FREMONT, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Intranet personalization and mobile strategies that aim to deliver the right content to the right person and on the right device sometimes have the unintended consequence of making employees feeling handcuffed. Many of this year’s winning intranets successfully tackled this problem by making it possible for employees to access content other than what is usually funneled to them and to access their company’s Intranet on any device they want, according to usability expert Jakob Nielsen whose user-experience research firm Nielsen Norman Group today announced the winners of its 15th annual Intranet Design contest.
“Generally speaking, intranet personalization serves the very useful purpose of pushing employees the information they need according to their job and location and hiding the information they don’t need. Less noise. But, that’s not always a good thing,” said Jakob Nielsen, principal of Nielsen Norman Group. “Maybe the manager based in Italy wants to view information served to the people she manages in Germany. Several of our winning intranets developed advanced personalization capabilities that allow people to view content that is not part of their default role.”
In another effort to give employees better access to the content they need when they need it, a number of the winning intranets focused on allowing employees to view the company intranet on any device they want, rather than designing an app for only one or a few particular devices. This required intranet teams to really prioritize content in order to offer the most appropriate features and information by default on displays both large and small, and either tappable or clickable.
Demonstrating these advanced personalization and mobile strategies, the 2015 world’s 10 best intranets — in alphabetical order — are:
• Accolade (The Netherlands), a social housing office for affordable homes.
• Adobe (United States), a digital marketing and media solutions company.
• ConocoPhillips (United States), an explorer and producer of crude oil and natural gas energy.
• Klick Health (Canada), a digital health agency.
• Saudi Food & Drug Authority (Saudi Arabia), a government agency ensuring the safety of food and drugs, biological and chemical substances, and electronic products.
• Sprint (United States), a provider of wireless telecommunications products and services.
• TAURON Polska Energia (Poland), hard coal mining and generation, distribution and supply of electricity and heat; the largest distributor and supplier of electricity in Poland.
• The Foschini Group (South Africa), an independent chain store retail group.
• UniCredit S.p.A. (Italy), a commercial bank spanning 50 markets and operating in more than 17 European countries.
• Verizon Communications (United States), a telecommunications company.
These 10 organizations are headquartered in seven countries and have an average of 52,200 employees. For the first time ever, one of the winning intranets is being honored for the third time on Nielsen Norman Group’s list of the world’s 10 best Intranets: Verizon Communications is being recognized this year for its human resources portal; Verizon also had winning intranet designs in 2005 and 2011.
Other trends to emerge from this year’s intranet design contest include:
Social Goes to the Next Level — Once excluded from intranets, social tools are now pervasive throughout each of this year’s winning intranets. In addition to the usual features (e.g. rate, like and recommended), several organizations added tools — birthday and anniversary calendars, for example — that encourage employees to make casual and work-related connections.
Search Filters — Search is a powerful feature that helps people locate the information they need to do their jobs. But for many years, intranet search capabilities have been sorely lacking. This year’s winners have made great strides with tagging content and using faceted search to help employees be more productive by finding the right resources.
With Content, Less is More — Intranet teams are improving the way content is published and maintained. The focus is now on streamlining content, publishing it once and judiciously spreading that same content throughout the intranet, resulting in reduced re-work and fewer errors.
“Intranets have come a long way in the 15 years since we started evaluating them. It used to take years for teams to launch one huge, ‘full’ intranet. Today, the trend is to use an iterative process that allows teams regularly to add new functional elements and more importantly, to innovate, which is in abundant evidence with this year’s group of winners,” said Kara Pernice, Nielsen Norman Group managing director.
Nielsen Norman Group’s “Intranet Design Annual 2015: The Year’s 10 Best Intranets,” co-authored by Kara Pernice, Amy Schade, Patty Caya and Jakob Nielsen is available to download for $248 from the Nielsen Norman Group website at