Making an “Out of the Box” Customized for the Users

Company Intranet Homepage


The company‚Äôs corporate Intranet software platform was being updated for technical needs. To save money an “out of the box” solution was used, but the product sponsor thought it looked too generic. I was brought in to see where improvements were needed and what could be done for the highest ROI.

  • Problems & Constraints
    To justify the price of the upgrade the product sponsor wanted a measurable difference in ease of use, any changes needed to be justified with testing. Also any way to keep within the off-the-self templates was preferred as much as possible.
  • Personas
    While all employees access the system, after studying the analytics I reduced down to:
    Editors care about easily adding new content daily.
    Project Managers care about promoting information as projects are finished to the larger affected employee audience.
    General Employee cares about items affecting them, usually ignoring other items.
    New Hire Employee cares about predefined lists of information and static documents.
  • Team Dynamics – 1 year
    Project Managers-2, Researchers-1, Designers-2, Software Engineers-3


  • Usage of the new intranet doubled based on analytic comparison.
  • Features most requested by employees (eg. the cafeteria menu) could be placed to encourage reading of needed information.

Exploratory Research

Personal Contributions

Contextual InterviewsBecause of template use, interviews were done for the developers familiar with the system limitations. User stories were collected from the product managers and prioritized by need and number of user requests.

I compiled a list of the highest priority user stories then cross referenced them based on the interviews. I was able to review click counts for each of the user stories. Based on the info I created a report to recommend the the template to use for the lowest number clicks for a faster and easier user experience.

Heuristics Evaluation

Pages had been been created before I joined the project. I reviewed the site in the current state and pointed out problem areas and made recommendations based on what the weak areas were.

Iterative Research

The project was being handled as an Agile process. To help with the research process I would stay one sprint ahead of the developers when possible.
To test the customization of the template system different variations were created for the front page as well as different responsive layouts. The wireframes were tested for task completion and time needed.

Information location was tested to find the most natural spot that did not introduce advertisement blindness.
Interaction design was tested by testing different placements of calls to action.
User task completion rate and time was tested to compare ease of use between different designs.


Different reports were created based on the audience. General overviews for project managers and weekly updates were created for the build team in the template system within the system.