5 Key Characteristics of the World’s Best Intranets

5 Key Characteristics of the World’s Best Intranets


If you’re into intranet design, you’ll know there are several prestigious intranet award accolades for which the best intranets all over the world are recognised.

Companies such as the Nielson Norman Group, the Step Two Intranet, the Digital Workplace Awards, Interact Intranet Awards and the Ragan Awards are just a few of the prestigious intranet award companies reviewing innovation in the field. We’ve looked at the winners and come up with five common characteristics that the best intranets (aka winners) seem to have in common.

Support-to-user ratio

The NNG 2016 awards found a user-support ratio of about 1 intranet worker to every 1000 employees. While this may seem high, this has been consistent in all the companies, large or small, who are being recognized for winning intranets. A dedicated support team that works and supports users is essential to building and maintaining your intranet.

Outsourcing where appropriate

All of last year’s NNG winners outsourced at least 2 projects related to their intranet design. Hiring consultants can often free up your team to concentrate on other projects and can bring in much needed expertise in areas where you and your team may lack it. Although it might sound expensive, it often works out cheaper than hiring a full time permanent employee. Outsourcing projects for last year’s winners ranged from benchmarking, branding and content migration to information architecture, interviews and needs analyses.

Commitment to continual improvements

Most winners were on number 2, 3 or even their 5th intranet redesigns. Some winners were second time winners having made small-scale to larger iterations. One of the most common problem of all intranets is that usage falls off over time. The only way to prevent this from happening is to constantly work to improve and revise your intranet according to user needs. If the business is undergoing a big change, why shouldn’t your intranet? Ensure you have KPIs in place, reviewed regularly so you can make sure you’re still on track.

Having fun with their users

Humour and lighthearted fun can go a long way to connecting with your users. The most talked about viral campaign was the Ask Yeti campaign at Magenta Living. He uploads information, writes his own blogs and even comments and likes other people’s posts. The Yeti was so popular that the intranet team introduced a real-life Yeti mascot which staff could even take on holiday and take pictures of the Yeti in their choice destination! Make it fun and your users will respond too!


Finally, innovation and customization. Of course, there are many different features of an intranet- and some will be better than others. These could include how you use social networking, your use of visuals, your blog or your homepage. Award winners were recognised for innovative, creative, unique ways to engage their users. Here are few examples of innovative homepages taken from The Digital Workplace Group.

Intranet designOddball intranet

So if you’re feeling like you’ve got an intranet worth external recognition, try submitting your ideas and then sit back to see if your hard work has paid off. Good luck!

Mayor Brain

Product Manager, Precurio

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