Intranet design is becoming more lightweight

As light as a feather
Another day, another article by Steve Bynghall, but this time from this own blog Two Hives. In the article called Intranet design is becoming more lightweight Steve looks at a trend amongst intranet design to build intranets that are very "lightweight"

In the context of intranets lightweight means having less clutter and more simplicity of design and is a result of the increasing use of mobile devices and probably also requests from user, who are used to see very clean and clutter free consumer applications and expect to see something similar within their workplace.

What's interesting about Steve's article is that he doesn't just look at what lightweight design is an what it means for intranet, he looks at why intranet homepages have become so cluttered.

Actually when you think about it's obvious, over the years intranets have moved from being places where people just dump documents or post new stories to very complex sites, that perform a number of functions, from the very traditional to more cutting edge like allowing individuals to collaborate and communicate with one another. As a result the intranet homepage is expected to display more information, but it was never designed to. Steve gives the example of an activity stream, which can be very long and take up a large amount of real estate on an intranet homepage.

Steve also mentions the demands placed upon the intranet homepage by those individuals wishing to communicate news stories and that often it can be multiple stakeholders vying for real estate on the intranet homepage.

So whilst intranet homepages have become much more complex mobile devices and mobile applications have become much simpler and easier to use. As Steve says mobile devices and the applications on them are focused on the task in hand which is why most users enjoy using them so much.

We're now beginning to see mobiles influence how intranets are designed, so this might mean making the intranet simpler and easier to use and it could also mean using responsive design principles to provide an experience that is similar to that when using a mobile.

Steve then provides some example of lightweight intranet design, which are well worth taking a look at. For any intranet manager this will be an interesting article, especially if you're currently or are planning on updating your intranet homepage.