During a technical upgrade of the myGSK Plumtree Portal from v4.5 to v5.04, collect feedback from as many employees as possible and implement holistic changes to improve the way people navigate, find information, and accomplish daily tasks.
Drove sweeping usability changes to the company intranet portal that decreased the time to find 8 key self-service applications by 65%, cut load time from 4 to 1.2 seconds and increased Nielsen Norman Usability Intranet Design Annual ranking from 27th to 11th place. Integrated the 8 most common employee activities into a single menu filtered for over 200 roles, designed icons and color themes to highlight common tasks and provide a visual roadmap to end users, and clearly separated navigation from content on every page to embed visual consistency without impeding business creativity.
My director and I conducted a 3-month online survey of over 800 employees from all business units, locations, and pay grades. Measured all aspects of usability including findability, consistency, learnability, etc. Following the study, we collated all quantitative and qualitative results to find themes to shape our recommendations. Overall, we found that site consistency, content, and search quality were most lacking. The portal upgrade primarily affected consistency, while content and search quality improvements were delegated to communicators and the search team, respectively. The majority of respondents stated that the portal was too uniform in color, style and layout, yet it was very difficult to find common destinations and complete common tasks. To address these issues, our new design enforced left-column navigation on all 500 communities, added the 8 most common activities to the upper left corner of every page, and provided community owners with themes and icons to add greater depth and flavor to their visitors’ experiences (see Redesign Principles). Our overriding message was: Allow for greater variety in portal page content, but enforce more consistency in portal page behaviors. When we felt the design achieved what users wanted, I built a functional HTML prototype illustrating a typical portal home page. Before proceeding with project estimates, I conducted a usability study with 12 users to vet our assumptions and make sure we were on the right track. Throughout the project, we conducted two additional usability studies, and constantly checked back to ensure we maintained the voice of the user throughout the project.