SCORING AT A GLANCE: 0 = extremely poor, not implemented • 1 = very poor • 2 = poor • 3 = good • 4 = very good • 5 = excellent, exceeds criteria
Content has been written and presented with an understanding of the online medium
Research shows that people do not read online in the same way as they do printed information. Content pages should:
Support scanning. Online users tend to scan read until they are sure they have found the correct information. To support scanning, content pages should have a clear heading, make frequent use of sub-headings, use bullet lists (where appropriate) and use bold to highlight key information.
Be written in the active voice. The active voice style typically produces sentences that are more concise.
Use the inverted pyramid writing style. Content should be written in the following order: summary, key points, and then details.
Make appropriate use of graphics to draw attention to key information.
0: Content is not written for the online medium. Pages are overly long, hard to read, or difficult to scan. Much of the information has been directly cut-and-pasted from documents without rewriting or restructuring.
5: All content is easy to scan, is written in the active voice, uses the inverted pyramid writing style and makes appropriate use of graphics. Content sourced from documents has been rewritten or restructured.
The use of jargon or technical terms is appropriate for the audience
Not all staff, especially new employees, will understand jargon, technical terms and acronyms that are used in some (or all) areas of the organisation. This includes jargon used widely within an industry, as well as terms specific to the organisation itself (such as acronyms for projects or business units).
0: Jargon, technical terms and acronyms are used extensively throughout the site, and are not explained when used.
5: The site uses commonly-understood language, and avoids jargon or technical terms wherever possible. When jargon or acronyms are used, these are explained.
Content is not duplicated
There should be a single, authoritative version of content on the intranet. Even on a large intranet maintained by multiple business areas, there should not be duplicated documents, pages or content.
It is particularly damaging when there are multiple versions of a document or page, updated at different times and containing slightly different information, with no authoritative version.
0: There are many duplicated documents on the intranet, or linked to from the site. In many cases, it is impossible to determine which is the most recent or authoritative version.
5: There are no duplicated documents or pages. Where information is presented in multiple locations on the intranet, the source content is maintained once, in a single location.
Content is up to date
A critical issue for intranets is to ensure that the information presented is accurate and up to date. Out of date information can be confusing for staff and creates mistrust in the currency of all intranet content.
0: A significant proportion of intranet content is out of date or inaccurate.
5: The vast majority of intranet content is up to date, and the currency of content is regularly reviewed.
The currency of information is clearly indicated
Staff must be able to easily determine whether content on the intranet is up to date. The currency of information should therefore be clearly presented on all pages, so that staff know it can be trusted.
0: There is no ‘last updated date’ or other review date listed on the majority of intranet pages. There is no other indication of when content was last reviewed, when the next review date is for the period for which the content is valid.
5: The currency of all content is clearly displayed for all pages. This includes listing a ‘last updated date’, as well as potentially indicating the period for which the content is valid.
The content owner is indicated on all pages
Identifying the content owner provides staff with a clear point of contact for follow-up questions and queries. Note that in some situations, it may be useful to distinguish between the author of the page, and the owner of the information itself.
0: Content owners have not been identified for intranet content, and ownership information is not presented on the site.
5: The name of the content owner is published on every page of the intranet. The name is a link to email the content owner, a link to the relevant staff directory page, or a link to a feedback form.
Content is published in an appropriate format
Key content should be available in HTML format. Secondary information (such as meeting minutes) should be published in the most appropriate format, recognising that it is not practical to convert all documents into HTML format.
0: A significant amount of key site content is not available in HTML format (it is only available in document formats such as PDF, Word or Excel). At worst, the intranet may consistent almost entirely of links to documents, which may be stored on a shared drive.
5: All key content is available in HTML format. There is a clear policy for deciding which format to use when publishing content, and this has been applied consistently throughout the intranet.
The detail and complexity of information is appropriately layered
Complex content should be appropriately ‘layered’, by presenting an initial summary of the information, before providing more detailed content. This enables staff to easily obtain key details without having to read through long or complex pages. It also allows staff to quickly determine the information is what they require before clicking through to further content.
(Common examples of poorly-layered content are very long and detailed pages on the intranet, without any summaries or at-a-glance information.)
0: Detailed content is not appropriately layered. Summaries are not commonly provided, and staff are often confronted with complex and detailed information.
5: Detailed content is appropriately layers, with summaries written that capture key information. Further, more detailed, information is then available where required.