Redesigning a Public Sector Intranet and Employee Experience

Streamlining and modernizing a Crown Corporation's intranet web portals to create a single point of access with a more discoverable, shareable, and engaging user experience for staff.


Outwitly is a strategic partner with several federal government departments, engaging in design strategy and research initiatives year after year. As the public sector shifts towards providing increasingly digital and online services for Canadians, government employees and teams likewise need the capacity and guidance to transform the way they do business.

Our team worked with a government department to renew its intranet web portal in order to create a more discoverable, shareable, and engaging user experience for staff.

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I will always give Outwitly 5 gold stars. I have enjoyed working with their UX team and appreciate their thoughtfulness and attention to detail. I can’t wait to work with them again!

Senior IT Professional, Federal Crown Corporation

The Challenge

This department of 5,000 full-time and part-time employees was regularly using eight (!!) separate Intranet sites, as well as other cumbersome tools and software applications to perform their work. Employees and managers were frustrated by their own inefficient workflows and the variety of tools and applications they were expected to use without proper training. There were also no best practices in place for digitally saving, sharing, and storing documents.

The Goal

Identify employee frustrations and inefficiencies through user research, better understand which digital tools are working––and which are not, provide recommendations, and lead the redesign of a single central Intranet service.

The Process

To design a comprehensive Intranet that served a diverse set of government employees, we used a human-centered design and research approach to conduct a series of ethnographic research activities. We launched a department-wide digital survey, and conducted in-depth interviews with 16 employees across diverse teams and levels. Outwitly also held three half-day Design Jam workshops with employees and stakeholders.

The Design Jam workshops allowed us to build excitement and awareness around the larger project, and pinpoint the top challenges employees faced when using the existing Intranet sites, all by applying design-thinking principles. We collaboratively built a set of user personas representing the various roles within the department, and conducted several journey-mapping exercises to visualize workflows and identify gaps as a group.



The Research


Survey Respondents

Staff and stakeholders


In-Depth Interviews

Staff across departments


Workshop Participants

Over 3 days

Alongside user personas, journey maps, and a highly visual Insights Report, Outwitly recommended a set of guidelines and best practices for digital collaboration and improved ease-of-use. These insights informed the UX design and complete overhaul of the Intranet portals into one cohesive platform tailored to each user persona. This involved consolidating the sites, improving search functionality, and redesigning the information architecture and navigational structure to be more task-based, in addition to creating storyboards, page layouts, and wireframes for +25 key screens and countless more features.

The Impact

The final outcome was a completely redesigned and streamlined Intranet portal user experience. The new Intranet service has positively impacted employee experience across the organization, improving efficiency by giving staff better and more comprehensive access to the tools and information they require to do their work. It has also reduced service calls to the IT department, as navigation of the new intranet system is now much simpler, with fewer technical issues.

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