16 January 2007

Corporate intranets apply Web 2.0 for user benefits, reports Nielsen Norman Group

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Nielsen Norman GroupIntranets typically avoid the over-hyped fads that wash across the Web, according to usability expert Jakob Nielsen, whose research firm Nielsen Norman Group today announced the winners of its seventh annual intranet design contest.

This year, rather than avoid the Internet fads, including social networking and wikis, intranet design teams applied them in restrained ways that emphasized useful information. The result was the addition of sophisticated intranet features that expressed each company’s culture and served the needs of individual employees better than ever before.

The world’s 10 best intranets named in this year’s contest provide numerous examples of the latest trends in intranet design and are each described in detail in Nielsen Norman Group’s “Intranet Design Annual 2007: The Year’s Ten Best Intranets,” co-authored by Nielsen and colleagues Kara Pernice Coyne, director of research and Mathew Schwartz, researcher.

“Websites often employ a trendy technology for its own sake rather than for any discernable benefit it affords the user. They shoot for glitz,” said Jakob Nielsen, principal, Nielsen Norman Group. “This year, our intranet contest winners used the same trendy technologies, but they aimed instead for utility and pragmatism, and achieved them without any sacrifice to the coolness factor associated, for example, with an Ajax map that helps an employee find another employee with whom to carpool.”

The 10 organizations with winning intranets are based in five different countries and have employee populations ranging in size from 1,500 to 383,000. In alphabetical order, they are: American Electric Power (US); Comcast (US); DaimlerChrysler AG (Germany); The Dow Chemical Company (US); Infosys Technologies Limited (India); JPMorgan Chase & Co. (US); Microsoft Corporation (US); National Geographic Society (US); The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (UK); Volvo Group (Sweden).

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