Jakob Nielsen believes companies can save $5 million a year and achieve 1,000 percent ROI simply by making their intranets more effective. Excerpts from an interview in CIO Insight:
The search on individual Web sites or inside intranets is, typically, still bad. And it’s bad in all the different aspects of search. It’s usually not unified searchno one search can search everything. This is a particular intranet problem. Things are divided up into different knowledge bases, so you’ve got to know where to search, and if you need to know where to go to search, then that defeats the entire idea.
The other problem about search is the content, which is to say the individual pages, or units of information, are typically poorly described in terms of things like the headline and the summaries, which is all people have to choose from when they get the search-results listing. So if there was just one thing we could fix on the Web, and for intranets as well, I would say let’s fix search; that’s still the number one single thing that’s causing people problems.
The second thing that’s causing the most problems is information architecture, which continues to be driven more by how the information is produced than by how it’s consumed. Intranets are usually divided up by which department does which things, as opposed to what tasks employees have, or which work activities people have.