The debate about personalization vs. segmentation on the intranet has been much discussed and researched by many pioneering intranet designers and consultants. As keen observers of user behaviour in the real world, we believe that well chosen default options are a sound design strategy. Adoption rates of personalization features are low, driven by a lack of understanding of the business benefit from the user and the inertia of human nature to simply be lazy and accept defaults. By placing the user at the centre of the information universe and using their relationships to information and each other as the default filter, we can provide them with an intuitive view of their world, making significant progress towards our goal of a more relevant and valuable intranet.
The team at ThoughtFarmer often have interesting things to say about intranets – in this case, Gordon Ross’ guest post on the Dachis Collaboratory describes the benefits of implicit personlisation on intranets. This is an important idea that is reflected conceptually in both McAfee’s Enterprise 2.0 SLATES model and Dachis/Headshift’s Social Business Design archetypes.
Personally I wouldn’t say users are lazy as such, but it is true that people take the path of least resistance. Until relatively recently we also didn’t have mainstream access to the technologies that support implicit personalisation plus we lacked the organisational maturity to actually place the user at the centre. However, this is now changing.