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Intranet applications tour

Almost 10 years I have been creating intranet applications for company, that is going to change production completly now. Some applications are very closely bound to production character and may fall far beyond recovery. That's one of the reasons why these pages were created.

Here described intranet concentrates on production and covers daily activity of production workers. Intranet is primarily targeted to production, shopfloor, production engineer and foreman offices. Applications were developed from down, based on requirements and discussions with production engineers, foremen and operators.

Each application is attached with screenshots to make better image for readers. Where it was possible, English version of pages for screenshots were used. Some applications are in Czech language only, sorry for discomfort. Names, labels and descriptions in screenshots are original, data come from test database, where fictional, pseudo data were stored for purpose of application testing. There are not company data in the screenshots.

intranet home page example

Select description of application in menu on right side, or click on link in home page screenshot.

There is example of intranet home page on the left. This page is set as default home page on all PCs, so that page is displayed at once after browser startup. No login is required to visit this home page.

Links to intranet applications are in upper part of home page. There are 3 application groups: phone books, production applications and data, documents.

Company calendar is in middle part. Only today's and tomorrow's calendar events are displayed on home page.

In the bottom is place for some user pictures, changed weekly.

According to my own experience it is good to keep home page as simple as possible. More dynamic parts not only slow down the server, but also increase load and render time of page. You would rather count with 10-30 requests of home page for every day, for single user. Quick and simple, always running home page is the best for intranet start up.

Personalised, portal solution does not seems to me very useful. Intranet is not Internet. Intranet news are data in applications. Practice show myself, that a bit primitive home page, identical on all computers, page which works more like guide-post or central menu is ideal. Then all users feel like at home on neighbor computer, where she needs quickly find e.g. telephone number, or explain something to less experienced user. From the same reason you should not change the design of the home page very often.

If I really would need information about new files, new docs, new or edited records in databases, I would create separate news page, where all personalised information were concentrated. Remember intranet described here is not SharePoint style. This intranet is build for production company running 24x7x365, for factory where it is nearly impossible to run job without running intranet, for company where majority production and technological data are stored in intranet databasis.

I use handwritten home page with setting to immediately expiration (because of calendar). CSS files and additional pictures have expiration time set to one week. I like to have a lot of free space in home page. It does not look confusing and I have some spare space for extension in future.

updated 02.06.2006