Just reading the word, intranet, causes many people to shudder uncontrollably. The mere thought of trying to wade through that archaic system, just to find benefits information, is enough to make people ill.

The good news is, the “old” intranet is gone. Dead. It’s 2016 and intranets today are designed to be user-friendly, with a collaborative purpose, and as a social portal which not only benefits you, but your company as well.

How is that possible, you ask? Here are the 3 design best-practices that can deliver an intranet that your user will actually like.

User-Centered Design (UCD)

With apologies to Albert Einstein, “The only source of knowledge is experience…user experience.” Understanding the user is key in creating a well thought out intranet. By doing user research (there are multiple types that are effective) and creating an iterative approach to the design from that feedback, the end result is something that actually fits the current culture of a company and gives the user a sense of ownership in the process.

Role Based Personalization

Once considered an option for many intranets, it’s fast becoming standard in the designs created today. By creating a role-based matrix you can determine an ideal homepage experience for each and every type of user based on their role within the organization. Once that is accomplished you can also allow users the freedom to further customize their experience. So long awful tree structure.


According to the Pew Research Center 58% of Americans have smartphones, which means more than ever before information is not being consumed on a desktop. So designing for a mobile experience only makes sense as our workforce becomes more untethered every day. Even more important it reduces excess that can sometimes accompany intranet design. By focusing on the things that are really important to the user (see user research and personalization) you increase adoption and success.

Of course, there are more than just these three design best -practices when building an intranet, but these three are key to any successful design and build. And remember it’s 2016, so stop shuddering at your intranet and build something beautiful.

Do you agree with Michael? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Michael Montecuollo is the the Director User Experience & Design team here at DOOR3 that’s responsible for the award winning Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP intranet.

Michael Montecuollo
Michael Montecuollo
Director of User Experience & Design
02.27. 2016
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