In my last post – Interactive Portals – Part 1, we discussed about some key thoughts on how any organization can create engaging Enterprise portals. In this post we will dissect aspects which will make portals more engaging.
Quality process is an essential part of any Enterprise portal to ensure effective usage of quality process and guidelines by the employees. This is typically designed as a Wiki site with index, links, categories, and documents detailing about the process guidelines. It does not bring in engaging and re-visit user experience, as employees may be least interested to search, open and read quality processes as documents with static texts, process flows.
Let us take a step out of the organization (Intranet portals) and get into the internet space. Web has been evolving at a rapid pace since its birth in 1990. What had started as a source which aids in sharing/retrieve valuable information to the users has now evolved to portals, social networking, media hub, knowledge wiki, interactive sites etc.
Every year we see new terminologies, standards and designs coming up in the web world. HTML which was started as more of a textual representation has now become less textual and more interactive. People have started responding to content which is more interactive, innovative and unique. What’s more important when you share or sell something on the web is how well it’s represented. It should not only attract people but let them engage as well. You might have created an excellent video or flashy site which attracts people, but how many users like to just watch a video which you are trying to sell for minutes if that does not engage or interest them?
Interactive web sites are becoming the new age in web design. It not only provides a flashy, unique design but can get a user engaged as well. For example, http://www.adidasdesignstudios.com/ is a site which will engage you in getting to know more about their design, history etc. the reason being their eye-catching interactive design which engages the users to navigate in-depth. Another great example is NYTimes Snowfall project, it tells a story with interactive media content.
The point to ponder over is where and how we can utilize this in intranet portals? Let us step back to the example of representation of quality process within Enterprise portal and put interactive design into perspective. Let us split the content into:
Process representation can be interactive rather than static documents with texts, process flows, by getting inputs from the user which will engage them more frequently. We can also add feedback, ratings and other social aspects while the user is reading details about a process.
Standard and templates can be a set of interactive screens that will gather information from the user and then generate the document based on the content gathered.
Search can be more interactive by asking the user a few questions to point to the right one quicker. The questions could be dynamic based on the answer from the previous question from the user to ensure the accurate content is retrieved.
We can also build more traction with the employees within an organization by making some parts of the intranet portal more interactive; say for example surveys could be more interactive than just choosing / rating.
These are some of my thoughts on interactive portals and how to engage your employees better by bringing interactive design to portals. I am sure you might have many more thoughts and ideas which you would like to add.