Our 4th time winning the Best Intranet Design Award

Another year and we are delighted to say another BrightStarr client has won user-experience research firm the Nielsen Norman Group’s annual Award for Best Intranet. Congratulations to dorma+kaba! ​

Two colleagues celebrate winning the award

This marks the fourth win for a BrightStarr client in the last five years. Our winning intranet designs have been as diverse and wide-ranging as our clients – so what made them stand out? How have we worked with our clients to push the boundaries of intranet innovation since 2012 and why is this year a turning point?

We’d like to take you on a trip down memory lane…​


Heading back to where it all started, our first Nielsen Norman winning client was Everything Everywhere in 2012. We worked with the team to create an intranet built on SharePoint 2010 to support the introduction of a new brand for a joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile​​, two of the UK's largest communications companies. The Everything Everywhere intranet featured a clean, minimalist design that focused on the content that mattered most in a time of transition. Their clear content guidelines and governance kept information on the site compelling, concise and relevant to employees. It was the clean design, content and purpose that took this intranet to the finishing line in 2012.​​


Global public policy and business research firm Abt Associates came to us requiring a new way to support their geographically spread workforce of 2,700 staff. As many employees were constantly out in the field researching, evaluating and implementing programs in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, it wasn’t always easy for them to access the information they needed quickly. Their intranet team set us the task of creating a ‘virtual hallway’ so staff could easily connect to share ideas and knowledge from anywhere in the world.

This project relied on the cloud power of Office 365 and strong mobile user experiences to overhaul the way employees connected with each other and the business. Employees were now connected no matter where or what their role in the company was. In 2014, there still weren’t a huge number of companies adopting Office 365 for their intranet platform, especially those which were delivering exceptional user experiences across devices. This innovative design and focus on accessibility made Abt Associates stand out from the crowd and take home the award for 2014.


ConocoPhillips​, the world's largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company based on production and proved reserves, initiated their SharePoint Intranet project in 2014 due to the fragmented nature of their previous site, which formed silos of information under an outdated navigational structure. Senior leadership wanted to empower staff with the effective digital tools that would not only support their work, but also support leadership initiatives and brand positioning.
Their new SharePoint Intranet 'The Mark' was an innovative solution focused on delivering improved accessibility to information within the Intranet, alongside greater collaboration and awareness of corporate vision for success. A core feature that distinguished ‘The Mark’ was the new navigation. Unlike more traditional navigation formats, ConocoPhillips opted for a concise three item menu, from which all content could be navigated.
This in combination with powerful SharePoint 2013 search made for less silos of information and vastly improved user experience. Access to content was taken to the next level through the inclusion of responsive design, which has made content accessible through any device, while maintaining quality user experiences across all screen sizes. The combination of power and exceptional usability made it stand out in the 2015 Awards.


This year’s winner is German headquartered access solutions and security provider dorma+kaba, who were looking to provide access to innovation for 16,000 employees operating in over 50 countries. They needed a social digital workplace solution that would completely revolutionize their communication, collaboration, business development and innovation.
The new design focuses on creating a cohesive digital workplace where employees can connect, collaborate, innovate and drive new business ideas. Personalization and targeting functionality ensures only the most relevant information reaches the right users, depending on location and interests. User experience was key in this project, delivering intuitive, consumer-level experiences for the enterprise.
This project marked a significant turning point in the Best Intranet Design Awards as dorma+kaba’s intranet solution was built on our Intranet-As-A-Service product – Unily. This is the first As-A-Service intranet to ever win the award and the model delivers some crucial award-winning benefits. Firstly, dorma+kaba were able to implement their intranet in just 6 weeks, a hugely shorter time-frame than the others projects this year which averaged 68 weeks. Secondly, the model of the product gives them access to Microsoft updates, Unily team innovation and a customer-driven roadmap, with enhancements rolled out seamlessly across the cloud. This results in an ‘evergreen’ intranet that won’t fade as technology moves on.
It was dorma+kaba’s social digital workplace solution that won the award this year, but Unily’s product model will ensure the solution remains award-winning for their employees for years to come.
​2016 also marks our 10 Year Anniversary for BrightStarr. We couldn’t be prouder of our achievements as a team over the last decade and we can’t wait to see where the next 10 years takes us. Who knows, maybe we’ll be writing about your award-winning intranet next year.​

About Unily

Unily is BrightStarr’s award winning Intranet-as-a-Service platform built on Office 365. F​or more information, watch our ​Unily in a Nutshell video.​

About the Nielsen Norman Group

Nielsen Norman Group is an evidence-based user experience research, training and consulting firm that advises companies on how to improve the bottom line through human-centered design of products and services. Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Silicon Valley, NN/g evaluates interfaces of all kinds and guides the critical design decisions that make websites, applications, intranets and products achieve their full potential for businesses and their users. ​

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