First the workplace went digital, now it’s gone mobile. This of course is great news for everyone, and especially for industries who need their employees to be out and about in even the remotest corners of the world.
What’s more, most websites now see over 50% of their traffic from smartphones or tablets. So it really is important that your intranet is mobile-friendly, and offers a fantastic user experience. If it doesn’t, people simply won’t use it.
With this is mind, we got together with some of our clients to come up with a handy list of 7 factors that determine whether you offer a good mobile intranet experience, or a bad one.
Less is more
Your mobile intranet site doesn’t need to offer all the functions and features of your desktop version. Realistically, your staff are most likely to use messaging, to access people’s details and calendars, read news and answer polls. They probably aren’t going to be bothered about more advanced features, like the ability to work on documents while on smartphone. In fact, too many features can be off putting – when it comes to intranets on smartphones, less is more. Focus on getting the most important features absolutely spot on.
As an aside, if you go for a solution such as EasyShare, you get everything you want on your mobile site at no extra cost in a fully responsive mobile environment. This helps you take advantage of in-browser editing of the entire Microsoft estate, including Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
User-Centric Design for Three Device Classes
Remember, your users come first. If your staff don’t want to use the site, your business needs won’t be met either. So, what do you do? Ask staff what they want.
And once you’ve asked them, be sure to plan for all three different platforms they may be using; desktop, tablet and mobile. They all offer different capabilities so save yourself money further down the line and factor this in during the Discovery and Planning phases.
Be aware that there is a bigger difference between the functionality and user experience of a smartphone and tablet than between a tablet and desktop. It’s wise to build this into your consultation process.
For a smartphone, the user experience is always better when the design is streamlined and focuses on the essential and highly desirable features. Wouldn’t you rather have a site that’s a doddle to use but might be missing a couple of features than one that includes everything but is a complete nightmare to navigate?
It’s also worth bearing in mind that most of us are heavily influenced by our mobile social media experiences – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. That means we have high expectations for user experience and if your mobile intranet doesn’t deliver, users will simply log off.
Mobile Enterprise Social – an Opportunity to Engage?
Whatever you do, don’t neglect the social features of your mobile intranet site. Social is a key area where employees engage. From taking time between meetings to blog and update other colleagues on projects to responding to questions in discussion forums. These are areas we know are heavily used, and absolutely must work brilliantly.
Nowadays, we’re all hungry for content. We watch videos, catch up on the news, share vines and listen to podcasts on our mobiles. So why shouldn’t we expect our intranet to provide high quality content too? Take video, it’s possible for your intranet to offer CEO speeches, news videos, presentations and training videos. Invest in video content, it means your staff can get useful content and learn even when they’re not at their desks.
As important as usability is, it shouldn’t be at the expense of security. You need to find the right balance between not creating too many barriers for your employees to access the intranet but also maintaining the integrity of your company’s data.
Recently, we discussed the implications of taking your intranet into the Cloud, read the blog here. In Office 365 anyone can visit the intranet on any device through the browser simply by entering their username and password. But if you’re looking for added security, consider allowing access via VPN (Virtual Private Network). This prioritises data security over user experience (as anyone who has ever tried to access their information through VPN on a public network can testify). A useful consideration may be to set different levels of security upon sets of data depending upon the sensitivity of the information. This way you get the best of both worlds. One thing is for sure – if you want it to be used you need to make sure your security measures don’t interfere with the user experience too much.
It seems a small thing but page download speed is crucial – another reason to keep things streamlined on mobile. We live in a world where we expect instant responses, instant news, instant information – so get rid of anything that will bloat your pages and slow things down.
So there you go, seven things to factor in when you’re making your intranet mobile-friendly, and a few tips to boot. Get it right and your employees will be spending less time on Facebook and Instagram and more time on the intranet before you know it!