DCMS Wordpress-based intranet case study - cheaper, quicker, and user-centred
Continuing what appears to be turning into a series on alternative intranets technologies, here is a great study from the UK about relaunching the Department for Culture, Media & Sport's intranet with Wordpress.
There are two main reasons for reading this case study:
- If you haven't looked seriously under the hood of Wordpress in recent years, you probably won't appreciate that it has evolved from a blogging tool into a sophisticated Web content management system.
- If you want to understand what is involved in creating a simple, effective intranet then this is a stand out case study.
The intranet for the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) supports the work of 380 staff, who manage a diverse portfolio of policy areas.
Some key facts about their new intranet:
- It was designed, built and populated within 2 months.
- The new intranet has a modern, responsive design.
- It cost £15,000 to develop (~AU$22,000) (the information architecture was developed internally, they didn't bother with wireframes and I assume content migration was managed internally).
- Ongoing hosting, support and iterative development will cost 90% less than their old intranet.
Design and Development Approach
Using Wordpress, an open source platform, is only one part of the story in this case study. Under-pining the new intranet was a user-centred and agile design approach based on the UK government's Government Digital Service Design Principles:
- Start with (user) needs
- Do less
- Design with data
- Do the hard work to make it simple
- Iterate. Then iterate again.
- Build for inclusion
- Understand context
- Build digital services, not websites
- Be consistent, not uniform
- Make things open: it makes things better
The results is an intranet that is built in an iterative fashion (it was launched as a 'beta' before it was finished), around a task-orientated information architecture:
You can read more detail (and see more screenshots) about this case study on Luke Oatham's blog:
Does this mean that Wordpress is the perfect technical solution for every intranet? No, but I do think that many intranets are over complex and beyond fit for purpose.
What is important about this case study is the combination of right approach and right technology. Since the technologies already exist, what is stopping you from creating an agile intranet?