible and to make sure it completely fulfills the work needs of your users. A digital discovery process is usually necessary in order to find out exactly what your users’ needs are and how you can structure your Intranet in the most effective way.
Intranet information architecture has been a hot topic among our clients recently. And we’ve begun to notice that most of the Intranet pitfalls organizations face can be avoided with a digital discovery process. Here are some common challenges that you can overcome by reevaluating your Intranet information architecture.
Generic and Ineffective
Too many Intranets are created without having a clear goal or purpose in mind. This sets the Intranet up for failure from the beginning. Your Intranet information architecture would be structured slightly differently depending on whether you are using it for storage, social purposes, etc. Not having that goal defined from the start means that instead of an invaluable digital portal, you get a generic and ineffective work tool.
Knowing the purpose of your Intranet before building it helps establish requirements for your information architecture so that it is structured properly, based on the vision of the organization and what it will be used for. It sets your Intranet up to grow along with the company, rather than remain static and generic because it doesn’t quite fit.
Poor Navigation/Hard to Find Content
Companies tend to focus too much on how an Intranet looks, and not enough on how it functions. That usually means the Intranet looks great, but doesn’t have any organization or structure. A lack of proper navigation makes content is hard to find. So while it looks great on the outside,the Intranet is messy internally and frustrating for users, not to mention a waste of time and productivity inhibitor.
This can all be avoided by spending some time with your Intranet’s information architecture. Plan out what content will be stored where, tagging and labeling so that content can be easily found. Give context to the information that makes sense to your users. Organize content in an intuitive way, so that your users don’t have to guess at where to find it.
Poor Adoption Rates
There are a number of things that can cause poor adoption rates. But the main cause, and the one we are interested in, is when an Intranet doesn’t address user needs. If your Intranet doesn’t help solve big work problems, it’s not a relevant and viable tool and users will stop engaging with it.
Information architecture allows you to organize the relationship between your Intranet and your users. A digital discovery process gives you the ability to learn and understand what your users need, and then ensure that your company Intranet addresses those needs. Solving adoption problems is all about understanding your audience.
Is it time to rebuild your Intranet with information architecture that fits your business needs? We can help with that. Contact us to find out how our digital discovery services can aid you in creating the perfect Intranet.