Participatory Research: As a first step, begin to gather user input — and
develop field skills — with interviews, card sorting exercises and scenario
Use Available Metrics to Set the
Baseline: Site analytics from the current intranet tell you who uses it,
for how long and what parts are avoided.
Analyze Intranet Help Desk
Records to Identify Top Problem Areas: Doing so provides direct insight
into the main hurdles to wider adoption.
- Interview Users to Discover Needs: However, keep in mind that people often describe how they would like
to work rather than how they actually do.
Observe and Record Users to
Study Work Behaviors: It's the best way to understand both particular work
habits and uncover design flaws that remain hidden from the experts on the
Engage Users to Reveal
Organizational Habits and Priorities: For example, card sorting helps to
discover how they organize, access and manipulate information.
Create Personas to Guide Design
Decisions: Personas provide key information about users' goals, attitudes
and behaviors that is required for effective interaction design.
Deploy Ongoing Usability Testing: A spectrum of users should repeatedly test paper prototypes, wireframe
mockups and coded development interfaces in contexts that encourage them to
give utterly frank feedback.
Identify "Carrots" that Can Help
Wean Users Off of Old Methods: You can encourage change by presenting users
with clear improvements to their current work habits.
Conduct a Heuristic Test: It's
difficult for intranet team members to "forget" their knowledge of the system,
so heuristic tests are more valuable when conducted by outside evaluators.
Ph.D., is a senior analyst at Forrester Research, where he serves information
and knowledge management professionals. For more information, visit