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Not quite a feature, but the Nielsen Norman Group (With Jakob Nielsen of UseIt fame) is offering to do a free usability test for an intranet site, if they allow the results and screenshots to be published and/or presented in seminars. I think it would be really cool to get a review of an intranet made with TWiki. It would probably lead to interesting conclusions not only for TWiki, but Wikis in general, and also about how to best organize a Wiki.

The software doesn't get reviewed, but rather the site as a whole, so this has to be requested by someone who is deploying an intranet. They prefer people in NYC, Boston, or Sillicon Valley. The deadline is May 13.

The findings by NN will be given verbally, not in a written form. It would be necessary for the intranet developer to take good notes and pass these onto the community.

More information is available at: http://www.nngroup.com/reports/intranet/guidelines/

(if this topic classification isn't appropriate, please move this somewhere else or repost it -- where ever it might be seen by the right person before May 13)

((this could be considered a child of TWikiAdvocacy -- MattWilkie))

-- IanBicking - 14 Apr 2002

Interesting idea - I'd really like to see this based on a TWiki using something like KoalaSkin or TigerSkin, as I fear the default TWiki templates would get quite low marks for usability (they are really designed for power users who want all the features at their fingertips, rather than newbies who need progressive disclosure of features). See UsabilityIdeas for some other ideas that should probably be implemented - in particular, better searching is practically essential IMO (a frequent issue with our local TWiki's user base).

-- RichardDonkin - 15 Apr 2002

I've read the 2001 Nielsen Intranet report, and in my opinion TWiki already has >80% of the features of the top ten sites in that report. The only thing missing is the face (skin) to bring it all together in one clean, consistant, and usable fashion. TWiki really is in a position of power here. Of the sites in the report, most of them were moving from a pretty face to find real functionality, whereas TWiki already has the functionality. It just needs to change out of grease stained coveralls, get washed up, and put on some clean clothes.

-- MattWilkie - 15 Apr 2002

I second Matt's opinion. The TWiki UI was designed to be highly functional but not pretty/flashy. Our next step is to put a prettier face on TWiki smile

Thanks for pointing out the free usability tests of the Nielsen Norman Group. It is certainly interesting to get opinion on the TWiki usability from an expert. At my daytime job I will try to get the permission from legal to apply for the usability test. We do have several pretty and functional TWiki skins at work.

-- PeterThoeny - 17 Apr 2002

Any volunteers to submit KoalaSkin or TigerSkin - based sites to free testing? And also, any chance to get PeterThoeny's nice new skins as part of SimplerDefaultTemplates and SimplerTWikiDistribution?

-- PeterMasiar - 18 Apr 2002

We've submitted the Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County TWiki-based Intranet to NN/g. Will post details if we are selected for review.

Organization Background

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County (http://www.bgcuc.org/) provide programs and services that significantly enhance children's lives and enable youth to develop skills to become employable; to build knowledge to engage in positive behaviors and safe health practices; and to become responsible citizens. The Club serves over 3,500 children and youth ages 2 to 18 years in 5 communities in central NJ. It has been an innovative user of technology in its operations and youth programs for many years. The Club is a nonprofit organization and is affiliated with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (http://www.bgca.org/).


The Intranet is used by 25-30 professional staff working in 5 communities and about 20 Board Members who work all over the NY/NJ metro area. The Intranet has TWiki at its heart but also combines a group calendar program (Calcium - http://www.brownbearsw.com) and an album for sharing digital photos and movies (IDS - http://ids.sourceforge.net/). The Club started using TWiki in September 2001. Previously it had used eCircles (dot-com closed in April 2001).

We've done a lot with the interface, navigation, and in some cases simplified TWiki. Some screen shots are attached. We've worked within the template structure with a few workarounds. The attachments show version 2 of the Intranet's interface... design changes were based on the first 6 months of user experience.


The Intranet is very successful. Most of the following objectives are being met:

  • Increase time spent on youth programs; reduce administration time and costs
  • Deliver programs at same level of quality in all locations by sharing knowledge and best practices
  • Improve communications
  • Increase sense of organizational unity; improve morale
  • Create a knowledge base
  • Reduce scheduling conflicts
  • Reduce time spent in meetings; improve tracking of action items

-- EwartNewton - 14 May 2002

Wind River also submitted the internal TWiki site to NN/g for usability testing. Let's see if it gets accepted, we will know at the end of the month. More later.

-- PeterThoeny - 15 May 2002

I'm curious if anything ever came of the above mentioned usability tests. Did anyone get a review? Just curious and would love to hear the results!

-- LynnwoodBrown - 25 Jul 2002

WindRiver did not get selected for review. See some similar screen shots we submitted in TWikiSuccessStoryOfWindRiver.

-- PeterThoeny - 26 Jul 2002

Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County did not get selected either.

-- EwartNewton - 27 Jul 2002

We have been too early in 2002, now the time has come. A TWiki based Intranet at Orbis Technology, a small software developer in the UK, got selected as one of the "Ten Best Intranets of the Year" by NN/g (Nielsen Norman Group) smile

-- PeterThoeny - 09 Mar 2005

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
JPEGjpg bgcuc_home_low_res.jpg r1 manage 119.8 K 2002-05-14 - 13:12 EwartNewton BGCUC Intranet Home
JPEGjpg bgcuc_photos_movies.jpg r1 manage 58.5 K 2002-05-14 - 13:12 EwartNewton BGCUC Photo / Movie Album
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Topic revision: r14 - 2006-07-12 - PeterThoeny
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