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3 Intranet UX Design Trends You NEED to Know | UX to EX Episode 3

October 12, 2023
11 min read
3 Intranet UX Design Trends You NEED to Know |  UX to EX Episode 3
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Read Summary

  • Landing pages beyond the homepage can also be more robust with personalized and dynamic content, such as trending news stories.
  • Personalization features like customizing a mobile dashboard or bookmarking news can improve the employee experience.
  • Tools like the new SharePoint Brand Center will help maintain brand consistency as more content gets created.
  • AI can assist with content creation, making it faster while still following brand guidelines and accessibility standards.

Read Transcript

It is always really fun to talk about UX patterns. You know, employee experience is something we both work in so much and we've learned a lot together as a team and as individuals.I would love to know more about what you're seeing around UX, specifically around intranet.

From a UX perspective, intranets have gone through quite a few changes over the years and decades, in particular with employee experience being so front and center for a lot of organizations. We used to say that the digital hub of the digital workplace was the Internet.

And now the question is, which experience is the one people connect with in that way? Is it Teams? Is it the Internet? Is it something else? Is the homepage still as important as it always has been? With that, I'll pass it over to you. I'd love your opinions on what's happening around UX for intranets.

I have mixed emotions because everyone wants to be on and featured on the homepage. It seems to be the first thing we always talk with our customers about.
But we're also seeing these updates happening with landing pages and dynamic content and some really interesting conversations between what should be on the home page and what kind of content is critical there.

There are two different types. Your traditional static type content, a person curates it, it's manually updated, and then we see more dynamic content where it's automated, it's system generated. This could be from AI or even user behaviors that we're seeing. And your home pages are updating in real time.

One of the other points I want to talk about is a lot of intranets today are missing out. They don't have that dynamic content or they're not taking advantage of some of the technology that is available to them in terms of that dynamic content, especially on those homepage situations.

To your point, on the dynamic content, is there dynamic content that integrates the experience? That's one of the significant challenges today, right? It can feel fragmented. If you are in a page experience when you're usually working in meetings and recordings, and you're meeting, doing emails, and doing other activities, so what have you seen there?

On your homepage, we have content that's usually top down. It's communication for everyone. And like I said, traditionally, that has been static. It can be a mix of regional or local content again, depending on the size of your organization and the personalization that has been set up. The newsfeed is a good example. In that case, it's showing you information, like you said, from Teams, we can source information from outlook and things of that nature. And again, just this is where we get into that conversation of me content versus that we content me content.

The newsfeed can be that dynamic content that's being fed up and automatically curated for you. The Viva Connections newsfeed which is like Viva Engage and Intranet articles. Then there's sort of that Microsoft 365 feed, right? That's such a cool web part. For those using Microsoft 365 for your Internet, it has team and email signals and all that all in one little control.

It's an interesting discussion because when we talk about the home page that has its own design patterns, the me and us content again, or the we content that we see, we often don't have enough of me content, enough dynamic content. What about beyond the homepage? When you think of landing pages for departments or other groups, is there a particular pattern or a thing you're seeing that people get wrong or that could be better?

Another great example that comes to my mind is the news landing page. So, you're on your home page and you see a listing of all your news stories. There's a link to view all news which most intranets have. We click on that. Traditionally, you would see your stories listed from the newest, the latest, and greatest down to the older stories. Then, it archives automatically. Those are great.

But we're seeing shifts and changes in how content can be sourced on these landing pages. More personalized, more dynamic in the sense that we can share news that maybe you've bookmarked from another area on the Internet. A totally different place that you've bookmarked it from, but there's a connection there. We can source that news. We can also point you to news that is popular, that's trending.

Maybe, a lot of engagement is happening within your organization or department on a certain story. We can pull that information to the top dynamically or automatically because the system thinks, "Hey, you may be interested in this, or it's relevant to your situation right now." That's really important and exciting.

Another example is that we can filter content by category, type or department. If you want to source information or announcements from HR or communications, we can source that and build out experiences on the landing page that will curate the content automatically. Someone's going in, creating the news story, tagging it a certain way, and then we can feed those to multiple places on the Internet. I love it.

It makes me think of the news page and how it could be more robust. At the same time, why not have them all? What's trending in this news category? What's your news in this news category? And also what's chronologically relevant. Personalization is one of those factors that affects design, right? And we've talked a bit about that with things like bookmarking and my feed experience on an Internet homepage.

But what other examples from a personalization experience have you seen within an Internet context? Another good example would be the Viva Connections dashboard.
We see that you can now personalize which cards you want on the mobile version of Viva Connections. Again, if there's a bunch of cards that you have, and they could be dynamic content where it's giving you a listing of contacts or maybe your day-to-day tasks and it's updating in real-time, you can pick and choose which cards to feature in the mobile version, which is really nice.

It's giving you some of that flexibility, some of that personalization. You're getting some control of the content to make you more efficient, doing your tasks and having a better employee experience all around. I love that example because mobile is something you do often, and that's an experience that's just amazingly robust, the dashboard card. The idea that people can sort of control it themselves makes sense. Awesome feature highlight.

The other thing that people talk about a lot of times is that people are generating more content with Copilot. Now we're creating pages from other artifacts and examples like that. I have two questions. As we create content, how do we ensure that the brand and design fit our needs as people create new content in new ways? And the secondary thing is, what do you feel like? Where are the areas where AI is going to impact? Know right now where it might be more impactful than others?

This is something near and dear to my heart: marketing design. With the recent announcement of the new brand center for SharePoint, this will help enable some of that creativity while keeping some guardrails when you're creating pages. I love that this brand center will have the rules defined for you. The fonts, the colors, even the layouts, you don't have to think or worry about that. You can go in and easily create these experiences, be it a news post or even these special custom landing pages that we were talking about.

When you're building them, you're going to follow the rules so they'll maintain that consistency with your brand. No one has to go in and be constantly updating and tweaking this font here or this color. They're not using the brand colors. Or even think about accessibility. When we set up these standards in the brand center, we can ensure that those accessibility guidelines are followed, and no one has to worry or wonder, did I choose the right color? There's a lot of good things that are coming about that.

The second question is about how AI is helping us. It's basically speeding up our process. It's enabling us to easily go in and craft this content. It's almost like another hand coming in to help hold you, guide you, and direct you through creating the content, giving you suggestions, and even adding some of that dynamic content to your pages.

It's only going to improve content for consistency, make it easier, and enable users to go in and create content on the Internet. The next session and the next topic we're going to do for UX to EX is on AI, which I'm sure we will talk a lot about UX patterns, how it relates to employee experience, and how AI is changing that.

If you have questions, comments or if there is a certain topic about UX design that you would like us to cover, please share and we will be happy to go through them. Thank you.

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