Not everyone is equal online

I dropped off the social media radar for four days recently. I doubt anyone noticed – everyone’s timelines and feeds are so busy I’d have to be Caitlin Moran or the Pope for anyone to miss my tweets, posts or Snaps.

The fam and I headed north for a short break on the far north west coast of mainland Scotland, Red Point to be exact. I’d never heard of it until just after New Year when HimIndoors and I watched the film What We Did On Our Holiday starring Billy Connelly and David Tennant. It was written by the Outnumbered team and follows the family north to visit David Tennant’s character’s father for his 70th birthday party. The story is hilarious and poignant in equal measure but what stole the show for me was the beach used for a lot of the shoot. Golden sand, turquoise sea, an island on the horizon and blue skies made the perfect backdrop.

A quick look on the web revealed it was Red Point Beach and the first thing Google threw up for Red Point was a log cabin for rent, practically a stone’s throw from the sand. A quick email to owner Ian Warren and it was booked for the start of the school holidays. Another email revealed there was no wifi and a search on the web showed no signal in the area from 02 or 3. Hurrah, said I – a complete break from everything to do with work, including Twitter and Facebook. We decided to let the kids find out for themselves. We knew the first day would be hell then they’d get used to it.

On the way north it all dawned on MiniMe when her reception disappeared between Perth and Inverness but the sulk didn’t last long. The cabin was cute with unspoilt views over to Raasay and Skye.

Inside was a home from home but once the car was unpacked we all piled down the beach. It was picture perfect, often deserted and we visited it at least once a day.

The next day we discovered there was a second beach just around the headland. Day three was the only complete day of rain. I went out for a walk myself – I’ve always said skin is waterproof and the rain was warm anyway. I started on the first beach, the headed cross country to the second beach. The tide was out this time and I realised that around the corner was a third beach.

 

Between the beaches, the pony trekking next door, the shops in Gairloch and the walks and the ever-changing landscape out the windows there was plenty for the kids to do and at night we watched DVDs and played copious amounts of Uno and Cluedo.

There were only two reasons we really missed the connectivity.

Conversations tend to die out when you don’t have Google or a complete set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica to hand for reference.

The other, and I may sound sad, was the recycling. We recycle a lot as a family and South Lanarkshire Council recycles more materials than most. The cabin had a black bin and a blue bin but I couldn’t assume that they were used for the same things as our black and blue bins. Then, if the blue bin was for recycling, what could I put in it. And what days were they collected. I’d have loved to have seen the vehicle coping on the single track road too. See, I’m sad.

No internet meant I couldn’t look up Highland Council’s website so in the end everything went into one black bin bag and slung in the black bin.

Bu that got me wondering how Highland Council, with so many holiday homes, is ever going to meet its recycling targets. Even locals with their slow broadband would struggle to use the things the rest of us take for granted.

But it’s not just Highland Council. My parents live in rural South Lanarkshire and struggle with the BBC iPlayer with their 3Mb broadband. If you and your neighbours live a bit away from the exchange I doubt you’d all be able to stream Netflix at the same time.

And there’s the rub. Digital exclusion is rife in Scotland, because you can’t afford to be connected, you don’t have the skills to use digital safely and effectively or you just don’t have the infrastructure to cope. DotEveryone has produced this telling digital exclusion heatmap and some of the information contained in it is worrying. 0% (and that’s not a lot!) of homes in the Highland area have 4G coverage by all providers and 37% of homes have broadband speeds of less than 10Mbps and 17% of residents have never been online. Ditto on the 4G for Dumfries and Galloway who have a quarter of homes with broadband speeds of less than 10Mbps and 20.6% of residents have never been online. Meanwhile in Glasgow only 5% of homes have broadband speeds of less than 10Mbps, only 10.3% don’t get 4G from all providers yet 16.6% pf residents have never been online.

2016-07-24

It’s not like BT and the other communications companies can’t afford to sort this out – they make profits every year after all. Rural communities shouldn’t have to sort this out for themselves – us townies got it handed to us on a plate but we just want it bigger, faster, stronger and to hell with the rest of you! But there’s still a worrying amount of people around us who have never been online

The Internet is the fourth utility. This has been discussed since 2006 – go and read Inequality.com  for yourself.

The very people who most need online services are the ones who are being excluded. Think of the remote elderly who could use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. Families in poverty could be taking advantage of the cheaper online prices. There’s a wealth of online courses available to those who maybe can’t move away to the city to go to university and those people far from a supermarket could be taking advantage of home delivery.

The telecomms companies claim they are addressing the problem but the people living in rural areas tell a different story. Access to the internet should be equal for all and basic digital skills should be just as essential as the three Rs.

I have to admit it was great to be cut off from the world for a week. I didn’t miss the ever changing political landscape and Pokemon Go was a bit of an enigma for 24 hours till I caught up – @JenniferMJones soon had me up to speed.

If you work in work in comms and particularly social media I can’t think of a better place than Red Point to get away from it all. Running a business or living there full time would be a challenge. In the words of Joni Mitchell ‘You don’t know what you’ve lost till it’s gone’.

If you fancy renting the Cabin at Red Point you can check out the website and email ian@visitredpoint.co.uk.

But Ian, please don’t install any broadband – let’s keep it off grid.

WTF is digital anyway

Last week I went to the National Digital Conference in London which had a stellar line-up including a government minister, a Lord, an award-winning digital first council, the Executive Director of the GDS and a true celebrity in Maggie Philbin.
Whilst the speakers had a lot of valuable things to say, the comments by and conversations between delegates on Twitter was where the action was happening.
Rather than try to recreate what I learned by rewriting it all I’ll group the soundbites together under headings and try to make some sense of it all for you.

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Organisational transformation

  • Innovation and disruption are key for the digital future. Risk-averse organisations take note – you will be disrupted!
  • You can’t redesign a service without redesigning the organisation that delivers it
  • It’s easy to upgrade to the latest device. It’s hard to upgrade digital skills
  • Digital transformation means business transformation, not just shoving forms on the website. We need to transform the way we deliver services and the way we work
  • Electoral registration was given as an example of good use of real-time data. However if it’s about business transformation, when will Parliament be transformed? It still took an age to have the ‘emergency’ legislation passed to extend registration
  • You can’t transform the whole organisation overnight. Start small – GDS was purposely a bolt on to the Civil Service with a clear remit to transform a handful of high volume transactions to prove it was the way forward
  • The GDS was deliberately conceived as an insurgent start-up and it’s delivered 20 brilliant public services digitally
  • If you want to attract the right employees to an organisation in the throes of a transformation programme you need to rethink your recruitment process. Change recruitment and the image of the organisation to align with the transformation programme
  • Job adverts and job descriptions need to be disrupted to bring diversity. Engineer or coder could be called problem solver to attract right people
  • The challenge isn’t getting troublemakers into your organisation. It’s making sure they still want to cause trouble after a year in the job. Create an environment to let them disrupt. Don’t make them conform
  • Providing digital services is a journey without an end point
  • Don’t write passwords on Post-it notes? Well, stop making me have 23 different passwords which need changing monthly then!
  • Automate processes and humanise jobs

Data

  • Data needs to be used with caution. What are the human stories behind the data
  • Data can be manipulated and can be difficult to analyse, especially when there is a data analysis skills gap

Digital literacy

  • There is a desperate shortage of digitally capable staff in the civil service and local government. This has been identified as a major barrier. There is also a lack of CPD for staff with digital skills
  • Digital literacy should be part of the curriculum and there should be modern apprenticeships in digital (when I checked Skills Development Scotland there are no digital apprenticeships in our area, only social care. Imagine if those carers were digitally literate and could help those they care for to use digital to enhance their lives)
  • The future is inspiring and the digital opportunities are endless – why then are IT classes in school so dull. Time to reframe?
  • According to @maggiephilbin the teachers who supported her TeenTech programme did so in their own time and bought resources with their own money. They shouldn’t have to
  • Qualifications have become a proxy for skills. It’s time to disrupt the education system and move to experience-based assessment of capability instead of rote learning and exams
  • Chicken/egg. We have a digital skills gap but right now who’s going to teach our teachers so they can teach our kids?
  • Let’s celebrate the creatively disruptive pupils in our schools. They may hold the key for our digital future
  • Coding is just a language and should appeal to people used to being around languages (research has shown that the part of the brain used for learning a new language shows more activity in girls than boys. Girls are more likely to think abstractly about language than boys. All of this means that girls are more than capable of learning coding – it just needs framed in the right way to attract them to it – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080303120346.htm)
  • I want to talk about STEAM not just STEM. The real magic happens at the intersection of STEM with the Arts
  • You don’t need to know how to code to work in digital. There’s more to Digital than coding & IT, there’s design, ux, marketing. We need to break down stereotypes and get more girls engaged
  • Social media is the easy way into digital for girls but most schools see social media as bad and a risk. This needs fixed
  • IT and digital are different worlds. Digital needs removed from computing class and embedded in every subject, along with data analysis

WTF is digital anyway?

  • IT costs are going up 60% every year. Digital does not mean IT. People are at the heart of digital – digital needs humanised
  • So it should really be Customer First rather than Digital By Default?
  • If the Executive Director of the GDS says digital isn’t about computers then it’s not. End of
  • Disabled people use digital every day to live their lives. Use them and their experience when building digital services. If it works for them it will work for everyone

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Leadership

  • Feel the fear and do it anyway
  • Creativity, bold thinking etc. should be considered ‘core skills’ not ‘soft skills’
  • If you need to pitch digital to your CEO you may have the wrong CEO – he/she is a black cab driver when all his/her customers are using Uber
  • Women need to apply for digital leader positions, and commit to applying until women fill more than half of digital roles
  • GDS are leading by example on equality – staff won’t speak at events which don’t have a balance of diverse speakers
  • You can’t impose culture on a team, all you can do is provide the right environment
  • It’s OK to think out loud about organisational culture

GDS

Wigan Council – doing digital right

  • The Wigan Council Deal – contract between citizens and the council
  • 1 in 3 citizens in Wigan use an online account to transact with the council
  • Wigan Council have co-designed with residents and partners and in doing so have connected communities

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Growing old digitally

  • Medicine can prolong life. Can digital make life worth living?
  • Watches have changed from time pieces to heart monitor, fitness monitor and more
  • For wearables at work look no further than @Rarelyimpossibl Theirs are even linked to personalised soothing @Spotify playlists
  • We no longer have a 3-stage life (education, work & retirement). Lifelong learning and digital resilience is needed to enhance the lives of those living to 100

What about the tech

  • Tech and tools aren’t about bells and whistles, they are about enabling you to do your day job effectively
  • We downgrade on the tech we use when we walk through the office door

The irony wasn’t lost on those delegates, including me, for whom the event wifi wouldn’t work!

I also think that it’s about time the annual National Digital Conference left London and went on tour – I have suggested Glasgow next year.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Culture is king (or queen)

It would be unfair to share my latest homework for Seth Godin’s Leadership Workshop on Udemy. Instead I’ll share my notes from his lecture.

The culture of the organisation you build changes everything.

Culture defeats strategy.

Culture defeats tactics.

Culture is at the heart of whether you are going to get to where you want to or not.

Too many leaders fall into a trap – they become so focused on survival, on getting the job done and moving forward that they sacrifice culture.

We get the culture we deserve.

What corners are you happy to cut? What kind of culture do you want?

Establishing the culture should drive everything that you do going forward.

Don’t do things in the way they have always been done.

Do them in the way that will get you where you want to go.

 

You need to know where you’re going

Seth Godin reckons you need to see the end before you begin the journey and this is what makes it so difficult to be a leader.

To be able to be a leader you have to be able to paint a picture of where you want to go and know where you want to end up before you even set foot out of the proverbial door. That doesn’t mean you have to know how you’ll get there but you have to claim the destination.

All of us are good at dreaming about alternative futures. The difference is that once you say it out loud you have with the fact that it might not work or even that it will more than likely fail and humans aren’t trained for this.

Seth’s homework for this lecture was to write down where we want to go and what we’re scared about if we don’t get there.

Me, I want to go to many different places, both personally, professionally and there are places I want my organisation to go. I have many different pictures I want to paint but they are created with similar brush strokes.

There are two strands to my work:

  • a massive transformation programme involving the whole organisation
  • a different way of working for my department

The journey on the transformation programme will be complex with many twists and turns and possibly some dead ends.

The final picture is simple – an online platform designed with the user in the centre that allows quick and easy transactions. The mantra is ‘do it like Amazon’. From the backend of the platform the organisation should be able to gather customer information to allow for service improvement as well as data to help us understand our customers. Overall we should create an efficient organisation as we go.

There are many people involved in this project and sometimes it feels out-of-control, drowning in data and outstanding tasks. Sometimes things are crystal-clear.

I will also share this nugget from another hero of mine, Daniel Kahneman:

“Plans for reform almost always produce many winners and some losers while achieving an overall improvement. If the affected parties have any political influence, however, potential losers will become more active and determined than potential winners; the outcome will be based in their favour and inevitably more expensive and less effective than planned. Loss aversion is a powerful conservative force that favors minimal changes from the status quo in the lives of institutions.”

What I fear about this is failure. Failing to make a tool that works for the customer and the organisation. Failing to complete on time and on budget. Failing, failing, failing.

The department picture is a comms department that uses customer insight to create targeted campaigns that will change behaviour and lives for the better. Campaigns based on evidence that can be evaluated to show our worth as a team.

I have no fear for this picture because I am confident about the journey and the people who’ll be taking this road trip with. It feels more like I can follow the route in my head and recognise landmarks along the way.

This journey has fewer unknowns and I’m on the trip with people wo also know where they are going and can maybe take a share of the driving.

Its not too late to join me on Seth Godin’s Leadership Workshop on Udemy. You should come along for the ride.

 

 

 

Follow the leader

I’ve started another course – Seth Godin’s Leadership Workshop on Udemy.

I’ve been a fan of Seth’s for years now. I have devoured his books, subscribed to his newsletter and been disappointed that I couldn’t jet to New York for his regular workshops. Needless to say I jumped at the chance of this online course.

Even the first three minute lecture had some gems:

  • Leadership is not management
  • Management is getting people to do what they did yesterday cheaper and faster today
  • Management is the practice of compliance
  • Leadership is about change and enrolling others to help make it happen
My first exercise is to reflect on a few things and share it somewhere that others doing the course will be able to see.
So here goes.
Outline a moment when someone you respect engaged in leadership
I wish I had been there to witness this as it happened but I was on a flight heading out on my honeymoon. I heard all about it on my return.
In the early hours of the Sunday morning after my wedding, while we were still partying, Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris. I was in Turkey for two weeks and missed the funeral and the mass outpouring of grief.
I worked as a journalist on Scotland’s biggest selling Sunday newspaper (at the time) and when went back to work I was full of curiosity as to how Diana’s death had been dealt with by the paper and its sister magazine. The then editor of the magazine was my line manager and a huge Diana fan. She had been in that post since the magazine’s inception and often had run-ins with the male dominated staff of the newspaper. She approached the paper to help with the extensive coverage she expected they would be doing only to discover that the editor of the paper wasn’t considering doing anything other than a straight news piece. Lengthy arguments then ensued with the editor of the paper claiming that  no one was that interested in Diana now she wasn’t strictly royalty and my boss claiming that he was completely missing the public sentiment and that the paper’s readers would be disappointed. She reckoned they’d go out and buy The Sunday Mail instead. When he still wasn’t for backing down she threatened to resign but was talked out of that by her staff. Instead she devoted the magazine to Diana with the full backing of my colleagues produced a special edition which won the praise of our readers and proved to the editor that we understood his readers better than he did.
Describe a time when you chose to lead
I suppose I have been a leader when it comes to using social media in an emergency but this has happened outwith the organisation I now work for and has been more at a national level.
My masters dissertation was on this subject and as a result I was asked to join a Scottish Government advisory group and I have spoken at many events and delivered training on the subject. I enjoy training sessions when you see people have that eureka moment and you know you’ve won over a few more hearts and minds to the cause.
However internally this tends to be overlooked and I have observed that in hierarchical organisations like mine it often takes a consultant to persuade management about something their own staff have been saying for a while.
Do you agree leadership is a choice?
Yes. You can’t force someone to lead. Well, you can try but they’ll make a terrible job of it, certainly at the start. However, I have often seen people lead without realising it. I think that if you have the beginnings of a plan you need to test it to see if there will be any buy-in before you dive in head first. At those early stages a person can be leading without any consciousness that what they are doing is gaining momentum. Maybe the person has been the lynchpin in a project or a team and then transitions subconsciously into a leadership role once they’ve found their own groove. I think that’s what happened to me with social media – I was in the right place and the right time, reading the right stuff and networking with the right people.
What is the change you are trying to make
I want the organisation to put the customer at the centre of everything it does. We are in the middle of a massive transformation programme and I worry that, rather than customer centric service design, we are building services to suit the organisation. My team is fully on board with UX but in a big, hierarchical organisation it can be difficult to make your ideas heard when you are a small cog in a big wheel.
This first exercise in the course has been a difficult exercise for three reasons:
  • landing anyone in it for describing them as a leader
  • landing myself in it for not describing someone else as a leader
  • not sounding like I’m blowing my own trumpet for describing anything I have done as leadership
This last point needs to be addressed, particularly for Scottish women. We need to stand up and be seen and heard as the leaders we are so that we can encourage the younger women coming up behind us that they have as much right to to lead and take credit for leading as the men in suits who often have louder voices but not much to say.
*stands down from soapbox

Intranets are hard work

When Wedge asked me to do a lightning talk at Intranet Now about user experience testing on a budget I jumped at the chance.

We’d just inherited our intranet from IT and an upgrade to the platform, a new task-based approach and a new design all made the task a bit daunting. I could soak up as much learning as I could then apply it back at base.

Luckily I was on pretty early in the programme so I could concentrate after I’d done my talk and scribble copious notes which I will now share. There were common threads:

  • intranets available to all staff on all devices, at work, at home and on the move
  • intranets as digital workplaces
  • the importance of UX

James Robertson of Step Two Designs (Australia) – How to make the most of the emerging digital workplace

Technology should allow your intranet to be delivered to staff not on the network.

Business solutions should integrate with the intranet to create an efficient workforce.

The intranet is not a thing – it’s a family/collection of interconnected digital tools.

Design should add value and should be task driven.

Intranet teams should be experts on :

  • change management and adoption
  • how the business ticks and what the pain points are
  • usability, UX and web design

Paul Zimmerman of InvotraIntranet of Things – innovation in the workplace

Just like the Internet of Things collects data for improvement and innovation, so should the intranet collect data to optimise workplace processes.

The Intranet should be a connector of people, content and things. Rooms, desks, fire extinguishers, printers – all are trackable and provide info on their status. Could the intranet be used as part of their management process?

We live in an attention economy where internal comms needs to compete for employee attention.

Kevin Cody of SmallWorlders – Bridging the intranet adoption chasm

There are the three levels of engagement:

  • laggards – need a reason to log on
  • majority – need a reason to return i.e. the tools to help them work efficiently
  • early adopters – need a reason to lead e.g. social features, self-service, collaboration, user blogs

Create credible KPIs to measure engagement.

Intranets need to provide the basics for maximum engagement.

For more information and loads of great whitepapers see www.smallworlders.com/blog

Kristian Norling of Intranätverk – Tips for intranet search

Search is not a project – it’s a lifelong commitment. That’s why it’s called WORK.

You should delete as often as you contribute. Have Delete and Donut Fridays. (I quite fancy Corrs and Cake Tuesdays.)

Watch out for information ROT – Redundant, Outdated and Trivial.

Dates are the most important part of metadata. Based on the date you should delete, archive or keep.

Susan Quain of Care UK – Bringing your organisation with you

As the project changes around you keep the scope clear and continuously revise the comms plan. Tell them what you are going to do. Tell them you are doing it. Tell them you have done it.

Make sure you have some quick wins to gain employee confidence.

Don’t call it a project – call it an initiative.

Lisa's notes

These are @lisariemers rather nifty notes from my presentation

So the rest of my notes didn’t make much sense but here are the soundbites:

  • staff have the right to see organisational news first on the intranet before it hits the papers
  • compliance with business processes is directly related to how far away the employee is to HQ
  • profiles + tagging = tailored content + learning
  • can your intranet be trusted – people only trust things that work so do the basics well
  • is your staff directory up-to-date? Every now and again force staff to update their details before they can use the search
  • the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory – normal person + anonymity + audience = idiot
  • tone does not travel well online. Keep an eye on debates and step in if needed but as a mediator understand all perspectives
  • just making your intranet look good doesn’t mean people will use it
  • turn off the magazine and newsletter and give your intranet a chance. Switch off the offline and the old way of doing things
  • replicate the way people interact with technology outside of work
  • is it time to drop the term intranet? What we really mean is a digital workplace – a digital space that enables employees to work more effectively and efficiently

And there you have it. A full-on day of intranet learning. A huge thanks go to Wedge and Brian for organising such a great event and for recognising that it is needed. Also a massive cheer to the great speakers who passed on their wisdom and to the audience for their feedback and support.

The full line-up and slides are on the Intranet Now website.

Are you sure your intranet is doing its job?

Other people get excited about going to a Take That concert or meeting a celebrity chef. Me, I prefer web superstars, so when I heard Gerry McGovern was running a How to Simplify your Intranet workshop in London, the fangirl in me went into overdrive.

I have read his books, joined his webinars and applied his top task theory to our organisation’s website but the intranet was a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

Following a service review, our team has just inherited the intranet from another department. So the timing of Gerry’s workshop was perfect for us – new team, new version of the content management system (CMS), new version of the intranet.

To kick off the workshop we went round the room and three main themes emerged:

  • how to make a self-service intranet
  • the competing needs of users, content creators and HR
  • how to stop the intranet being the place where PDFs go to die

One delegate summed up his desire eloquently: 

“I want the intranet to delight employees. They shouldn’t just tolerate it and it definitely shouldn’t disappoint.”

Gerry then asked us what one thing each of us would change tomorrow if we could and this again produced themes:

  • introduce a top task approach
  • make the intranet a place to collaborate
  • make things easier to find
  • make it accessible outside the network to allow remote working
  • tighten up the governance

Then Gerry got down to business and believe me, his passion takes no prisoners.

“Your intranet should be the antidote to a bad week,” was one of his first comments. “It should be there to make your job easier. It’s not just there for adjusting flexi or booking holidays – it should help you with your day-to-day tasks and free up your time.”

And we were off.

Most of this is soundbites from my notes but I’ll try my best to make it flow.

Why base your intranet on top tasks?

The first step to a great intranet is identifying the organisation’s top tasks, the important, most used ones. It also helps to know what the tiny tasks are too because this is where the ego of the organisation lies – the stuff managers want on but which don’t add value or simply aren’t used.

Tiny tasks go to bed at night and dream of being top tasks but they generally never do grow to be top tasks.

The metrics you use on your intranet will tell you some of this stuff but cold hard stats don’t give you context. Don’t rely on Google Analytics alone – you need to look at actual human behaviour.

Before you start on the quest to find your top tasks, identify the influencers in senior management and get their buy-in. You need their protection because you are the enemy of the tiny tasks and therefore the enemy of the egos of those who don’t get what you’re trying to do.

In the short-term, ditching tiny tasks will not win you friends.

Gerry described how the CEO of Aer Lingus booked flights on competitors’ websites during senior management meetings to show how it should be done – this is the kind of buy-in you need.

Stop creating content

Humans like to create things but hate to finish and maintain. They also hate to delete. This is why we have bloated websites and intranets.

Stop building and start managing – iterate, iterate, iterate.

People are rewarded for creating but tell someone you deleted 50 documents and they raise their hands in horror – this needs to change. Deleting the stuff getting in the way of doing the top tasks is one of the most productive things you will ever do.

If deleting is too scary, archive instead but you need a document retention plan.

Archive nothing you will kill your intranet. Archive everything and you will kill your archive.

Your archive is a fox and your intranet is a chicken – keep them together and all you have is a fox.

Measuring success

Tasks need to be measurable and you need to be able to set targets but whatever you do, don’t measure page hits – hits stands for How Idiots Track Success!

Don’t measure volume – measure use. Test your intranet and base decisions on evidence.

Test, test and test again

Test, test and test again

If there’s one thing that will get managers on your side it’s saving money or making efficiencies, and the savings we’re all aiming for on our organisations’ websites can be made on our intranets.

Focus on what people do

eureka momentManage the task, not the channel. Don’t manage the intranet or the content – manage the thing people are trying to do and if it means getting involved in changing the process in the back office, roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.

Always focus on the task. Bring the tools, policy, FAQ, news etc to the task – if they are standalone they are just noise.

Self-service is the buzzword of the moment for intranets but most content isn’t fit-for-purpose or even understandable without an expert to interpret it.

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Sources of your task longlist

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Creating a task longlist

Once you have your longlist get people to quickly choose their top five tasks

Once you have your longlist get people to quickly choose their top five tasks

If it doesn’t help complete a task get rid of it. Policies are all well and good but people don’t look for a policy document – they just want to complete the task they came on to do.

If you need it to complete the task but people drop out, it needs rewriting.

Top task life cycle – identify task, measure the baseline (it will be horrible), make the changes, measure again, repeat indefinitely.

Navigation

Navigation is the most important part of a top task website. Make labels clear and avoid creating ‘dirty magnets’ – terms that attract users for vague reasons e.g. FAQs or Knowledge Base. eureka 2

Put things where people expect them to be. Documents may be produced by your legal department but don’t put them there if people naturally gravitate towards marketing for them.

Don’t use labels like ‘Useful links’ – what’s the alternative, ‘Useless links’? Start at your top level then work your way down, aiming for a 90% first click success rate.

Employees will trust an intranet that helps them do their job, not one that is used as a propaganda tool.

Research around the world shows that two thirds of employees feel overwhelmed – this is your business case for an intranet overhaul.

We wouldn’t accept broken chairs or desks in the office, but we accept a broken digital workplace. Imagine if content that went past its sell-by date started to smell. We wouldn’t tolerate it and we wouldn’t have the bloated intranets most of us have to put up with.

The difference between the web and the intranet is that on the web people spend a lot of time and money making sure their content can be found. On an intranet being found means having to do some work!

Gerry’s international research boils intranets down to five main navigation categories:

      • About me
      • Find people & collaboration
      • News/current affairs
      • About the company
      • Core – the essence of what your organisation delivers

Focus on the core.

Working out the navigation

Working out the navigation

The future

Socitm are considering getting involved in intranets in a similar way to the Better Connected review they do of council websites each year. They attended Gerry’s workshop and we discussed creating a space to compare top tasks and best practice because, let’s face it, internal tasks are going to be pretty similar across the board. Watch this space for more details.

You can have a look at #intranetnow on Twitter where you will find notes and Periscope films from the organiser @Wedge .

This post was first published on All Things IC blog 14 May 2015. Thanks go to Rachel for the opportunity to share.