MAX Solutions needed to redevelop its intranet so it could become a central business tool that reduces inefficiencies and aligns the ways employees work across Australia.
MAX Solutions is a national organisation that delivers employment, health and training services, best known for its work as the employment service provider, MAX Employment.
Since opening in 2002, MAX Solutions has offered proven solutions to support individuals, business and the Australian Government achieve outcomes that benefit the community.
MAX Solutions has employees in 250 locations across Australia. It was essential the organisation redeveloped its current intranet to create a single source of truth for all processes and standards, leverage the technical capabilities of SharePoint to automate manual processes, and provide easy-to-find information that allows users to self-serve.
The Breadcrumb Digital process has been refined from project to project to ensure we take the most efficient and successful approach to developing an intranet. An important focus for this project was ensuring we gained insights into user and business requirements, and factored the need to maintain a greenfield Office365 environment into our planning.
This project involved a number of research activities with both stakeholders and users to ensure that our understanding of user needs and system priorities was accurate before design and development stages were started.
The first of these activities was an intranet team workshop – a group interview with key members of the MAX Solutions team to identify current standards of the intranet as well as a vision and roadmap for improvements.
The findings from this workshop became driving themes for initial interviews which explored perceived pain points and suggestions for improvement from the perspective of both stakeholders and users.
Content audit and gap analysis
An audit of the existing Office 365 and on premise environments, coupled with responses from stakeholders and users, formed the basis of a content gap analysis. This gap analysis highlighted areas where there was a mismatch between available content and user needs, helping guide new content development.
From this initial stage of user research, we ran several card-based activities to develop an information architecture (IA) that better supported user needs.
The first of these activities was a card sort, where users were given a deck of cards containing each content heading, asked to sort them into groups, and then name the groups they created. By analysing the most common groupings and ordering headings based on industry practices and stakeholder needs, we created a first draft of the IA.
To refine our draft IA, we then asked users to participate in several rounds of card based classification testing. These tests use a deck that contains numbered cards for each content heading which are grouped according to the proposed IA. Users were prompted to navigate to certain information as they would on the actual intranet by selecting cards from the options at each level in the IA, similarly to navigating through a menu, until they believe they have completed the task.
The results of this test were collated and used to make revisions to naming and ordering within the IA, which was then tested with another round of classification testing. This was repeated until the IA presented information in a way that was intuitive to most users and accommodated their primary needs.
Wireframes and conceptual graphic design
From this IA we identified the basic page styles that the intranet required, such as a home page, content page, and other pages that related directly to the intranet’s needs.
We then created wireframes, which are essentially bare-bones representations of how site elements would be laid out on each of the page styles at a generic level.
These wireframes were then given a conceptual graphic design treatment to reflect the MAX Solutions branding, ensuring everything adhered to industry accessibility standards.
Apart from helping MAX Solutions’ developers to build a new intranet, the team highlighted a number of recommendations around content strategy, governance, search configuration, and user experience the intranet team can use as part of their SharePoint roadmap.