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Designing a Better Intranet

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Designing a Better Intranet

Enhancing User Experience with Custom Content at a Local Non-Profit

Challenge

Our client used an internal portal for communications with staff to reinforce messaging from leadership with day-to-day content. The portal gives users access to customized tools tailored to augment their workflows, travel and other day-to-day activities. Our client began an initiative to enhance the visual design and usability of this intranet portal, and expand the implementation of its customized tools to be more inclusive of its employees not stationed at HQ.

Plaster Group was tasked with developing more modern, distinct functionality to our client’s intranet, the improvement of user experience across already existing content, and cosmetic enhancements to the user interface. In addition, our client wanted to use available technology as much as possible.

Approach

Plaster Group consulted with our client’s communications team to model the ability of in house tools to develop new content and increased functionality. Anticipating a platform upgrade to SharePoint 2010, Plaster Group’s SharePoint developers helped to define what was technically possible, would add exciting and useful functionality for employees, and, moreover, be continually
supportable for the IT team.

Embedded Plaster Group consultants work with teams of users to garner feedback regarding desired content, usability, and cosmetic design, and create new features using Agile project management practices.

Solution

Plaster Group consultants work ongoing with customer stakeholders to create custom portal tools and web parts and align with other vendors’ input to provide enhanced functionality. Key contributions include:
• Replacement of third party application with custom announcement roll up functionality combining all program team & service portals data
• Enhanced user interface with color coded elements, fully re-skinned to be more cosmetically appealing
• Ability to choose content by location providing more user targeted content
• Custom built homepage video viewer for embedded video communications by leadership
• Ability to tag and filter content by category, and hide previously viewed content
• Bug fixes to custom content implemented & redeployed as needed during installation, and ongoing testing and maintenance
• Continued solutions development to address new challenges, such as Omniture statistics and web analytics

Results

Plaster Group consultants continue ongoing efforts with our client and third party vendors to maintain deployed web parts and develop improved functionality while adopting the latest communication tools into the existing technology. The design team manages multiple features in development, testing and deployment simultaneously. Utilization of Web 2.0 / Ajax web
services allows complex content without requiring multiple page loads.

Users appreciate access to more relevant technology which is simpler to use, and more elegant in design. The implementation of geolocation into existing tools allows them to slice data and present applicable, real-time information relevant to employees working at locations beyond our client’s headquarters. Brand new video embedding provides leadership with a platform to create compelling correspondence more easily.