The Intranet differs from the Internet in a number of ways. This article will therefore concentrate on the basics of intranet design and note down a number of key issues relevant to intranet design and how this differs from internet design.
1. Functions and Purposes. It is essential that you have a clear picture of what your intranet has to achieve - for what it will be used. This is its purpose. From its purpose, you will then determine its functions
2. Tasks. You should understand that the intranet will be used for day to day functions in an organization - and the functions will be much more complex than those on the internet. The design has to be task oriented; enabling your intranet to achieve its purpose
3. Users. You should understand that you are designing an intranet for employees of an organization and not the genral public. Thus its structure, methodology, content should be structured based on their mentality and requirements
4. Information. Intranets, unlike the internet, handles data in various forms. From reports to drafts to presentations to progress updates. The information in an intranet is also more than in a typical internet website; and is more complicated. Therefore, the intranet should be designed with keeping the type, amount and format of information. Additionally, security factors should also be taken in mind since this information is something that should not leak out.
5. Bandwidth. Compared to internet websites, bandwidth is not a problem. Therefore, having rich graphics and multimedia is acceptable.
6. Hardware. Servers will be an essential part. Your design should reflect your requirements in terms of the hardware.
7. Software. Apart from server software, collaboration software to allow for flexible communication will be essential - such as VoIP software, video conferencing, whiteboard, chat and so forth.
8. User Interface. You should understand that the intranet will be accessed many times. Therefore having an easy and simple user interface will be important. This includes design and navigation factors.
9. Structure. Your intranet's navigational structure should be easy, ordered and accessible - since time will be an important factors. The speed and ease with which information is found will affect productivity. All in all, apart from the absence of SEO/SEM and factors as mentioned above, intranet design is no different than internet design - think of it as frying fish or boiling it!