Times Central

Rethinking the internal tools & newsfeed for the New York Times employees

First things first, Figuring out the needs
What is the existent, and what should we build for the future?
It took us some time to figure out how the intranet was organised today, and how it's a reflect of the current organisation. That being said, we had to detach ourselves as much as possible from the current version, because the goal of this redesign was also to help them move forward in terms of internal organisation.
The main goal was to increase communication between all teams ; because historically, the Newsroom was separated from the other teams.

Our goal was
to merge all teams together, but make it a smooth change, as much as possible.

The Intranet was divided into some Tools/Resources for the employees, but also an internal newsfeed. 
In the past, there was a specific newsfeed for Newsroom, and another one for everyone else. 

How to merge everything and still make it feels natural for employees?



Initial sitemap of the project
Make it useful
While rebuilding the architecture of those different spaces (tools & newsfeed), and merging everything together, I couldn't stop thinking about the intranet I used in my previous jobs.
And how, back then, their own "newsfeed" was not really visited because it was built "outside" of the tools.

The newsfeed was already redesigned, so we had to figure out an elegant yet useful way to make everything work together. One of the "ideal" scenario presented was to have the tools as a additional software on top of the internal newspaper. That way, people would be aware of "what's going on" and still have a quick and personnalized access to their tools. 

Times Central could be a Hub, with a news oriented homepage to feature the human resources announcements, and people would go there to access their work tools. 
Homepage concept of merging the tools as an additional software on top of the news section. 
An empowerment space
One of the sub-challenges was to "empower employees" with this new intranet. 
I put a lot of energy into that question.
How can an intranet, from a company, really empower employees?

One of my answers was into the Search tool, starting with its label itself : "How can we help ?" 
We could also have a category approach highlighting the key issues for people, like health insurance questions, or "feeling stuck in your career?" questions.
Display those categories as a company means "those questions are okay, and yes, we can talk about it."

Each categories would lead to Evergreen content to help employees with those daily struggles, or questions. 

Some examples :
- A page to highlight the days off you have the right to take for each situation
- Company's position on diversity and inclusive writing as journalists 
- How to find a balance between work & family life 
Onboarding new hires
One of the main struggles when entering a new workspace (except from figuring out everything and remember all those new faces) is getting your internal tools ready: 
- The emails,
- the internal authorisations,
- joining the Slack spaces,
...all this stuff that leaves you out of the real company life if you don't take care of it. 

With bigger companies comes longer processes for this.

One of the main ideas for this new intranet was to help user & tech team with a "checklist" of what's set up and what's not quite done yet. 

A first welcome flow was suggested for the newsfeed section, to select your interests. 
So when the Intranet as a whole arrived, the userflow was pretty clear on the fact that we needed to suggest something to simplify this step. 
User flow created to define the "jobs to be done" in the UX side
Wireframe representing the need to keep an eye of the numerous accounts to be created for a new hire
Get aware of what matters 
The brand new "newsfeed" website is now for every employee, that means, more content type, more topics, more posts. Because an announcement posted as an article can be easily missed, or maybe you didn't saw an event you wanted to attend...

So I came up with the "interests" section that can be changed very easily, it's basically tags you select to be aware of some topics. It can be your office, some sports you're doing, the type of post you really like. 
That way you can focus on browsing the news casually without the fear of missing out important stuff. ✨
Custom dashboard for each employee 
Now that every employee can discuss together easily, let's talk about the tools.
We created a system that we wanted to be integrated within the newsfeed, to have a quick access all the time. This list of links had to be customisable, because of the differences between teams needs.

You can select from some categories the ressources useful for you, to avoid to search for it several times in the year, and it's gonna be added to your custom Links. 
We iterate a lot on this system, because we wanted something simple enough to be done in a few seconds. 
We went for the switch version. 

Customise your ressources and useful links to find it on your dashboard
Here is the final design of all those reflexions.
An internal newsfeed for everyone, with a quick access to customisable tools.
Visual Design, courtesy of AREA 17
Final Visual Design, courtesy of AREA 17
Redesign intranet is something I like to do. For once it's not about selling something. I took it as an opportunity to try to make things easier for people.

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