The curse of intranet quick links

I'm a big fan of the the work the Intranet Benchmarking Forum (IBF) does, although sadly the organisation I work for isn't large enough to become a member. Anyway the latest posting on their blog is about something very close to my heart, which is the very tricky subject of intranet quick links and the best way to do them.

 
Intranet quick links are designed to give "quick" (the clue is in the name) access to resources and applications that are used regularly. Whilst this is a great concept they suffer from a number of issues as outlined in the blog post on the IBF blog;

  • The list is too long - The worst possible thing you can do is present a list of useful and essential links to a user and for them to see that it's 4 pages long :-(
  • The links aren't quick - Quick link would indicate that when someone clicks on it they go there "quickly". If the link goes to another page where another link has to be clicked then it's not a quick link.
  • The link is ambiguous - If it isn't obvious what is going to open/display when the link is clicked on then the link is a failure. The label attached to a link should be clear and make it obvious what is going to happen (as with all other links)
  • Links are unpredictable - To cut a long story short, don't chop and change what your quick link points to, this will just confuse your users.
  • They're quick, but are they useful - If you have to add a new quick link to your intranet, check that it's actually going to be used. If it's only used once in a blue moon by less then a 1/4 of the organisation then it probably shouldn'y be in a quick link list.

Having looked at some of the problems with intranet quick links the blog post then provides some examples of and best practice in relation to intranet quick links. I'm impressed with the examples provides in the blog post and even more so with the best practice suggestions, which include the following:
 
  1. Choose links by popularity
  2. Link directly to applications and forms
  3. Let users add their own links (if your CMS allows it)
  4. Provide roll over explanations

There is more information and best practice tips in the full blog post. Also if you haven't already I highly recommend registering for the Digital Workplace 24. A 24 hour tour of amazing intranets and digital workplaces.