Tools & Technologies

Recommended Resource: Designing Intranets: Creating Sites That Work

A couple of months ago, I received an early copy of James Robertson’s 2010 book, Designing Intranets: Creating Sites That Work. As James writes on the book home page,

Almost every medium-to-large organisation has an intranet, yet many staff complain that they can’t find what they need to do their jobs. Designing a successful intranet has been a black art to date, with limited opportunities to see other intranets or to share practical approaches. This has made it hard for intranet and project teams to be confident that they are producing the best possible site.

Thankfully there is now a definitive textbook for teams starting into a design or redesign project. In 275 pages, full-colour throughout, this book provides a practical step-by-step methodology for project teams. Key techniques are outlined that work for intranets of every size, all designed to ensure that the new site meets staff needs.

It’s a good book, full of hidden gems. I have already recommended it during my workshops and discussions with clients – and even a couple of Intranet consultants too – as a toolkit for approaching the design of intranets. During my reading of the book, I marked up lots of pages with thoughts and reactions.

– It was useful to get detailed instructions on how to use the various design and research approaches for Intranets. James “shares the secrets,” and diminishes the magic quotient for the tools. That’s important.

– I really liked the pointers to other complementary books. Some I had heard of in passing, others were new to me. I like it when a book becomes a starting point on a learning journey.

After reading the book and discussing a number of points with James (in Stockholm, nonetheless!), I feel the book is strongest in the area of content-oriented intranets, and I don’t always agree with James’s points on the collaboration side of Intranets. But hey, that’s what makes this space interesting – different perspectives all round. There are a ton of screenshots in this full color book, and I found that very enlightening. And useful.

Link: Designing Intranets: Creating Sites That Work

Categories: Tools & Technologies