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The Need for Web Design Standards (13 Sep 2004)
Design standards are one area in which intranets are better off than public websites. Since intranets suffer in so many other ways, they'd be wise to take advantage of this unique opportunity.
A key distinction between an intranet and the Internet is that the intranet has a single authority in charge. The intranet team can define a design standard and promote it throughout the corporation. The team can also implement a single publishing system that ensures consistency by placing all content into a single set of well-designed templates.

Yes, I am simplifying matters when I say that the intranet team "can" do all this. In most companies, there's still a political battle to be fought before the intranet team can secure a mandate to truly govern the intranet and make it into an employee productivity tool. But most of the really good intranets we have studied do have some form of design standards in place.

Whether you run an intranet or a website, one thing is clear: the more you comply with design conventions and give users what they want, the more success you'll have. It's of course important to differentiate your content, services, and products, but in the interface to this material, your best strategy is to follow everyone else.
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