“We’re looking for what’s usable, but also what’s inspirational,” she said.
Schade said many of this year’s winners made significant usability changes. For example, faceted searches—which enable users to search within categories rather than in one big chunk—were big this year. Making major changes to content was another thing the top 10 shared.
None of it happened in a vacuum, however; it all had to happen within an ecosystem. A site couldn’t just have a social section, Schade said. It had to be entirely social. Using the intranet had to be genuinely enjoyable, something you didn’t see on many intranets, even a couple of years ago.
“People are really focusing now on having a good user experience on the site,” she said.
That takes more than just maintaining an intranet. Companies have to take big leaps. For instance, AT&T worked for three years on improving its search.
“Intranets are what you put into them,” Schade said. “If you see it as just something that has to be maintained, it’s never going to make a big change in the organization.”