Context is everything with intranet content

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:

BT Intranet global navigation bar

BT Intranet global navigation bar

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:

BT Intranet navigation bar for user generated content

BT Intranet navigation bar for user generated content

The new icon for user generated content is this:

User generated content icon

User generated content icon

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.

The new bar is being piloted on Blog Central and BTpedia linked to an on-line form for user feedback. It’ll be interesting to see what users think.

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BTpedia … enterprise-wide wiki

BTpedia is our enterprise-wide corporate wiki tool into which anyone can publish information or edit information published by others. The idea is that, by simplifying and democratising the publication process, we will unlock a wealth of informal information that is currently excluded from the highly structured and more formal content hosted in our web content management system. Each article also has a discussion tab associated with it which flushes out like-minded people and facilitates connections between them and ultimately communities. You can’t post anonymously into it and so far there has been no sign of any kind of misuse or abuse …

BTpedia homepage Oct 07