Communication in an organization especially a big organization is very important. The level of communication between employees has been one of the measurement of accomplishment of a company or organization. The survival of an organization often depends on employee’s abilities to exchange and coordinate information [8]. The more employees sharing and understand information to each other, the more they have the same level of knowledge or understanding to pursue their goal. Sharing ideas, thoughts, knowledge are believed to have one of a function to build a strong foundation of a company or organization. But how all the employees can manage a good communication among them? There should be a means for that.

One way to achieve that is through a medium called the Intranet. Intranet is just like the Internet. Unlike Internet, Intranet is used only for intern purpose, that means that only people from inside of the system can access the system. The purpose of an intranet are to make the “internal world” smaller, speeding up communication, putting people in control, enabling self service and enabling consolidation and collaboration between groups [11]. Advantages that can be derived from those purposes are that employees can quickly find and view all information necessary and relevant to their roles, organization can also be wiser to provide a link for employees for them to pick specific information they need rather that flooded by emails from the listserv, it can also be a means of paperless information for example an employee can access the latest version of employee manual that is published on the intranet [12] and finally intranet can be used to share information and status of completed tasks between business units or even a smaller form which can be between project members.

Most companies today implement some form of intranet for internal operations. For example, KPMG, a management consulting firm, moved all of its information assets to an intranet called KWorld. The innovative of Cisco System’s Intranet has been one of the attribute to its success. People's Republic of China (PRC) is trying to build a national intranet to take advantage of established Internet connectivity while limiting access to information forbidden by Chinese Internet regulations—if successfully implemented it would be the largest intranet in the world [13].

Of all the installed intranets in many organizations or companies, many of them are under-used [14]. Employees don’t utilize the intranet very well. They don’t think that it would be worthwhile to use this kind of technology. IT Managers regret the low use of the intranet. They are trying to get more and more attention from employees to use the Intranet. They are doing in various ways such as promotion and marketing only to get more employees to involve and use the intranet.

Any kinds of efforts to get more employees to use intranet would be worthless if in fact the intranet can not help them to do what they need. Therefore, before doing so much effort to get more employees to use intranet, an IT Manager should make sure that the intranet is usable and useful for the employees. Usability is always be the major problem of an intranet.

The other problem which is trimming down the use of intranet is that intranet developers are fail to recognize about the difference between intranet and internet. There are a few dimensions that differ intranet and internet [15]:

  1. The difference of users. Intranet users are the employees of the company or organization who know a lot of the company, the organizational structure, and special terminology, whereas internet users are the customers who would care less about all of that.
  2. The difference of applications. Intranet is used for everyday work inside the company including some confidential information, whereas internet is used for customers to get information about products.
  3. The difference of type of information published. Intranet would publish internal type of information such as human resource information, marketing reports, project operational reports, whereas internet would provide information about registered customers, product specific information, and customer support information.
  4. The difference of the amount of information. A good intranet would contain hundreds of pages internal information (reports, documentation), whereas internet would only contain a small number of pages.
Those are the important things that an intranet developer must understand clearly before building an intranet. This writing is only going to focus on discussing the usability issues of the Intranet.  The common intranet usability issues that may occur in a company or organization include:
  1. Staffs have difficulty to find specific information that they need.
  2. Staffs can not see helpful pages that may help them to do their tasks.
  3. The usual problem in “web jungle” is getting lost. Staffs become lost or do not have any idea where they are in the intranet.
  4. The content of the intranet can not be accurately guaranteed.
  5. User becomes disoriented. A simple example is when a user says “I know what I’m looking for, but I don’t know how to get there” [9].
  6. The last issue may be the technical issue of the intranet such as unusable form, dead link, etc.

There are 5 ways to analyze the usability issues on intranet [14]:
1. User Interview
The interview is a way to build understanding about issues or problems. It involves one on one discussion with staffs or member of the organization. The purpose is to gather information from staffs or members of the organization on how the intranet may help them to accomplish their task or share information. This technique may be used in the early stages of determining the usability of intranet. The interview should be conducted in the environment where the intranet is used which usually at the staffs members desk. The interview should discuss what the staffs member’s job involves and how they currently use it to support their job or why don’t they use it if they currently don’t. The more information gathered from the interview, the easier to identify the problem. The key question on the interview is “show me”. For example, ask the staff members to show how they usually find every other staff members’ job status, the latest news inside the organization, difficulty to share information using the current policy or any other specific detail that may be useful. The advantage of using this technique is that the result of the interview may discover new specific details about the behavior of the staff members when they use the intranet. The disadvantage is that it would be time consuming if it has to interview all the staff members because each of them may have different behavior when they use the intranet.

2. Building a Scenario
Another technique to discover staff’s experience when using intranet is by building a scenario. An analyst can make a simple set of task scenario that a staff member should accomplish using the intranet, for example:

An analyst should make a record of all steps in detail that the staff member do to do the task. He or she should document not only the steps that the staff member do using the intranet but also the steps that doesn’t involve with intranet. It is helpful to think about why the staff member would do the task using the intranet and what other things beside the intranet which involved to do the task. While paying attention to the staff member, an analyst should make a decision based on a good reason. For example, if the analyst see a page on the intranet without helpful information, find a good reason if the information should be up there. If a task involves many clicks or many pages to change just to complete it, consider to group all the content together in minimal number of steps. The advantage of using this technique is an analyst may discover what are the experience of a staff member to do the task whether it is a bad experience or not. The disadvantage is that it may not be one of the most reasonable enough. For example, in order to complete one task, the analyst or the intranet developer may not have the same knowledge with the staff member. The staff member spent a long journey to complete the task while the analyst understand the shortcut step to do the task.

3. Evaluate On Hand Data
Data such as search log, feedback, requests are existing material that can be useful to analyze the problem. Those data can be obtained from the intranet administrator or developer. Search log can be a useful tool for observing what special queries that staff members search most of the time. It may then be a reasonable propose to add a specific link, “quicklink” or even arrange a new content to be published. Feedbacks can be used as a source to determine specific usability issues. For example, a feedback about broken link. Observing requests that are made by staff members can be a big help to identify which part of the intranet that should or can be improved. Finally understanding which specific term or jargon that staff members use in the company or organization can be a good tool to modify specific link.

4. Usability Assessment
Another way to analyze the intranet usability is through usability assessment. This is a combination of user interview and scenario technique. The difference is that it involves more staffs in the company or organization to participate and do a same set of scenario. The participated staff should be the representative of a division or group of user. The stages of doing this evaluation should be started by determining what is needed to achieve out of the evaluation, prepare scenarios to be used, recruit participants, observe the participants when they do the scenarios, identify and document what happen, and finally analyze the result and build solutions to solve the problems. It is important to understand what the user is dong when interacting with the system [4]. The analyst should see the same usability issues aforementioned or even new specific issues out of the assessment.

5. Professional Review
Review from another people who is not bias on analyzing the intranet system is another way to analyze the usability. The person should have experience in both human-computer interaction and intranet system and may come from another organization. A professional review will not find all the usability issues but it will give suggestions from a usability assessments.

Five methods have been discussed on how to analyze problems that are occurring on the company or organization on using the intranet. The next step is how to fix the problems. Next, this paper will discuss on how to develop an intranet from the early stage to the final stage. This methodology can be used not only for building an intranet from scratch but also for developing or fixing usability issues. The methodology consists of five stages [17]:

  1. Planning
  2. Analysis
  3. Design
  4. Implementation
  5. Promotion
  6. Innovation

Figure 1. Intranet Developing Methodology

1. Planning
Planning is the earliest stage which has the biggest contribution on building the intranet. Gathering information about the company or organization is the first step in this stage. Understanding the client’s need and requirements would give the big picture of the project expectations and scope [6]. This can be done by conducting a series of interviews. The sample of questions would be:

  1. How many divisions or departments are on the company?
  2. Which division or department that has connection directly or indirectly to another?
  3. How many users?
  4. What are tasks that each division or department usually do?
The more information gathered from the interview, the easier would be to build the intranet. “Politics” that are occur in the company can also be determined from this interview. Understanding the politics can be a helpful hint on building an intranet [16]. The other thing that can also be taken from the interview is setting up policies for users. A privacy policy should define what information is collected and which information should be set restricted for specific division or organization [1].

2. Analysis
Analysis is the process to study the current or existing system of the company or organization. If there was already an intranet system built, analyzing it would give a better understanding what are the current problems and symptoms. If there was not already an intranet system built, studying how the system works without the intranet would give ideas which area in the system that can be improved using the intranet. For example, currently division A and division B has to exchange information about sales using a lot of paper and it is very tedious work to do. This simple example would give an idea to improve their job by building pages, forms, and databases so that everything will be done online and paperless.

Analyzing the mission statement of what is the goal to build the intranet would also provide some basic guideline to develop the intranet [3].

3. Design
All the information gathered from the interview in the planning stage and studied current system information in the analysis stage can now be used in this design stage. Design process is basically a process to put all information together and design the intranet. There are three design approaches that may be used for a designer to design:

  1. Top Down Approach. If the designer has sufficient ideas about what the whole intranet contents and specifications would be, the designer might want to use this approach. This design approach is a technique to design the intranet started from its front page or usually known as “homepage” and design the other sub directory afterwards.
  2. Bottom Up Approach. Another approach is used in a situation where the designer doesn’t have sufficient ideas about what the “final look” of the intranet would be. The designer can start designing from the “leaves” and then followed by the “branches” until it finally becomes a “tree”.
  3. Incremental/In-Time. This approach is more like the “famous” agile method. Using this approach of design, a designer can just design new pages, specifications or features whenever it is needed in the working system.
A designer must also concern about the usability issues to prevent problems in the intranet in the future. It is also good to consider a method called User-Centered Design. It is a process to implement what the mindset of user’s experience as the top priority [5].

3. Implementation
The next stage would be the implementation stage. This is the stage where all the design is built to a concrete material. Intranet developer can now proceed to program the intranet based on the design. The main issue that a developer must remember is the usability issue. The programmer must concern about the usability issue in the intranet to prevent problems in the future. When loading the intranet with contents, to ensure usability, currency of the information must be paid attention to give the sense that the information is up to date [2]. The developer also need to ensure that the content is compelling and that the employees of the company would find the best way to access the information to help them do their job [18]. Another way to maximize usability is by involving the users throughout the development process [7]. It is also useful to add some multimedia feature that is currently being used in other Internet websites such as video because the Intranet would seemed out dated if it doesn’t follow the current trend in the Internet because in reality staff members or employees spend most of their time in the Internet and they become used to the trend [19].

4. Promotion
Promotion is the process for making the intranet that has been built to be known by staff members in the company or organization. It is basically to show the “existence” of the intranet and making sure that the intranet would be visited by the target audience which is the staff members. These are examples of methods to build awareness of the intranet [20]:

In this promotion process, strong specific reasons must be given to explain why they should use the intranet. Different division or department must have a different specific reason. Let them know how the intranet would help them to do their task.

5. Maintenance/Innovation
Once the system is installed and the target audience has been starting to use it, a developer may find specific details which need to be improved. Maintenance is the process of continually evaluate the intranet system. There are four major activities in the maintenance process [10]:

  1. Obtaining maintenance requests
  2. Transforming the requests into changes
  3. Start to design the changes
  4. Implementing the changes
On the intranet there should be a facility that provides users to submit their complaint or change of request. The purpose of this is to make the intranet would be as usable as possible for the users. Requests should first be analyzed to understand the risk and feasibility of the change request. After evaluating the risk and feasibility of the request from the users, the next step would be transforming the request into changes.

Usability is the common problem in intranet. Understanding the ways to analyze usability problem and how to use the Intranet Development Methodology would provide a clear picture on how to develop or redevelop an Intranet. Users have to be the center of every aspect to develop an Intranet. Each company or organization has different types of user behavior. The more information gathered from the users, the more likely it would help to build a usable intranet that can help the users to do their job.