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    4. Page layout and design

    SCORING AT A GLANCE: 0 = extremely poor, not implemented • 1 = very poor • 2 = poor • 3 = good • 4 = very good • 5 = excellent, exceeds criteria



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    There is a consistent visual appearance across all sections of the intranet

    A consistent appearance enables staff to move around the site without unnecessary distraction, as well as reinforcing a strong brand identity. Different sections of the site may be differentiated by subtle design variations.

    As staff may be using the intranet frequently, it is important that it has high visual appeal. High visual appeal help to communicate credibility so staff have confidence that the intranet is being well managed.

    0: There are significant inconsistencies across different sections of the intranet. The intranet may consist of separate ‘sub sites’ with completely different appearances. Similar elements (such as headings) have an inconsistent appearance across the site.

    5: The appearance is completely consistent across the site, with one look-and-feel across the whole intranet.


    The intranet should have a clear and effective brand identity

    The brand identity matches and supports the organisational culture.

    The visual brand must be appropriate for the organisation. For example, for a large corporation the visual brand should be conservative and professional; for a smaller, innovative organisation it may have more character.

    0: The intranet has no clear visual identity or branding.

    5: The intranet has a strong visual identity that reflects the organisational culture. This branding reinforces the purpose and value of the intranet, and helps to build trust in the site.


    The visual design of the intranet is clearly distinguished from the public website

    There must be a clear distinction between the intranet and the public (external) website of the organisation. This allows staff to identify which information is public, and which is internal (and therefore potentially confidential).

    0: There is no distinction between the page layout and design of the intranet and public website.

    5: The intranet has a strong brand identity that clearly distinguishes it from the public website.


    There is a clean and effective page layout

    The intranet should have a consistent page layout that is attractive and effective, allowing users to easily identify key page elements (such as the title).

    Cluttered pages make it hard for staff to scan the page and to identify key information. A consistent layout allows staff to always know where content will be on a page and how to use key page elements.

    It should be easy for staff to identify the different zones on the page, and content should be in predictable locations on the page. This includes clearly displaying the page title in an obvious location.

    White space should be used appropriately, and should be easy to determine what the most important information is and relationships between items.

    0: The page layout is poorly designed, cluttered or unattractive. It is not easy to identify the most important information on the page.

    5: The intranet has a consistent page layout that is attractive and cleanly designed. Major page elements (such as the title) are clearly distinguished, and visual elements (such as colour and white space) are effectively used to prioritise key information.


    Page length is appropriate for context

    Navigation pages, such as home pages and section pages, should have reduced page length. Ideally all key content should be presented without the need to scroll.

    Content pages should be as long as necessary to support uninterrupted reading and enable staff to print content easily.

    0: Page length is frequently inappropriate, for example, navigation pages are overly long, or related content is split across many pages.

    5: Page length is always appropriate for content.


    Fonts are appropriate and legible

    Small font sizes and poor contrast between font and background colour can make text hard to read. People find it easier to read dark text on a light background.

    A percentage of staff may be colour-blind, the most common colour-blindness is red-green.

    0: Font sizes are small or do not scale properly across browsers or screen sizes. There is poor contrast between font and background colours.

    5: Font size is easily readable, and scales correctly to match screen sizes. Staff may be provided with a mechanism to set their desired font size. Text always has good contrast.


    Graphics are used appropriately to support content

    Graphics should only be used when they increase the clarity of the information on the intranet. Graphics should not be used as decoration to make the intranet seem more appealing, as this will impact on loading times, particularly for staff on slow connections.

    0: Decorative (or other non-functional) graphics are frequently used, and this noticeably impacts on page loading times for staff on slow connections.

    5: Graphics are used where they add clarity to the information on the intranet.


    Page weight is appropriate for the connection speed of staff

    Page weight should be kept to a minimum, to ensure that the intranet works well for staff using slow connections. Some pages will require a higher weight, such as video content, and these should be clearly labelled.

    0: Pages typically take 10 or more seconds to load on a standard connection. Some of the very commonly-used pages (such as the home page or top-level section pages) have a very high page weight.

    5: Pages consistently load in less than 3 seconds on a standard connection for staff.


    Page layouts display correctly at all relevant resolutions

    The overall page layout for the intranet should display correctly on all computers used by staff, throughout the organisation. In practice, this may involve supporting a range of screen sizes, from lower resolutions (640x480 or 800x600) to higher resolutions (1024x768 or above).

    In particular, the intranet should work on machines used by staff in remote locations, or in front-line environments. If appropriate, the intranet should also be usable on any hand-held computers used by staff.

    0: The page layout is fixed, and works only on higher-resolution displays. Staff using older machines or those with lower resolution have difficulty using the intranet.

    5: The intranet page layout works well on all computers used throughout the organisation, regardless of resolution. The page layout appropriately resizes to match the display resolution used. Where appropriate, the intranet can also be meaningfully used on hand-held computers used by staff.


    Page layouts, design and coding are accessible for impaired and disabled users

    The intranet should be accessible for impaired and disabled staff. There are various accessibility guidelines that should be followed, such as:

    0: The site is inaccessible for impaired or disabled staff.

    5: The site is accessible for impaired and disabled staff and complies with relevant accessibility standards. Pages have been tested with all impaired or disabled users within the organisation, to ensure that the site works well for them in practice.


    Pages can be printed

    Staff will need to print some pages of the intranet, and these should print cleanly. This includes removing inappropriate page elements (such as navigation) and ensuring that the text on the page fits on the standard paper width.

    Ideally the site should use cascading style sheets (CSS) that optimise the printed version of the page so that irrelevant information is not included on the print-outs. Alternatively, a ‘printed version’ link or button should be provided on all pages.

    0: Intranet pages do not print cleanly, with the inappropriate elements (such as navigation) appearing in the printed version. Text is cut-off at the edge of the printed page in some situations.

    5: Content pages print cleanly and irrelevant information (such as global navigation) is not included on the print-outs. Staff do not have to take any extra steps or actions to ensure that pages print out correctly.


    Pop-up windows are used appropriately

    The use of pop-up windows (where a second browser window is opened when clicking on a link) should be kept to a minimum. Pop-up windows should only be used in situations such as:

    • When linking to a document (such as a PDF or Word document)

    • To provide supporting information during a process

    • When linking to pages outside of the intranet

    Pop-up windows should not be used for different sections of the site, or for other internal links within the intranet.

    0: The intranet makes frequent (and inappropriate) use of pop-up windows. In particular, pop-up windows are used when linking to other sections of the intranet.

    5: There is a clearly-defined (and documented) policy on the use of pop-up windows. This has been applied throughout the intranet, and pop-up windows are only used in situations such as those specified above.



    Page layout and visual design (percentage score)


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    Step Two Designs

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