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Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Finally Invited Into Company Intranets

Four years after Facebook-like features began to take hold on company intranets, the world’s best intranets now embrace the real deal, inviting Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social sites right onto their intranet home pages, according to usability expert Jakob Nielsen whose user-experience research firm Nielsen Norman Group today announced the winners of its 13th annual Intranet Design Contest. This year’s winning teams and their intranets are showcased in Nielsen Norman Group’s new 372-page report “Intranet Design Annual 2013: The Year’s 10 Best Intranets.”

“Social features on Intranets used to be confined to internal sharing and were usually found only in employee directories as a way to enrich profiles and promote stronger connections among employees,” said Jakob Nielsen, principal of Nielsen Norma Group. “Today, Intranets are tapping into what’s happening outside the office walls by featuring their organization’s feeds from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn right on their intranet’s home page. It’s certainly an expedient way to help keep employees informed about their company’s public profile.”

This year’s report from Nielsen Norman Group offers other findings including:

Great intranets require years to create: Since its first Intranet Design Annual contest in 2001, Nielsen Norman Group has been tracking the length of time it takes to create a great intranet from inception to launch. On average, the process lasts about 3.5 years. This year, the average was 2.3 years to create the winning designs.

Mobile optimization remains stalled: For the second year in a row, Nielsen Norman Group noted that growth was paused in the mobile intranet area. Only one of this year’s winners offers a special mobile version of its intranet. Two others offer mobile intranet access to employees on their network, but neither site is optimized for mobile.

“We thought that last year’s stall in mobile optimization was surprising, so we were even more amazed to see it persist this year, especially in light of what seems to be the trend towards everything mobile,” said Nielsen Norman Group director Amy Schade. “We decided to dig a little deeper to find out what was going on and learned from our winners that data security concerns, difficultly in choosing a platform, lack of resources, and indecision about whether to implement a full feature set or an app for a particular task were the things standing in the way of their mobile efforts.”

The world's top intranets demonstrating this year’s design trends are described in detail in Nielsen Norman Group’s report entitled “Intranet Design Annual 2013: The Year’s 10 Best Intranets,” co-authored by Kara Pernice, Amy Schade, Patty Caya and Jakob Nielsen.

The 10 organizations with winning intranets are headquartered in seven countries and have an average of 18,800 employees. In alphabetical order, the 2013 world's 10 best intranets are:

  • Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company (U.S.)
  • American International Group, Inc., an insurance organization that provides life insurance and retirement services to commercial, institutional, and individual customers in more than 130 countries (U.S.)
  • AT&T, a telecommunications company (U.S.)
  • Hager Group, a manufacturer in the electrical industry for residential and commercial buildings (Germany)
  • Luzerner Kantonalbank AG, one of Switzerland’s largest cantonal banks, focuses on basic banking services, mortgages, corporate financing, and wealth management advice, and offers integrated wealth advisory services in the private banking segment (Switzerland)
  • ONO, a telecommunications company (Spain)
  • Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), a governmental agency that specializes in and is responsible for supporting and controlling tourism places and activities and antiquities that represent the history of Saudi Arabia (Saudi Arabia)
  • Swiss Mobiliar Insurance & Pensions, an insurance company (Switzerland)
  • WorkSafeBC, the Worker’s Compensation Board of British Columbia (Canada)
  • XL Group plc, an insurance and reinsurance company servicing industrial, commercial, and professional firms throughout the world (Ireland)

Nielsen Norman Group's "Intranet Design Annual 2013: The Year’s 10 Best Intranets,” is available to download for $248 from the Nielsen Norman Group website at

About Nielsen Norman Group

Nielsen Norman Group ( in an evidence-based user experience research, training and consulting firm that advises companies on how to improve the bottom line through human-centered design of products and services. NN/g principals Jakob Nielsen, Don Norman and Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini are world-renowned user experience experts who were advocating human-centered design and usability long before it became popular to do so. Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Silicon Valley, NN/g evaluates interfaces of all kinds and guides the critical design decisions that make websites, applications, intranets and products achieve their full potential for businesses and their users. Media contact: Darcy Provo, [email protected], 415-871-1731.

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