Usability study

A month-long intranet usability study for the Greater Bank

usability study | Greater BANK


In 2011, I was working independently as a content strategist and usability consultant. One of my contracts was with the Greater Bank, who hired me to complete an intranet usability study for them.



The Greater Bank had launched a new intranet site in 2009, primarily managed by the internal Communications team. They were wrestling with the challenges of maintaining an ever-growing volume of content, while sustaining workable publishing and maintenance processes. The project brief was:

Determine major causes of low intranet usage and make recommendations to define future direction of the intranet, ensuring alignment with corporate strategy.



  • Stakeholder interviews

  • User interviews

  • Contextual inquiry

  • Diary study

  • Task-based usability testing

  • Heuristic evaluation of the site

I conducted this study on my own, and was given 4 weeks to complete it.

Affinity mapping: user interview quotes



In the first week my primary goals were:

  • Interview executive and SME stakeholders to better understand post-study project constraints.*

  • Set up diary studies to give participants a logging period of 5 days.

*The stakeholder interviews provided valuable insights that helped me prioritise research efforts, and determine the best approach for final recommendations.

In terms of usage, user and information statistics, I analysed search engine logs, content metadata, page visits, and existing research: results from a staff survey conducted 12 months prior.

Diary study cover page


Workplace observation included attending content meetings and content editor training. I also conducted one-on-one contextual inquiries in various work environments: the call centre, Communications office, the front desk of a local branch, and at the desks of office workers in non-customer-facing roles.

In total I completed 5 user interviews, 6 shorter contextual inquiry interviews, and collected data from 12 diary studies. I also attempted some task-based usability testing with some of the participants.

For thematic analysis of the user interviews and diary studies I used affinity mapping to find common problem and usage categories. For reporting purposes I fed the data into a spreadsheet, making it easier to display the results to stakeholders, sorted by different views. For example, sorting by problem category, intranet content category, or user type.


Content from the Usability Report


This was the first time I had conducted a study of this size on my own. Completing it in 4 weeks proved to be challenging, but I managed to conduct and compile all of the research in that time. I did, however, need to ask for an extra week to write the report.

I cannot make the entire report publicly available, but a redacted version is available on request. Please email me directly, or use the contact form on my about page.