Public sector intranets are now considered a necessity. That’s because more than ever, government offices need to effectively communicate internally and with the public. That means having a dependable intranet portal that can serve as a two-way digital experience platform. It seems daunting to offices that are already well behind the technologies of the last few years. How do public agencies go from not having much of a digital communications strategy at all to running state-of-the-art government intranet portals? It’s actually much simpler than you might think. To start, let’s look at what the best intranets out in the real world are providing. According to the Nielsen Normal Group, a UX firm and hub for digital design materials, “For government intranets, projects that increase employee productivity are as valuable as those that increase the general public’s satisfaction.” People working together across different offices creates synergy. At the same time, it’s a good idea to build intradepartmental teams. Some of the most important features listed by NNG include workflows, data management, integration with mobile, UX design, simplicity in UI, and collaboration tools for accessible social intranets.
LiveTiles specializes in bringing you intranet portals that meet these critical needs, enhancing teamwork and bringing in all of today’s best cloud-based applications and document management programs from SharePoint. There’s more to it than just excellent UX, “an intranet’s design should support and enhance the organization’s brand and culture while ensuring that employees are able to get the information they want, when they want, as quick as possible.” When building an intranet, it’s best to start with the idea that “Microsoft SharePoint facilitates effective collaboration across organizations, without geographical limitations.” An effective intranet can be built out from SharePoint and will fit the other criteria listed above. Where do you begin? It all starts with individual tiles.
News Tiles promote excellent UX and collaboration
If you want a list page to share with your teams to look through different stories, our News List Tile will fit the bill. The News List Tile is in the Feeds section, and makes the news available in the form of a scrollable feed interface. This News List tile, the Card Slider Tile, and the News Tile all give designers the option to set the stories being listed. The list page colors can be modified to give a unique look to the list pages. Then simply save the page and view it to see the tiles go live. You can change the body text, add attachments, edit attachments, select a new preview image, or mark the announcement as critical from the settings tab. One nice feature of the News Tile is that it lists the stories by number, making it easy to skip ahead if needed. Announcements can be edited, deleted or shared from the bottom of the tile. A user could share stories through a social intranet, such as Microsoft Yammer. If you’d prefer, you can copy the link and send it out by way of Office 365 email. A News Tile only takes minutes to set up, so your teams or the public at large can be informed of the latest news quickly.
Yammer Tiles give you Microsoft’s easy-to-use mobile social intranet
With our Yammer Tile, Microsoft’s social intranet can be used to reach any device, any time of day. Designed for a “mobile first” digital workplace, Yammer connects internal teams and external partners through customized intranet portals. The LiveTiles responsive design canvas can make Yammer a part of your front page for your team that relies on smartphone and tablet use. Responsive design through LiveTiles’ drag and drop UI makes integrating Yammer simple, boosting employee engagement for activities like posting pictures, answering emails in Office 365 or sharing files. If your teams know how to use Facebook and Twitter, they can use Yammer.
Alerts can notify the community of public service intranet announcements
Let’s say you need to set an alert for the public, LiveTiles is quick and easy to use so you can create an entirely new front page for each warning. A basic rectangle tile can be used to link to a page with text describing the public advisory. Alerts could also come through a Twitter feed, or as audio recordings through SoundCloud, all on our designer. It’s all about knowing the content you want displayed, and the overall purpose of the page. Our Digital Development and UX Design Professional Fred Showell says that “Good design usually starts with a clear intent and an understanding of your requirements.” What are your requirements, and what do you want the user to get out of your public sector intranet? Each intranet portal could be different. You have to put yourself in the place of your users. User journeys can be complicated on some sites, but as someone who is designing UX for a public service portal, you want the most important alerts to be front and center. When you’re wireframing, start with simple ideas. You can add complexity later. LiveTiles supports wireframing through our wireframe mode. At the switch of a toggle, your UX designs can be turned into rough sketches on paper. This helps you visualize the broad outlines of your SharePoint wireframe. An important part of the process is inviting others from your office into the process and seeking input from your site’s primary users. You’ll have a much better intranet portal when you do.
Search for anyone in your intranet portal
The People Search tile allows users to search for others within their SharePoint tenant. From the search results, users can be emailed or Skyped with the push of a button. Clicking on a profile picture from the search results will lead the user to the searched members’ Delve profile page. This tile is the fastest method of finding and collaborating with coworkers. The People Search Tile is ready to run after dragging and dropping the tile into the designer. As usual, the tile size can be adjusted, and a user can even change the background color, placeholder text, access permissions and font size. The People Search Tile can be used in a few different ways. To start searching for coworkers, a user can type a name, location or even a job title within the text box on a saved page, and press enter or click the search icon to populate a results list. When a user finds the person he or she is looking for, the next step is to look at the sliding menu and email or Skype the contact. As we’ve grown accustomed to using Office 365, there are built in color codes that inform the reader of the availability of the person being contacted. A green color indicates the user is available, yellow indicates the user is not currently interacting with Office 365, red indicates the user is busy, and gray indicates the user is away. In Chrome and Edge, users will only see the gray color. Most tablets and some laptops will show gray, so it’s a good idea to go ahead and send the email since the person might be available after all. The People Search Tile is the gold standard for boosting internal communication, and it only takes a second or two.
Provide news in a calendar format
SharePoint calendars are great for bringing people together and keeping everyone on track. For individuals, our digital calendars help us keep up on meetings and deadlines. Collaboratively, SharePoint calendars help us to balance different schedules and find the best times to create new meetings. The calendars excel at arranging meetings quickly. First, open a colleague’s calendar and look for an available time. When a good time is found, the calendar provides a function to request a meeting in that time frame. The colleague on the receiving end can either accept or reject the proposed time. If they accept it, the sender will be notified and the meeting will appear on the calendar. If the receiver does not accept the meeting at the time specified, a notification will be sent out informing the sender so that a new time could be suggested.
LiveTiles customizes your intranet portal
Government intranet portals that go the distance
An example of a successful government intranet portal is TasALERT. TasALERT was created to serve as a public sector intranet that would communicate directly with the public. Important notices, weather events and coordinating information with emergency services are all now routine for TasALERT. Originally, TasALERT was sought out for its internal communication strengths and responsive design capabilities. But it was soon discovered that this level of intranet design would be ideal for increased public adoption, especially on a mobile device. TasALERT has been a huge LiveTiles success story for everyone involved. Early warnings are going out and people in the community are able to avoid the dangers that are in the area. Whether you’re trying to build a better health department, a sustainable public works board or supporting volunteer fire departments, having a mobile intranet to communicate with internal users and the public is vitally important. Use a LiveTiles intranet portal to get the most out of your teams and to better collaborate with the public. No other intranet portal tool lets you maximize SharePoint and stay on the forward edge of today’s digital trends—all in a matter of minutes.