The intranet homepage for Merck KGaA, called “EVA,” is so obviously functional that at first a viewer might think, “There’s nothing special here.” But after a second look—and a third—the user will quickly see that this intranet has that rarest of online qualities: a quiet, understated beauty. That’s why Merck KGaA is the clear winner of the “Best Intranet Design” category of Ragan’s 2015 Intranet Awards.
The homepage immediately offers the viewer six clear color-coded navigation destinations in nine compact squares: [Business] Unit: light gray-blue; Topic: dark gray-green; Project: dull brick-red; Apps/Services: light green; Location: deep sky-blue; Process: light gray. These six colors mesh astonishingly well, and make clicking on the correct destination automatic and concentrating on the chosen task simple.
The type on this homepage is 10- and 12-point sans serif. No boldface type is used (not even for headlines)—except for the names of employees that appear in the 3½-inch white square titled “LATEST ACTIVITIES.” Every word, every letter is perfectly legible, even the reversed type in the colored boxes described above.
Exactly three news stories appear in the 3½-inch white newsfeed square titled, “MY NEWS.” No headlines, just simple teasers describe the story’s content. Very effective.
The headlines are unobtrusive: all business, all interesting. The caption headline beneath the small top photo of a huge glass-box office building reads, “ONE Global Headquarters.” The teaser below that headline says, “Check out how more room for innovation is created.“
This intranet was created for power, speed, search, and efficiency. It is the Ferrari of employee digital workplaces. It is all business, and it is extremely pleasing to look at.
Kudos to Merck KGaA digital media execs Frank Sielaff, Rudolf Froese, Stefanie Babka, and Karen Bradbury, and to Marian Moehren and Peter Kohlberger of Publicis Pixelpark.