Menus can be hard to create. I often get called in to help with Information Architecture as an intranet consultant. One of the key tools I use when working with digital workplace teams is to help them create personas or user role outlines. Together with user needs analysis personas help focus menu creation and information architecture on getting the right labels and items into menus. Often the high value menu items are those related to tasks users do.

In some organisations staff don’t know what task they want to do. If there were an alternate navigation system they might use it before turning to search. Just this week I came across a great example of how this alternate navigation can be achieved. Take a look at the website menus.

Menu for tasks and users personas

The thing that struck me when I saw them is that they provide three different ways for users to navigate:

  1. Standard primary menu item with sub menu items
    • Public info (primary item)
      • news and events (sub menu item)
      • events (sub menu item)
      • environment (sub menu item)
      • history (sub menu item)
  2. Information seeking persona focused navigation [to my mind this is highlighted because this is the persona they think uses this menu item the most]
    • Media
    • Schools
    • Researchers
    • Jobseekers
  3. Navigation for other personas
    • Recreational persona
      • Paddle
      • Sailing
      • Fishing
      • Jetski
      • Power
    • Commercial persona
      • Seafarers
      • Owner operators
      • Multi vessel
      • Offshore
      • Ports&Harbours
      • Surveyors
    • Information seeking persona
      • Media
      • Schools
      • Researchers
      • Jobseekers

I think this provides a wonderful model for intranets and digital workplaces to use. If we as digital professionals used our user personas in this way we’d be making it easier for those staff who are occasional intranet users.

Let me know if you’ve used this type of navigation on your intranet and why in the comments.


Do you make menus for tasks AND user roles ?