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Technology

Corporate intranets and their effects on productivity

A post by Jeffrey Veen talks about the typical corporate IT department and how it influences (negatively) external and internet web projects. The thrust of the post is that a centralized corporate IT department consists primarily of “technologists [more] accustomed to controlling resources and managing services” than user-centered design and the user experience.

I can relate to his findings in my own firm. We have a national intranet as well as an office intranet. The national one was recently updated and looks a bit sharper, although it still clings to using frames to lay out and organize content. More bells and whistles, but still no easier to find what you’re looking for unless you know where it is. In its defence, it has to serve a diverse national firm with large offices in the major urban centres like mine of nearly 100 and smaller offices in rural Canada of less than 10.

But the office intranet is something else. The color scheme is, in a word, hideous, and it makes liberal use of the marquee tag, and probably has looked the same for many years. It certainly looks very Web 1.0, as in Netscape Navigator 1.0. I’ve been toying with the idea of throwing the office intranet into something standards-compliant, use some CSS for the layout perhaps perform radical surgery on the information architecture. I think the standards argument would resonate with accountants.

Maybe once busy season is over.