March 13, 2003
Award-winning Intranet Advice
Building an award-winning client-pleasing intranet doesn't require
a fancy automated content management system, Michele Berkes told
our chapter at the March meeting.
It might not even require developing tons of new content, as
Northwestern Mutual learned after surveying it's 5,000 or so
"It was amazing how much of what they wanted was already
there, but they just couldn't find it,'' said Berkes, a user-centered
design consultant at Milwaukee-based Northwestern.
slide presentation is available online:
Northwestern's Mutualnet was named to the Top 10 Intranet Sites
of 2002 by the Nielson Norman Group.
Mutualnet started as a collection of more than 60 subsites,
almost all of them with their own look and feel.
Resistance to change was overcome in several ways, Berkes said,
- coordinating with and piggy-backing on a corporate identity
program that had high-level support
- working incrementally on the new design, starting with sites
that were amenable to change and popular with users
- using experience gained from the initial few subsites to
improve the process and for evidence that the redesign/restructuring
Usability testing results on the first few sites converted showed
that the rate of failure to complete an online task dropped from
9% to 1%, and time on task fell 20%.
"We had to have real numbers to get real money" to
fund the rest of the conversions, Berkes said.
Berkes, a former member of the East Tennessee Chapter, is now
STC Region 6 Director-Sponsor and a member of the STC Board of
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee provided this month's
meeting room at its new headquarters and distribution facility
(Revised March 24, 2003)