laptop person drinking coffee
PHOTO: rawpixel.com

Effective intranet landing pages are so much more than just a pit stop for people to rush through on their way to "real content." When done right, landing pages act as a hub of relevant content, tools and resources employees need for their daily work. 

So how can you ensure your landing page is living up to its potential? The following key strategies will help you create engaging and relevant company intranet pages.

Intranet Landing Pages: Know Your Users and Deliver What They Need

Whether it's got highlights of relevant company news, latest updates on documents, links to frequently used applications, or relevant metrics and KPIs, employees appreciate when a landing and home page design is carefully thought out. 

The Homepage

Two components everyone usually agrees should be on a company intranet homepage are news and events, and links to day-to-day applications. After that, people are pretty much at a loss of what else to put there, but that doesn’t have to the case.

The principle here is the homepage should contain the content from:

  • Company communications team.
  • Department communications (optional).
  • HR.
  • Optional user generated content.

Here are the most common candidates for what the company intranet homepage might contain:

  • Urgent Alerts (if any).
  • Company News and Events.
  • Department News (based on the department of the logged-in employee).
  • Links to day-to-day applications and tools.
  • KPIs (ideally updated automatically).
  • Links to my projects or workspaces.
  • New team member announcements.

The sketch below illustrates the concept:

homepage

Related Article: Get Your Intranet on Track With Effective Improvement Cycles

Key Landing Pages

Your key landing pages are your department pages or business areas.

The principle here is that a landing page should contain:

  • Clear title so it’s easy to find in this section of the site.
  • Links to sub-content or sub-landing areas.
  • Roll-up of the most popular content.

Let's look at the area called "Employee Essentials." As you can imagine, it would contain everything an employee might require for support.

Here are some of the common things you'd find on this landing page:

  • Links to sub-content:
    • Benefits information.
    • Payroll information.
    • Policies and processes.
    • Forms.
    • Training.
    • Employee directory.
  • Roll-up of:
    • Most frequently used [Forms].
  • Suggestion box/form.
  • Poll of the week/month.

The following sketch illustrates the point:

landing page

Related Article: Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Intranet?

Widgets and Tools: Quality Over Quantity

Avoid filling up the page with widgets just because they're available. A busy page doesn't mean it's useful. 

If your users don't find value in the features you've added to landing pages, that will lessen the value of the whole page. Only add what your users need.

Also, avoid using automatic roll-ups such as "Recently Accessed Documents" or "Popular Searches." These need to make sense in the context of what users need. The better approach would be to display "My Projects" or "My Bookmarks." By doing this, you increase the chances that this content is more relevant for that specific user than a generic roll-up.

Keep Content Fresh

Another aspect of avoiding too many features is making sure someone is maintaining the content. 

For example, homepage content is prime real estate and needs to be kept consistently up to-date. People tend to scan the content on the homepage. If something looks stale, they will start ignoring that part of the page. If the whole page looks stale for a few months, users will not even bother scanning for new content or scrolling through it.

Part of keeping content fresh is knowing who is responsible for keeping it up to date.

Take video as an example. It's interactive and visual, and who doesn't want to play a two minute video as opposed to reading a long and wordy article? Consider the maintenance of the video section:

  • Do you have resources to regularly produce new videos?
  • Do you have someone to regularly post new videos?

If no, then someone should be on point to replace the video with another piece of content after a set period of time. Only keep features that have an owner behind them to update it regularly.

Related Article: Collaboration and Communications on the Intranet

Group Content by Logical Similarity

Reading a page on your company intranet is like reading a page in a magazine. Users expect the content to flow logically, without surprises.

Again, using the homepage as an example, the content should flow from the most important, at the top left-hand corner, to the least frequently read, placed at the bottom. This F-Shape reading pattern applies to all web content including mobile content.

Another principle is grouping content by its source of authority. Corporate news, for example, is centralized and managed by communications team. Employee shout-outs are less centralized because anyone can give a shout-out, even if it's moderated. Personal bookmarks are not centralized at all since they are managed by an individual user.

It's more natural to read the page, especially a homepage, when content flows from centralized to decentralized as opposed to a mixed bag randomly positioned on a page.

Here is an example of such flow in order from highest authority level to least:

  • Corporate News.
  • Promoted Links.
  • Company KPIs.
  • Employee Poll.
  • Employee News/Blog Posts.
  • Personal Links.

For landing pages, the approach is similar with the emphasis on F-Shape reading pattern since the scope of the landing page is already narrowed down as opposed to the home page.

Here is how you might want to structure your landing page content in order of importance:

  • Banner or Title of the landing page (so users know what to find here).
  • Links to sub-content.
  • Contacts (department or site area contacts who are responsible for the content).
  • Roll-ups of frequently accessed content.
  • FAQs.

Depending on the page layout you chose some of these elements can be placed in the right-hand side-bar to be more readable. This includes roll-ups and contacts.

Targeting and Personalization

Employees often work in different locations and fill different roles. Your homepage specifically needs to account for that to be perceived as relevant.

Think about company news as an example. For employees who work in one location, a phone system outage would be a significant event. For everyone else not in that location, it's just a noise.

By targeting news and events, you increase the odds of users reading the content.

Here are some examples where personalization makes sense:

  • Project Sites: Allow users to favorite/pin project sites in project directory to speed up access to relevant sites and documents.
  • Bookmarks and Shortcuts: Allow users to build links they commonly use in their job.
  • Resources and Templates: Allow users to pin resources they use most frequently, such as most commonly accessed tech-support steps, request forms and templates.

These are just examples. The "quality over quantity" principle applies here as well. If it doesn't make sense for your organization, or your platform has limits, there’s no need to add unnecessary tweaks to personalize the site. If you work in a smaller organization, targeting news may not be necessary and will overburden your content authors.

A Landing Page Users Return To

By starting with what users need, your intranet landing pages can be relevant and impactful. Involve content stakeholders and see what's important to them. Focus on quality and not on quantity when it comes to widgets and tools. Make sure the content is regularly updated and flows logically. Finally, allow users to personalize key areas of the site where it makes sense.