One of the things that I can’t tell people enough when talking about user generated content in an enterprise setting is that users MUST understand the context of the information they are consuming. For example, they must know how it was created, who created it, who edited or contributed to it etc … because this vital contextual information will determine how they can re-use it, how reliable it is, how new it is and so on …
As more and more pages on the BT Intranet contain user generated content, we tried to figure out a good way to differentiate those pages from the more traditional, formal content pages. This is what we’ve done.
For some time now, all our intranet pages have had a global navigation bar at the top of them. This bar helps BT people to identify when they are on the official intranet – with all the guarantees/service levels etc. that this implies – rather than the internet or unofficial under-web pages. It also means that a user can never get lost as they always have a way back to the top or to the most popular pages and applications on offer. The standard navigation bar looks like this:
We decided to make a variant of this bar to put above pages containing user generated content – we changed the colour and added a Disclaimer link. We’ve also added a new icon to these pages. The user generated content navigation bar looks like this:
The new icon for user generated content is this:
Both the Disclaimer link on the new bar and the icon above link through to a page on BTpedia which explains what user generated content is, what its limitations are, and guidance on how it can be used and what to avoid doing with it.