I recently listend to a great UIE SpoolCast: Web Form Design with Luke Wroblewski
While transitioning hundreds of public folder postings to a new web site we struggled with lots of lists and virtually no guide copy, no dynamic content to speak of, and no back-end systems.
The ah-ha moment came when I realized that we were trying to throw the wrong parti!
I hear Luke talking about the parti of Yahoo’s homepage redesign as wanting to become everyone’s “dashboard for the web” and that’s when it hit me that I was approaching this Intranet project wrong. I was trying to build a “dashboard for my company” and an “introductory tour of my company” without the content and without the resources while we had explicitly been scoped down to “public folders online” for our first release.
Once I reframed the problem as “public folders online” my whole paradigm for planning navigation cues and options changed dramatically. Freed from trying to cram my lists into a fully built out site, we quickly reoriented our design effort and decided on a set of design principles and artifacts that more readily mapped to windows explorer, a familiar interface for navigating through a set of folders and documents.