Intranet Usability Guidelines: Findings from User Testing of 42 Intranets

3rd Edition

Report PDF cover image

Improving the usability of your intranet will increase employee productivity, knowledge, satisfaction, and collaboration. These reports outline detailed recommendations for enhancing the intranet experience from both and employee and business perspective, based on our observational research studies.

This series includes nine reports on specific topics and presents 782 guidelines. Discussions, 938 screenshots of intranets, charts, and illustrations supplement the findings.

Buy individual reports, or save 48% when you purchase all 9 volumes together: in total 1,505 pages constituting a complete intranet usability library.

Individual Reports

Vol. 01: Research Overview and How to Run Your Own Studies
Learn how we collected data for the Intranet Usability Guidelines research series so you can apply the guidelines appropriately and know how to run your own usability studies.

Vol. 02: Accessing the Intranet: Address, Homepage, and Personalization
Create an engaging intranet homepage, easy login procedures, and personalized content to deliver secure information to the right employees at the right time.

Vol. 03: HR Benefits, Forms, and Employee Self-Service Features
Ensure that employees can access and understand their benefits, and the organization’s policies and procedures via the Intranet. Create automated workflows and remove the need for cumbersome downloadable forms.

Vol. 04: Communications: News, Newsletters, and Social Features
Motivate, inform, and involve employees through news articles and deploy social networking features effectively on your intranet.

Vol. 05: Information about People, Teams, Departments, and the Company (Incl. Corporate Policies)
Learn how to best present information about people, teams, and organizational charts on your intranet. Determine the best employee profile elements for your organization.

Vol. 06: Searching the Intranet and the Employee Directory
Improve and streamline intranet search and employee directory search interactions.

Vol. 07: Navigation and Page Layout
Make intranet users aware that information exists, and make it easy for users to find information through browsing.

Vol. 08: Content Management and Supporting Multiple Locations and Languages
Overcome the challenges of managing and delivering content for your intranet users in one location or many.

Vol. 09: Managing the Intranet and Teams
A good intranet user experience requires management, strategy, governance, and appropriate resources. Follow 29 tips for creating and maintaining a solid intranet team.

What’s new in the 3rd edition?

The third edition contains additional recommendations and examples — increasing from 614 to 782 guidelines based on research conducted at 15 new companies (plus the 27 from studies for volumes one and two.).

This edition also covers new topics, including:

  • Social networking
  • Different IA models
  • Faceted search and navigation
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Intranet personas

Research Method

The information in these reports is based on three separate rounds of user research with company employees as participants. We used two different research methods:

  • One-on-one usability testing
  • Field studies, during which we followed and observed employees as they went about their normal work

Hundreds of people tested 42 intranets. The studies took place in the United States, the United Kingdom, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, United Arab Emirates, and China (Hong Kong).

In addition, Volume 2 and 9 include findings from data obtained from surveys given out at multiple Nielsen Norman Group Usability Week conferences to intranet designers.


Research Reports

Training Courses


Which License?


Purchase an individual license if the report or video will only be used by one person.

Customers who choose an individual license are not authorized to share the report or video with anyone else, or post it to any internal or external file server, website, or intranet. Individual License Terms


Purchase a group license if the report or video will be used by multiple people within your organization.

Customers who choose a group license are authorized to post the report or video on internal file servers or intranets and make it available to others within the organization. The group license does not grant permission to make the report/video available to people not employed by your organization, the general public, or to post it to a publicly accessible website or file server. Group License Terms


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Intranet Usability Guidelines: Findings from User Testing of 42 Intranets

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Intranet Usability Guidelines: Findings from User Testing of 42 Intranets

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