3 Keys of Mobile-Friendly Intranet Software

Mike McMinn, General Manager of Technology, MyHub
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Mike McMinn, General Manager of Technology, MyHub

There are plenty of things that you have to take into consideration when designing your intranet software. In today's increasingly mobile society, however, developing software that your users can take on the road with them is one of the most critical components of intranet design. Your users need to be able to access the intranet through smart phones, tablets, and laptops, and they need to be able to do it whether they're sitting in an office in the company building or halfway around the world. Developing intranet software that is mobile friendly requires several concerns that are not present when your intranet is only accessed from the office.

“One of the most critical considerations of your mobile intranet software is the level of security”

Security: The Importance of Protecting Your Intranet Software

One of the most critical considerations of your mobile intranet software is the level of security. As your users access the company intranet from locations other than the office, you want to be sure that the critical information remains protected. From insecure wireless networks where traffic can be viewed by anyone to people who will simply walk up and steal mobile devices that aren't in the hands of their user, there are plenty of threats that you must consider.

How secure are the devices being used to access the intranet? If the employees within your organization are primarily using laptops that require several layers of authentication before they can be used, that security will help protect your intranet. On the other hand, if your users are accessing the company intranet from a variety of different mobile devices that include cell phones and tablets, you will need to take further steps to help ensure intranet security. Mobile phones are also more likely to be lost or stolen, making it critical that you find a way to protect access to your company's intranet even if the device falls into someone else's hands.

How savvy are your users? In some organizations, the focus on security is evident from the moment you walk in the door. It's not just physical security; it's also information security. Do your users automatically use complex passwords that have plenty of elements that make them hard to crack, or does one of your coworkers use her granddaughter's first name as her password for everything? Do users within the company remember to secure their devices before they walk away from them, even on company property, or do they find themselves wandering away from their device even when it's logged in? Teaching your users how to keep access to the intranet secure can be a challenge, but it's one of the most critical parts of intranet security.

How private is the information contained within the company intranet? If your company intranet is used primarily for announcements and paperwork that have nothing to do with actual client information or intellectual property, you might not be worried about someone else accessing it. If you're using your intranet software to its fullest extent, however, you are probably storing plenty of confidential information within it. That means that you need to ensure that your intranet solution has plenty of security built in from the beginning.

Keeping Your Intranet Software User-Friendly

In order for your intranet to see the use it needs in order to be successful, it should be as easy and intuitive for your users as possible on every device they may use to access it (which is the credo of many Intranet providers like MyHub). Any time it becomes too difficult to access intranet features, your users are going to find other ways to accomplish the same purpose. Having a forum dedicated to communication for a particular project, for example, only works as long as it is as easy to access and use the forum as it is to send an email. There are several elements of user-friendly design that your mobile intranet software should include.

Ensure that your intranet software includes responsive design. Your users will use a variety of devices in order to access the intranet. No matter what device they're using, however, they should have the same easy experience. Text shouldn't need to be resized, and if it does--for example, for an employee who needs it to be larger due to vision problems or comfort--it should quickly adapt to fit the screen without requiring excessive scrolling. Responsive design may actually be one of the primary factors influencing your users' decision concerning whether or not to use the intranet.  

Appreciate the value of apps and tools. There are plenty of tools that can make your intranet work better for the end users. From a company calendar that can be accessed with a quick click to quizzes and surveys that allow you to quickly and efficiently poll employees, there are plenty of apps that can be contained within your intranet. Employee convenience is one of the most critical elements of the apps you choose. Even employees who work primarily in the office will be grateful for the ability to access their vacation time, pull up important documents, and check their pay slips no matter where they are.

Don't clutter up the front page. Keeping navigation simple means requiring as few clicks as possible to access important content, but it also means creating a clean page that is easy for users to navigate. Divide your links into categories or find ways to break up the design so that it's uncluttered and simple in order to provide the best possible employee experience.

Managing Content Effectively

Once you have designed and deployed your intranet software, you have to keep the intranet running as efficiently as possible. It's not just about whether or not your users are able to use the intranet on the road, it's also about the value it will continue to add to them and to your company over time. Managing your content will continue long after your intranet has been deployed.

Remove outdated documents and information. Those files are cluttering up your intranet and making it difficult for employees to find the information they really need. Even if old announcements or outdated policies have been pushed down the list of files, they'll still get in the way of routine searches and create problems for users.

Keep information short and sweet. The longer the text on the page or the bigger the file, the longer the load time will be. For many mobile intranet users, this is one of the biggest problems associated with accessing the intranet. Long blocks of text are also difficult to manage: it's not as easy to search for the one critical piece of information in a long page from a mobile device.

Check your search function. Mobile users will be more reliant on the search function for accessing important information than desktop users. That makes streamlining your search function one of the most critical parts of your intranet design. Make sure that users are able to customize their search so that they can access the information they need and when they need it.

If you're ready to create an intranet that increases communication within your company and makes it easy to take all the critical information your employees need on the road, contact us. MyHub Intranet Solutions will provide your company with an intranet that is equally accessible from desktop or mobile devices, created with responsive design at the top of the priority list, and ready for every employee in your company to take on the road. The benefits of mobile-friendly intranet software can't be ignored, and we are here to help your company discover just how beneficial it can be.

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