Why Intranet Navigation is so important for end users and IT

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Chief Technology Officer

Navigation should not be static and curated but dynamic, personalized, and contextual. Poor navigation creates unnecessary inefficiencies and dependency on overburdened resources to fill the navigation gaps with their time and effort directing requests, linking workspaces, and more. 

This is due to unmanaged or poorly designed navigation. Often this stems from end users not knowing what’s possible with navigation, or IT not knowing how to best design navigation for the optimal user experience.

Looking at navigation from both perspectives

The tools and design patterns are there for you to take advantage of, but it does require focus and effort to implement them the right way, configure them optimally and extend/enhance where appropriate.

In this blog, we will look at the impact of navigation on the end-user and IT.

End-User Navigation Experience Challenges

70% of people start their journey by navigating, and it is a vital focus area for an effective digital workplace. The most visible challenge of unmanaged and poor design is poor navigation. Reliable navigation is crucial to the user experience. Without it, new users and existing users will never find anything efficiently or learn how to work with a broken system instead.

When new employees begin their employment, navigation issues should be the last thing to actively occupy their thoughts. Not only that, but poor navigation also increases the handholding required. 

The start of a new employee’s journey can be anxiety-riddled in any environment, at any job. Suppose the employee cannot fundamentally do their job due to their inability to navigate your digital workplace. In that case, you may have inadvertently made their journey to success a lot more complicated.

Good navigation design enhances users’ understanding and gives them confidence using your organization’s digital workplace technology.     

Today, one of the significant challenges is that the navigation landscape is fragmented across many apps, services, and experiences employees use to do their jobs. Users have to learn navigation patterns per app or experience. When they want to perform searches or navigate across these, even in Microsoft 365, it can be a challenge. This is due to how organizations have implemented competing vendors, poorly integrated or non-integrated systems. 

The good news here is that proven designs and investments can overcome these end-user experience challenges. By investing in tailoring, configuring, and enhancing the navigation experience across the digital workplace, you can significantly improve employee efficiency, productivity, and related business outcomes.

IT Navigation Experience Challenges

One thing is inevitable; if the UI/UX is a mess, you can bet the backend is worse. Your IT department can provide reactive support all day. However, navigating the sprawl of Teams, SharePoint Sites, Yammer communities, and more, takes more effort since they don’t always have the business context or seeing the mess left behind by end-users that had to learn by necessity.  

The need for IT to support management, leadership, and end-user navigation is clear. While out-of-the-box (OOTB) has a great set of experiences that are necessary to understand, they are not sufficient for the volume and complexity of your expected (or existing) digital workspace sprawl. Take a look at the video below for an overview of how far OOTB can take you.

IT needs to support the business needs of today. 

Larger organizations require more than what is available out-of-the-box in Microsoft 365. These needs include more personalization and better experiences navigating hundreds of curated links and multiple organizational intranets or portals. 

The good news is that proven solutions like the digital workplace directory can serve as a basis for unified governance, lifecycle, provisioning, and navigation of digital workspaces. There are proven enhancements that organizations have implemented across thousands of Intranets that go beyond the out-of-the-box navigation patterns while maximizing what is already there. By investing more time into navigation, IT greatly benefits in reduced cost of ownership, better visibility, and a more cohesive platform to provide technology services and experiences.

Still confused about why you should spend more time on navigation?

The success of your business relies on your employees’ ability to get their job done efficiently. Navigation is an important element that can negatively impact their daily lives when done poorly. Fixing this issue can save them countless hours of headaches and frustration whether they are end-users or IT.

Microsoft Navigation eBook
DOWNLOAD OUR NAVIGATION EBOOK

For help and guidance on the next steps needed to improve navigation in your Microsoft 365 digital workplace, rely on our team of Microsoft and Digital Workplace experts. Or, if you’re looking for more information on Microsoft 365 navigation, download our awesome eBook!

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