What makes an intranet an award winner?

The Nielsen Norman Group’s user experience director and the manager of one of the group’s top 10 intranets discussed the criteria in this week’s IBF Live.

Of the 10, six have fewer than 15,000 employees, Amy Schade, user experience director for Nielsen Norman, told the hosts of this month’s IBF Live broadcast.

Even though the companies were relatively small, “This year we had our highest team size in the history of the report,” she said. Including external consultants, the teams had an average of about 15 people. Smaller companies now have access to the resources to make great intranets, and they’re willing to invest in the staffing to realize them.

Those people are the most important part of the equation, Schade said. At virtually all the top 10 companies, a handful of passionate people pushed the intranet to greatness.

Paul Miller, founder and CEO of the Intranet Benchmarking Forum, the organization that produces IBF Live, observed that consistency was another big part of making an intranet outstanding.

“Trends come along, and it’s not that those things aren’t important, but make sure that your methodology can cope with it,” he said.

Schade agreed. She said Nielsen Norman isn’t all that interested in seeing whether a company is using a tool that’s getting a ton of buzz. It’s whether the people in the company are interacting productively.

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