Case Study Series - 8 steps to achieving an engaging NHS communication platform
Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust intranet


Define and build a communications and engagement platform to replace an old, tired intranet, for the Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust – a 1,000-staff mental health service and education provider based in North London.

Step 1: Stakeholder interviews

The first step (as with any project of this scale) was to elaborate on the brief set out at the start through a series of interviews with project owners and key influencers. The intention was to discover why the project was happening; who the users should be; how the platform should fit into the wider digital workplace ecosystem; and any future projects that might have an impact. The top business drivers were revealed to be:

  • Staff directory and organisation context
  • Clarity, openness and transparency
  • Connecting disparate staff and locations and reducing ‘Us’ and ‘Them’

Step 2: Contextual user interviews

Due to the huge variety of workplace environments within the Trust, we opted to conduct our interviews in person at the interviewees’ place of work. This allowed us to experience the environment and get a deeper understanding of the issues they face. Specifically, we identified a strong correlation with stakeholder opinion that easy, quick access to information was vital. But the interviews also allowed us to specify more accurately the types of information they need – and when:

  • During patient care = Procedures, policies, guidelines and information
  • During patient transfer = Staff and service contact information

Step 3: User Survey

We also conducted a survey to acquire some more quantitative data on staff priorities. In particular, we provided staff with a list of the functionalities and features suggested by the stakeholders and asked them to select their top three.

Step 4: Workshop

While we had invited our clients to observe some of the research we conducted, they had been largely (and quite deliberately) kept out of the analysis. The workshop was therefore the first opportunity for us to:

  • Present our findings
  • Generate (and align on) ideas
  • Prioritise functionalities and features

Step 5: Prioritisation, cost/effort analysis & final scoping

Following the workshop, we ran a final prioritisation analysis based on the SMLWRLD Engagement Framework.

At this point it was important take a step back and re-visit the original business requirements and scope of the project to ensure the must-haves could be prioritised prior to launch.

Step 6: Open card sort & site architecture

We now had a clear idea of the topics and information the site would cover. However, we needed to ensure that the structure of the site met the following objectives:

  • Easy to understand
  • Informative
  • Drives users to priority information

To do this we ran an electronic card sort with 120 users. We asked them to categorise a list of 50 key topic areas into 5-8 groups, and to name those groups. From this we ran various analyses to come up with a structure that represented how staff think, and how the platform should be organised.

Step 7: Agile build

The site was built using an Agile methodology: sketching, wireframing, prototyping, user testing and building areas of the site in turn. Some pages were therefore fully built before the wireframing of others had begun. The learnings from the first section were fed into iterative updates for the next section – and so on until all sections were complete.

Content population

Priority was given to ensuring users could achieve their most critical task – getting contact information for a team, job role, task or specific person. We dedicated an entire section to delivering an organisational directory.

Understanding organisational processes Screenshot 2020-09-04 at 15.21.49.png

The intranet is always only one part of a user’s journey. There is no point providing content (e.g. a form or procedural document) if the context for that content is missing.

Learning the context for why and when a user would visit the site helped us develop a series of flow charts. A critical part of these flow charts was to allow users to see exactly which document, form or contact name they would require at any point in the process (see example on right).

Step 8: Beta Launch

Rather than delaying the launch of the site until all content had been completed, we chose to launch a Beta version with the staff directory and the HR content as a model content section, plus other areas such as news, events and forums, as well as an intranet feedback form so we could continue to learn from our users.


The Beta launch was incredibly successful and gained an enormous amount of positive feedback from staff. The platform is set to make an impact on the daily lives of staff around the Trust. Through the SMLWRLD process we uncovered:

  • The business drivers for the project to provide easy access to information
  • The user requirements were to access contact details and procedural documentation when they need it.
  • The platform should be task-driven rather than news or social-driven

And through an Agile process of design, testing and iterative updates, we ensured that it met objectives and was intuitive to use, even before a single line of code was written or a single button was clicked.


SMLWRLD intranets

SMLWRLD’s new SaaS intranets start at £180/annum for SMEs. Pricing for enterprises with over 100 users will vary. A 30% reduction on all pricing plans is available for public sector and not for profit organisations. A full breakdown of pricing can be found on the SMLWRLD pricing page.



SMLWRLD is a London-based SaaS intranet provider, with team members working around the globe. In addition to delivering seamless internal communications, knowledge management, collaboration and transactional tools, SMLWRLD intranets are a vital tool for businesses in their quest for sustainability, staff wellbeing and greater Corporate Social Responsibility. To find out more, contact SMLWRLD Managing Director Dan Jones at or on +44 (0)207 502 3591.

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