What a beautiful intranet looks like

Judges for the Intranet Benchmarking Forum’s ‘My Beautiful Intranet’ competition said looks aren’t everything. A look at who won, and why.

“We had quite a theological debate about what ‘beautiful’ really is,” Louise Kennedy, usability evaluator and benchmarking program manager at Digital Workplace Group, told the hosts of IBF Live, the forum’s monthly broadcast about intranets.

Rather than focus on slick graphics or big, bold pictures this year, the judges decided to look beneath the surface for well-embedded features, engaging looks, and social interactivity.

“We really did pay attention to the social bit when we were doing the judging,” said Luke Mepham, global intranet and user experience manager at Aviva.

The intranet that ended up winning this year’s competition, International Enterprise Singapore’s, doesn’t have a ton of flash. Instead, it puts content from employees front and center. A world map in the top-center displays micro-blog messages from employees all over the globe, and a prominent text box on the home page encourages employees to collaborate.

“It gave up space for pretty pictures and gave that space over to what people were saying,” Mepham said. “We thought, if we were a new starter here, we’d feel welcomed.”

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