As a web designer for an intranet company, the first question I typically receive after ‘what do you do’ is ‘what is an intranet?’ So I’ve written this blog post to explain the difference between intranet design and website design.
Often when I tell people I work for a company that makes intranets, they think I’m talking about the Internet. I’m not sure what they think we’re doing, but they’ll usually just smile and nod their heads. I’ll be honest with you before I started working here, I didn’t even know what an intranet was, and I consider myself tech-savvy.
I figure I can’t be the only one! Other than the fact that both are made with code, the intranet and the internet are two very different things. I aim to clear up any confusion, as well as explain what is intranet design and how it’s different from web design.
So, what is an intranet, and what is a website?
Here’s the difference!
Websites are hosted on the internet and are publicly accessible. They are generally focused on marketing products or services.
On the other hand, an intranet is hosted on a private network that is only accessible by your company, either via an on-premise server or the cloud. Usually, industries that require high security prefer to use a private cloud or an on-premise intranet software, like healthcare or financial industries. Modern intranets are designed to help companies improve their productivity levels by solving many internal problems by keeping employees engaged and informed.
How to design a website
Visitors to a company website are generally not very familiar with the company. Often they will be first-time visitors. Therefore it is essential to design your website with first-time visitors in mind.
Usually, website content will include information about the company, as well as the products or services they provide. The goal is often to get users to convert, which means to get a visitor to become a customer by buying a product or service.
To convert visitors into paying customers, your website design must make it very easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for, and fast. Most users will stay on a website for less than a minute if their attention isn’t captured right off the bat or if they don’t know what they’re supposed to do. Surprisingly, users don’t want to think, so giving them too much information can often be overwhelming and cause them to leave your site.
Solve this problem by making the call to action (usually clicking a button) the focus of the page, so it is the first thing a visitor will notice. Remember to keep it simple, and that white space is your friend!
How to design an intranet
Intranets are designed very differently because they have a very different goal. There is no need for a prominent call to action, but there’s still a need to make everything simple and easy for staff to find. Intranets are accessed by the same people every day, so they become highly familiar to the users. Therefore, it is alright to display more links, pages, and apps because users will not feel overwhelmed by something familiar.
One of the most critical elements of intranet design is the navigational system. That is where most company intranets store links to everything an employee might be looking for, so it’s mandatory to label everything in your navbar very clearly.
Most companies like having separate people directories/sites on their intranet for each of the departments. That way, each department can store information relevant to only them on their site. It’s easy to delegate a different admin to each site, so one person doesn’t have to be in charge of managing the entire intranet platform.
IC’s intranet is designed so that all customizations can be done on the front end. That means anyone can update or design them. No coding knowledge is required.
We have different sites for all our departments, as well as many relevant links displayed in our drop-down menus. We also use icons to help make different resources and links easier to locate.
Intranets and websites are considerably different and need to be designed and structured to fit the needs of the users. Understanding the goals, requirements, and users of each is essential before diving into the design.
You can also book a FREE DEMO call with us today for some pro intranet solutions. We are all about making the workplace an easier, happier place to be.
You may also take our complimentary internal communications assessment to get a detailed report on the strengths and weaknesses of all your intranet efforts!