Getting a new intranet can be very exciting for a hospital. Having a new, virtual, meeting place where employees can collaborate, communicate, and access the information they need on a day-to-day basis can really revolutionize how a hospital does business and saves lives. However, with the amount of information that’s available and needs to be shared, how that content is presented is crucial to the effectiveness of having an intranet. The content layout needs to be very well-thought out and logical. The more content that’s published, the tougher it may be to keep everything organized. As the Manager of Client Services, I see a lot of intranets that serve as more of an information dumping ground than a centralized communication hub.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had several inquiries from clients who have been looking for help in making their intranet more efficient. If they could use the help, I figured they’re not alone. In this blog post, I’ll touch on some of the things that could help other hospitals with their intranet layouts, focusing on the Welcome page.
As I stated earlier, with vast amount of information employees need to access, it’s very easy for the welcome page to get out of control. Here at HospitalPortal.net, our rule of thumb for the Welcome page is to only put up information that will be relevant to 90% - 95% of the staff that will have access. This could include items like an hospital-wide calendar; ‘quick links’ to other tools, systems, and websites that your employees need to access on a daily basis.
Probably the most imperative aspects of having an affective and efficient Welcome page are the navigation tools. In lieu of saving your employees a click or two to access the policies and procedures or the various departments, consolidate some of those items to make them fit neatly and effectively. In the example above, we’ve consolidated contracts, forms, and policies and procedures into a ‘Documents’ section. In a similar strategy, instead of listing all departments on the main menu bar, just put up the most widely accessed departments or the most important ones while having the other departments linked on a ‘Departments’ landing page. Although it may take a couple of clicks to get to what they’re looking for, it’s more important that they know where to click to access that information.
You also want to minimize scrolling on the Welcome Page. Although additional mouse clicks may actually increase productivity, the need to scroll excessively could be devastating to the effectiveness of an intranet. To help save space, you could incorporate rotating images (i.e. in the ‘Story of the Week’ section in the picture above) that are linkable/clickable to other pages on the intranet. This type of mixed media will also help employees stay engaged. You want to get the right blend of pictures and text in order to do this most effectively.
Finally, make sure you’re using the tools properly. Most intranets have a HTML tool or component that allows users much flexibility when publishing content. But just because you can use that tool to publish a lot of your content, check to see if there are other, more specialized, tools that could make the publishing of that content easier. These specialized tools could help keep pictures uniform, or assist in a formatting template. If you get hung up, just call or email your vendor who could help you with choosing which tools to use in certain situations. Learn about all the tools in your intranet toolbox to help create the best layout and functionality for your hospital.
For a few more tips on homepage content, check out this post with 5 more ideas.