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RSPB Intranet scoops global award

15 January 2007

Bryan Bland
Head of People Engagement

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' (RSPB) Intranet site has been listed as one of the World's Best by US based Nielsen Norman Group.

Nielsen Norman Group publishes the report Intranet Design Annual 2007: Year's Ten Best Intranets and this years top rated sites include UK based RSPB.

The report is co-authored by Nielsen Norman Principal Jakob Nielsen, described as the 'The guru of web page usability' by The New York Times and viewed by many as the world's leading expert on Web usability.

The RSPB is the only UK based organisation to make the top ten and shares the recognition with among others Microsoft (US), DaimlerChrysler (Germany), Infosys Technologies (India), National Geographic Society (US) and Volvo Group (Sweden).

'Websites often employ a trendy technology for its own sake rather than for any discernable benefit it affords the user. They shoot for glitz,' said Jakob Nielsen, principal, Nielsen Norman Group, 'This year, our intranet contest winners used the same trendy technologies, but they aimed instead for utility and pragmatism, and achieved them without any sacrifice to the coolness factor associated, for example, with an Ajax map that helps an employee find another employee with whom to carpool.'
The RSPB Intranet launched in October 2005 with specific core aims. These included: 

  • an easy way for staff to access information and share knowledge 

  • better use of the web to deliver key corporate messages and legislative

  • help staff meet each other and get to know one another even though they are spread across the UK 

  • improve internal communications and efficiency 

  • help support an already strong sense of community amongst staff giving them other ways to interact with one another

The report says 'just a handful of people maintain RSPB's intranet. To judge by its delightful design, however, you'd never know it. This lively website devoted to environmental concerns soars with creativity.'

RSPB Intranet Manager Sheena Huxley-Duggan said, 'I think one of the keys to our success has been the variety of information we have included.

'Staff can access all the statutory and operational policies they need to and at the same time find someone to lift share with or find out what's going on in the news today! We've included chat forums for people to share best practice and calendars of key events'

RSPB Senior Web Designer Graham Bird added, 'Web design techniques are evolving so quickly you can be tempted to use new technology for the sake of it, but it's important to put the users' needs first. Although we've used recent technologies like Ajax we went to great lengths to make them unobtrusive and most of all useful.'

Highlights from Nielsen Norman Group's 2007 Intranet Design Annual include:

Personalisation: Almost all of the winning intranets offered extensive personalization features to streamline information delivery and present the right material to the right person's intranet desktop at the right time.

Improving work/life balance: Companies now include a substantial amount of information on their intranets that address their employees' personal life, providing information such as volunteer news, birth announcements, family-photo sharing and internal classified advertising.  

Video and TV: More and more television-type offerings are being added to intranets, underscoring the idea that video is more personal than the written word. Some sites even have their own TV station.


About the RSPB

Since its founding in 1889, the RSPB has grown into a wildlife conservation charity with more than a million members. It has offices across the UK and, since its successful first campaign to end the plumage trade, it has widened its sphere of influence to include a huge range of issues that affect wildlife and habitats.

The RSPB: 

  • Works with decision makers on behalf of birds and the environment 

  • Researches wildlife problems and promotes practical solutions   

  • Protects, restores and manages important areas for wildlife across the UK

  • Works internationally through a global conservation partnership called BirdLife International 

  • Shares expertise and knowledge to help young and old enjoy the natural world 

  • Tackles wildlife crime and habitat loss   

  • Works with landowners and farmers to help countryside birds     

About 'Intranet Design Annual 2007: The Year's Ten Best Intranets', which presents detailed case studies of the 10 winners, is available to download from the Nielsen Norman Group website at  
About Nielsen Norman Group

Nielsen Norman Group ( is a user-experience research firm that advises companies on how to succeed through the human-centered design of products and services. Nielsen Norman Group principals Jakob Nielsen, Don Norman and Bruce 'Tog' Tognazzini are each world-renowned experts in usability and human use of technology. 

Besides authoring books and evangelizing about user experience, they and the other user-experience specialists at Nielsen Norman Group offer high-level strategic consultation on usability of websites, consumer products, software designs and anything else that needs to be easy-to-use. 

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