"Standard" Intranet site sections?

16 Dec 2004 - 2:08pm
9 years ago
2 replies
1068 reads
bill pawlak
2004

I was at a client site the other day, helping to set up a strategic
plan for developing an intranet portal when we got on the topic of
navigation and the different 'sections' of the intranet that may/may
not be available to users.

I was explaining some of the shortcomings of going with
department-based navigation options (arguing that they may have a
place in the overall structure, but they shouldn't be the primary
navigation mechanism), when someone on the client team said, "well,
can't we just use whatever the default navigation sections are as a
first step?"

We talked through the fact that there likely aren't "default" ones
that apply globally, since different organizations have different
needs, etc., etc. but the conversation has stuck with me and got me
thinking if there wasn't - in fact - a small subset of things that
might be applicable to most organizations.

Things such as "Projects/Initiatives and Employee Resources" may all
be valid top level navigation sections, independent of the
organization you're in. Then within each, there may even be some
basics that are pretty standard, as well. For example, under Employee
Resources, you could likely have "Vacation Requests, Retirement Plans,
Health Information, etc."

Any thoughts on this? I'm not entirely sure the idea is as far
fetched as I originally thought it was, but I thought I'd get other
perspectives on it.

- bill pawlak

Comments

16 Dec 2004 - 5:04pm
Alain D. M. G. ...
2003

Hello!

When I got my Master's in Library Science (now called master's in
library and information science or master's in information science) way
back in 1984 I avoided the "natural" path of libraries and went to
work instead in what was called records management (and is now called
information Management or IM) where I encountered the paper version of
what you are proposing for Web based intranets. They were called dual
or binary classification systems. On one side (the A or 1) you had a
classification tree that dealt with support functions such as human
resources, purchasing, accounting, janitorial services, etc. and on the
other (the B or the 2) you had a classification tree dealing with what
some people call the "operating" or "business" functions of the
organisation. The operating functions were radically different from
one place to another.

Though there were quite a few common elements between organisations
(public or private) on the "A" side, they were never common enough,
even in the cases of companies or bureaucraties within the same sector
(sectors such as banking, insurance, armies, telecom providers...) and
belonging to the same trade groups. Every "support" side had grown
along with that company or government department over the decades and
developped its own linkages, its own way of making documents and
storing them, so you had to custom-build a different classification
each time they reached a stage where they needed a classification. Or
each time they junked an old classification.

I think it is the same for Intranets. Sure, you could, you should
learn a lot form looking at functions, document types in other places,
but in the end you have to roll your own for each organization.

Alain Vaillancourt

--- Bill Pawlak <bill.pawlak at gmail.com> a écrit :

> Things such as "Projects/Initiatives and Employee Resources" may all
> be valid top level navigation sections, independent of the
> organization you're in. Then within each, there may even be some
> basics that are pretty standard, as well. For example, under
> Employee
> Resources, you could likely have "Vacation Requests, Retirement
> Plans,
> Health Information, etc."
>
> Any thoughts on this? I'm not entirely sure the idea is as far
> fetched as I originally thought it was, but I thought I'd get other
> perspectives on it.
>
>

__________________________________________________________
Lèche-vitrine ou lèche-écran ?
magasinage.yahoo.ca

16 Dec 2004 - 7:49pm
Marijke Rijsberman
2004

Bill said:
> Things such as "Projects/Initiatives and Employee Resources" may all
> be valid top level navigation sections, independent of the
> organization you're in. Then within each, there may even be some
> basics that are pretty standard, as well. For example, under Employee
> Resources, you could likely have "Vacation Requests, Retirement Plans,
> Health Information, etc."

I have been working on an ongoing intranet project that uses a task-based IA
instead of an organization-based IA. I've been thinking that it's possible
to productize the core IA.

Companies differ from each other in two ways:
1. In how they organize their departments. But they basically all do the
same administrative stuff, including benefits, facilities, procurement,
helpdesk. What this means is that if you circumvent the departments in your
IA, you're basically going to provide the same structure no matter where you
go.
2. By size. You have to be big enough to have certain types of content,
because there are economies of scale in publishing (and maintaining)
content. What that means is that how much content there is in the core
administrative IA pretty closely correlates with how big the company is.

So, yes, I agree completely.

Of course that leaves out of account the intranet content that is directly
related to the core business of the company. Getting those hooked in to a
centralized IA is where it gets really interesting.

Marijke

Marijke Rijsberman
Interfacility

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