Improving employee experience (EX) has become a driving factor for internal communications teams in recent years. A highly customizable intranet can have a powerful impact on this, but what should you look for when it comes to customization and design options that will be right for your organization?

When it comes to choosing the best internal comms platform for improving employee experience, it’s prudent to look for a solution that can be easily customized to address your organization’s challenges, rather than a rigid, one-size-fits-all solution that glazes over some of your historical internal comms issues and cannot be tweaked.

Customization and design are essential elements if you want to ensure your internal comms platform addresses your organization’s specific challenges and helps employees to connect with a digital workplace that is trusted and recognizable. This is one of the main reasons why intranets remain popular in successful workplaces, because they are uniquely customizable.

Unlike most business apps, a customizable intranet can be named and branded entirely in line with company guidelines. The user experience (UX) can be customized to the needs of employees and the demands of the industry. The content and the design can work together to increase employee engagement and implement values on every digital touchpoint. Discovering how customizable the intranet you are considering is requires investigation.

What to look for in a customizable intranet

1. Decentralized publishing

Businesswoman smiling at laptop in modern office
A customizable intranet should allow different employees to publish content without giving them control of the system.

An intranet requires a range of different authors to make its content engaging and relevant. How can your software be customized to encourage different authors in my business?

Interact includes a range of user types so that many different people can publish content on an intranet but not have overall control of the system. This enhances contributions from employees and ensures that publishing is decentralized rather than bottlenecked through a smaller team of authors. At the same time, control and permissions can be set so that comms managers retain control of the platform and its content.

The essential guide to planning an intranet

Get this free step-by-step guide to planning and launching your new intranet software.

This kind of flow is key to keeping an intranet relevant. Roles include:

  • Power Users – have full control over the product (e.g., all settings, configuration)
  • Administrators – have full control of a site (e.g., Sales have control over the sales portal part of your intranet, Marketing controls the marketing area and so on)
  • Approved Authors – may add, edit, and delete content within a specific site
  • Authors – may create content to be approved by an Administrator (using workflow and notifications) before publication

In addition, Interact includes other permission levels in some specific applications. Blogging, for example, can be generally available or can be assigned only to core individuals such as the leadership team and senior managers. All of these permissions are designed to enable organizations of any size to scale their customizable intranet as they need.

2. Brand and accessibility

Female hands on laptop keyboard accessing custom intranet
Your customizable intranet should remove any headaches around branding and accessibility.

Can your employee experience platform be branded and designed to make it reflect the style and culture of the company using it?

Our customizable intranet design specialists work closely with customers to understand who they are and what they stand for, translating that into the perfect look and feel for your organization. Getting a customizable intranet that extends your brand can boost company culture and raise employee engagement.

When the time comes to change your intranet’s design, the process of customization is simple. Build pages using a range of widgets, drag and drop to move content around, and resize elements with a single click.

For umbrella companies that own multiple sub-brands (each with unique branding), multiple design themes are supported. This ensures users are assigned to their brand but still part of a wider group.

The essential guide to planning an intranet

Get this free step-by-step guide to planning and launching your new intranet software.

Unique company branding can also be applied within the public mobile app. This reinforces company identity across more touchpoints for a more comprehensive employee experience on your customizable intranet. From an accessibility standpoint, the product aligns to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 level AA.

3. User experience

Man in office leans on window and browses custom intranet on smartphone.
User experience is an important consideration when choosing a customizable intranet.

How does the platform make the user experience easy and enjoyable for all employees? Interact is flexible and users can engage with content via desktop and responsive (I.e., mobile and tablet) experiences as well as in native mobile apps.

On the native mobile app, layout and content selection can be controlled by your chosen managers for your customizable intranet (e.g., horizontal or vertical scrolling of content). Mobile apps can also be distributed via MDM/ MAM (e.g., MobileIron, Microsoft Intune) and can also be white-labeled for increased brand recognition.

Content can also be consumed through business apps. For example, Teams and Slack can show updates on content publication within channels. The Interact customizable intranet platform can also be directly accessed within the Teams app to increase users’ ability to integrate all content and communications in one place.

4. Design templates

Custom intranet wireframe sketch on paper.
Your customizable intranet should provide design templates with different layouts.

Does the product support design templates that non-developers can create, share, and reuse?

Templates with different layouts are included within Interact. These templates include a variety of formats for varying titles, image positions, tables, and more. We also frequently create templates for customers based on unique requirements.

The essential guide to planning an intranet

Get this free step-by-step guide to planning and launching your new intranet software.

To help spark creativity and distinctive usage within an organization, even non-software-developers (intranet authors) can create their own templates in the content editor. These can then be used by others throughout the customizable intranet platform.

Homepages and landing pages can also be templated with the option to build one template (with widgets, images, and content layout), which can be duplicated for different audiences. Customizable intranet homepages themselves have over 30 content objects available (including social media feeds, calendars, and more) and each can be reused and has a multitude of layout options for your customizable intranet.

5. Developer support

Man works on laptop in sunny office pod.
A customizable intranet should provide developer support and resources.

What developer resources and support – such as APIs and software development – do you provide for further intranet development and customization?

Although it is an out-of-the-box intranet solution where everything is ready to use, Interact also offers extensive flexibility through the Developer Framework. This framework allows organizations to customize their experience and build additional integrations that serve their businesses.

Whether you need to add a business-critical app to your homepage or include specialist data sources in your search results, the Developer Framework can drive even greater adoption of your customizable intranet.

Final thoughts on choosing the right customizable intranet

The business software products which we all use every day are important in helping us to complete work, but only an intranet feels like the digital home for an organization. Putting in place a system to meet your organization’s specific EX challenges can feel overwhelming, but armed with the right questions and an understanding of what to look for, we hope you have a better starting point in your conversations.

The essential guide to planning an intranet

Get this free step-by-step guide to planning and launching your new intranet software.