Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The new 'operational stuff' section means a new Intranet

Well, almost.

When we started the project we could see that there was an unknown quantity in the 'operational information'. This group - which we didn't have a useful label for at the time - was really a list of the things we knew we were going to have to do and things we knew would be useful but it wasn't the time (the mechanisms were unknown, the target users were guessed, the source of the info unestablished).

So we concentrated on the information we had to hand, which was administrative and internal communications - the content of the Staff Handbook (at the time a printed manual in a lever arch file, given to each member of staff - not ideal to update). Even sorting this lot of content took a long time. And the Company's internal newsletter.

Since this has been online and been refined and adjusted we've been able to look at the things we've been asked to publish and it has (mostly) all fallen into the group called 'operational stuff'. We managed (with working and re-working) to find some organisation in this group of content.

Then looking at the area we'd sort of reserved for it in the current structure, it just didn't fit. We would have been making the top level of the hierarchy too large.

We also had reports from people saying they were confused. We found a few reasons for this; they were looking for something which hadn't been published, the item's label was misleading or it was in the wrong place. In the majority of cases we found the item to be in the right place according to the philosophy of the structure but people just weren't getting it.

We'd run articles published on the home page explaining the information architechture, we'd told people where they could find things, we'd run training/presentation sessions, we made the presentation part of the Company Induction....

These things weren't working so it seemed to be time for a major change.

So that's what we've done....and I'm going to describe it in a new post cos other wise this one will be really, really long.