Global Intranet Revamping

Global Intranet Revamping

Siemens and its subsidiaries employ approximately 311,000 people worldwide and reported global revenue of around €72 billion in 2022.

🏆 award

Nominated for best intranet in the world by the Berlin Intranet Commission, June 2023.

🧑🏽‍💻 Role

UX Design and UI Design

⏱️ Duration

3 years, since 2020

👬 Team

1 UI/UX designer, 1 UX designer, 4 developers, 1 product owner, and 1 scrum master.

🛠️ Tools

Sketch then Figma, Invision, Illustrator, Photoshop.

Overview

The project was about revamping the whole look and feel and improving the user experience as well as making the backend more centralized for our Siemens Intranet. Everything should be accessible on this platform.

Solution

Revamp Siemens Intranet to be mobile-responsive and seamlessly integrate with internal applications. This unified system enhances employee access, collaboration, and efficiency while ensuring a consistent user experience.

Problem Statement

The existing Siemens Intranet is outdated, not mobile-ready, and lacks integration with other internal applications. This hinders employee access to vital information and collaboration tools, resulting in reduced efficiency and effectiveness within the organization. We aim to modernize the Intranet, making it mobile-responsive, and seamlessly integrate it with other internal applications to enhance employee productivity, streamline communication, and provide a more efficient platform for information sharing and collaboration.

Design Thinking Approach

My Process

I follow the design thinking approach on all my recent UI/UX work. 

It adds value and saved time in conceptualizing a bespoke product but also being user-centric. The process that simplifies design thinking in my honest opinion is the Double Diamond Design Process, it has four phases, discover, define, develop and deliver. These phases tough on the elements required for design thinking but in a much more concise fashion.

Click below for more information about the process and view a detailed diagram. 

1. Discover Phase

Understanding and getting insight into the problem

GETTING STARTED

Analysing the brief and defining research areas

The brief came in with already recommended requirements and other options we may consider adding on. 

We conducted our own research to check with areas could use with some improvements from users and stakeholders so we try to find a balance then document this in Confluence.

We decided on prios with stakeholders, began drafting concepts, and deciding on research areas. 

We had analytics from the previous platform that guided us to the dominant features.

PRIMARY RESEARCH, EMPATHY

Personas and user research

Personas

The personas challenged what was previously developed in several ways, some elements were not accessible, features could not be found and new features were required.

Our personas’ age ranged from 18 – 65 years working professionals across all races and genders on a global scale. We needed to make sure we cover all corners with our personas and what they might require. Especially on a daily basis. 

Their primary goal would be to access all internal Siemens platforms and news.

User Groups and User Interviews

Our initial phase required a user group session, this was easy, we started of with the product core team and a few stakeholders to analyse and improve on the brief requirements as a team. New features were suggested and old ones where improved on.  

The user interviews highlighted what our analytics from the previous version showed, users struggle to find what they are looking for and are not sure where to even start looking. We also have platforms that users are not aware of. 

NB: This process (user groups and interviews) is reiterated in the develop and deliver phases which in turn affects our opportunities and insights in the define phase.

2. Define Phase

Focus areas

INSIGHTS + opportunity area

Pain points and challenges

Siemens already had a global intranet that was however outdated, not being responsive (across all devices) was one of the major pains on this but firstly, we had to make sure that all the popular features we had in the past are fully functionally and how can we improve on them.

Our surveys and interviews were conducted in English and German and had to be summarised holistically. This is mainly why we needed a German UX consultant, some features were only available in German only aswell. 

Making sure that features are target specific was also important, this covers news, updates, links, widgets and search results. Some features could not be found.

This project also had a lot executive eyes 👀  on it which made getting approvals challenging sometimes.

Search was a very big issue and we still at it, problem is that there is a whole of departments and Siemens use to work in silos so some results cannot be found in our search results. We are still working towards guaranteeing that our search produces all the results possible. 

BUILDING CLUSTERS AND THEMES

Card sorting

Card sorting is a cool process needed to improve on the menu and information architecture. 

The information architecture also helped us decide on prios since some information and features were hard to find and not clear on the previous version. This process took a while since the intranet had so much information and features that access even more content through other internal platforms in it.

We also had to decide if it was necessary to move some features on the intranet itself instead of moving to another platform using card sorting. 

OPPORTUNITY AREAS

Geeting the Edge and standing out

Search

Improve on our search mechanism, look and feel, and overall experience.

Mobile

The past platform was not responsive and we wanted this one to be available on mobile.

Intergration

Making it easier to access applications and news from this one platform. Making the clearer to find and introduce a brief explanation for the application.

Promotions

We can promote other applications, and create widgets as doorways. Main articles can also be promoted on the platform.

Feedback

Enhancing feedback from users by engaging our employees to comment through Yammer (now known as Microsoft VIVA Engage). This way, users can get their feedback in the open so others can see the response and learn from it.

3. Develop Phase

Evaluating posible ideas and solutions

IDEATION

Planning, Sketches, Wireframes and Evaluating

Our sketches were based on real user need stories and also influenced by features the previous version had, this is why we started with card sorting first. Some features and elements were discovered during interactions based on our storyboards.

Our layout had to make sure all elements were at our users’ fingertips and clearly understandable.  

Reached out to devs for input and iterations before sharing with stakeholders.

Deciding on the information architecture was revisited after the card sorting again.  

IDEATION

Design critique sessions

We have other designers working on different projects and even departments.

We have a weekly design critique session that consists of 5 other UX designers. We share ideas as a collective from the earliest stages for constructive criticism. This proves very helpful in steering concepts in the right direction or boosting confidence in one’s design concepts. 

This is carried out throughout the delivery phase and sometimes comes back to the development phase depending on the feedback.

4. Deliver Phase

Solutions that work

PROTOTYPING

User Journey + Wireframes

Our solution was meant to simplify elements to be a click away and we managed to achieve that by grouping sections clearly and making features visible.

Some elements were challenged during UI iterations and ammended. In terms of journeys, as mentioned, everything was a click aware, search results, settings and adjusting. These made journeys really simplied. Most elements send you to a new window for a different platform, quicklinks, search results, widgets and news. 

The sketches were also ammended for navigation. the menu was moved to next to the logo.

USER INTERFACE

Design System and refining the UI

A screenshot from Figma.

I put together a UI design library for our Hello Page platform by applying an atomic design system approach. The UI library has interactive components and varies from colors, typographic, spacing, headers/footers, tabs and buttons, search variations, teasers, icons, quick links, widgets, layout examples with breakpoints, and more…

I was able to collaborate with stakeholders and other designers in figma for feedback and improvements.

IMprovements AND ITERATIONS

Post User Testing

This project ran from late 2020 and finally hit maintenance mode in June 2023 so we had several user testing and brief reviews. Our roadmap was vital in this. We had about 3 usability tests and 1 survey a year.

We had user testing before launch and got very insightful information from stakeholders and users respectively. 

Usability Testing

We got our information architecture right but the features were not clear to some users when given a task (this was a pain for several iterations). 

The news feed started getting more clicks since we could personalize it. 

Surveys

We had surveys in 2 languages, English and German. We kept the feedback to 5000 per language. Summarised our findings for stakeholders and decided on issues to solve, highlighted the most common problems to help decide on prios and our relooked at our roadmap.

Accessibility Testing

We also had a phase for accessibility testing, an internal team did this and a report was given to us to adapt necessary changes. We take accessibility very seriously at Siemens. 

A/B Testing

Our next challenge was from a new stakeholder who felt we should migrate the platform to Sharepoint since that is what other corporate giants are doing. Still, the problem with that is Sharepoint is very limited in what we can do for the UI and UX even though we can integrate the platforms better. We decided to allocate enough time for the other team to do a prototype and conduct A/B testing for this to compare the platforms.

FINAL PRODUCT AND RELEASING

Implemetation and Prototyping

Against common practice, we decided to go desktop first just to make sure we did not lose anything from the previous version.

We started off designing and prototyping in Sketch but later migrated to Figma after Siemens acquired the license. Figma confirmed that is a better platform for collaboration since I could design side by side with our UX consultant based in Germany.  

I could easily share my prototypes with stakeholders and devs. When it came to animation, we still used adobe after effects and made documentation in confluence.

The next phase was testing accessibility, we sourced the testing internally and then implemented the changes with the same dev team. This came only after launch. We did basic testing during the development phase.

From here on we went fully mobile, at this stage, the signing in was updated for mobile devices across all essential platforms 😎.

post launch

Surveys and user feedback

Continuous Research

We used Yammer to conduct user queries and conducted surveys.

The Yammer group handled urgent problems and issues. Sometimes it would disrupt our sprints while the surveys were more articulate and planning was involved. We also had to decide if some issues were worth solving or not.

To our surprise, users struggled to see all the features on our platform so we had to improve on our UI.

AFTER THOUGHTS

Knowledge and Experience I've Attained...

Sometimes we have to consider product goals over the users and it is not easy accepting it. In this case, users seem to read the news about Siemens the least (least feature) but we already had over 5000 authors (internal and external) publishing articles hourly so deciding to make that the least viewed section meant putting people’s jobs on the line for the sake of internal users (non profitable) so we had to make a call to make them more cleaner and easier to read for the sake of the business goals.

There is also a lot to learn from the devs, although they didnt challenge my work much but the input I would get from them was usually insightful, constructive or reassuring. 

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