Always try doing things the standard way first

SharePoint gives you a lot of flexibility and power in how you design and create content. That's great, but when you do things in a non-standard way, it also has risks like:

  • making your intranet harder for staff to navigate and use
  • other editors won't know how to maintain things you create.

Doing things the standard way means your site is easy for staff to use, supportable, future-proof, and can be worked on by anybody who has done this intranet training.

We've tried to make the standard intranet design flexible and adaptable, so that you have a lot of options within the standard design. If the standard design just doesn't work for your content, you should talk to your content owner or coordinator about how to adapt.

Content principles

While pretty pictures are nice, the true value of the intranet for your org unit is in the content that you create and maintain. Follow these principles to ensure your content is easy to use and can be kept current:

Keep it maintainable

  • Review and update everything you have published at least every 12 months
  • Don’t publish more content than you have time to maintain -- out-of-date and cluttered content wastes everyone's time
  • Don't publish more content than your visitors can easily navigate - the more content there is, the harder it is to find any one piece of it
  • Focus your content on supporting the most common questions and needs - this will give you and your visitors the most benefit

Keep it simple

  • People are busy! Keep your content brief and to the point
  • Use headings and bullets to help people scan your page
  • Avoid jargon and acronyms where you can, or explain what they mean the first time you use them on a page 
  • Don’t add images for decoration; only use images that support your content (e.g. diagrams, screen shots, illustrative photos)
  • Check with your coordinator before adding anything other than pages or documents (e.g. lists, calendars, flows)
  • Follow guidance on writing for the web

Keep it consistent

  • Use the standard page layouts and elements – consistency in page design helps everyone use the site and maintain the site
  • Don’t apply colour to text – when you want to draw attention to text, use built in styles, headings and web parts such as 'Call to action'.
  • Talk to your coordinator or content owner if the standard design doesn’t work for certain content. Only change the design where necessary; keep as much consistency as possible.

Keep it accessible

Publish content in the right place for the right reasons

  • Your org unit intranet is for news, events and information for all staff in your org unit 
  • Your intranet is not for sharing information with all UQ staff, with students or with external stakeholders
  • Your org unit intranet is not an archive of historical information. Delete outdated and unnecessary information (and if you need a historical record, back up the content elsewhere)
  • Your org unit intranet is not a file sharing system – don't upload files just because you need a way to share them (refer to Where to store files and information)
  • Your intranet is not for works in progress – publish finalised content only (use Teams, OneDrive or shared drives for work in progress)

Need help?

Ask the Intranet - Org unit community for help through our Microsoft 365 Implementation Support Team.

If you can't find your answer through the community, submit an IT request:

Submit an IT request