VB Leasing International with its headquarters in Vienna is active in eight countries in the area of product leasing. Before the project, every country operated its own website. There was no common intranet. The aim of the project was to create a common international Web platform with individual country components and to additionally create an intranet platform, to optimize the internal communication within the country organizations and especially between the country organizations.
Requirement Definition, Information Architecture and Rough Concept
Before starting to design and to code, it is helpful to know where the trip is going lead. In ten workshops with representatives from all countries we defined the requirements and created a rough concept for the international Web platform. After this step, it was clear which operating spheres the individual websites and the overall intranet platform should have.
Detailed Concept, Mock-ups, Click-Dummy
Parallel to the series of workshops, we already started to create the individual modules. For the intranet, this was, e.g., a knowledge management system based on Wiki, a search functionality by employee, function and division, an extensive collaboration platform, a document management system, an organizational manual and a news area.
We documented the detailed concepts in mock-ups, resp. with a complete click-dummy – a clickable prototype.
In cooperation with Usecon and employees from the VB Leasing group, we established an extensive usability test for the intranet platform, the results of which were integrated into the concept and the design.
User Experience and Webdesign
A truism: Without an appealing design there is no good user experience, despite good usability. After the acceptance of the mock-ups and the click-dummy we gave all the page types and modules a modern, fresh design – of course taking into account the corporate design specifications and the technical framework.
The internet as well as the intranet platforms were implemented based on the open source portal software Liferay. Our partner for the implementation was the Vienna-based company “artidustrial it”. A special challenge here was the technical integration of the intranet platform with the various authentication systems in the nine countries.
Whoever doesn’t want to read can watch and listen: We summarized the most important benefits of the various leasing models in a short animated film.
Editing and Content Quality Assurance
A website only really comes alive through its content. This is why we attached special importance to the quality of the text and pictorial content. For this we provided the editors in all countries with an extensive editor’s guide.
Click-Dummy as a Creative and Usability Tool
In a large development process with many participants it is crucial that everyone visualizes the same prospective solutions. Text-based functional descriptions and sketches often leave too much leeway. With the click-dummy, that is, a prototype that hasn’t been given its final shape yet, but illustrates the most important functionalities and makes them come alive, it was possible to process the detailed concept very efficiently, although many people were involved.
In the course of the project the click-dummy grew step by step. All workshop results were consistently incorporated. Fine-tuning problems were immediately spotted and eliminated. And for the usability test, the click-dummy provided us with a functioning test environment.
Significantly more online queries (websites)
The number of online queries on the “VB Leasing” products has increased by about 20 % since the relaunch.
Operating cost reduction (websites)
The maintenance and development of the internet portal and the country pages has become much more efficient due to the relaunch. This lead to a marked reduction in operating costs.
International know-how-transfer (intranet)
Employees use the intranet for communicating across the limits of the country organizations. This has intensified the international know-how- transfer.
Common, structured knowledge creation (intranet)
The Wiki-based, multilingual knowledge management system now constitutes an essential reference tool for internal knowledge, because it easily available and easy to handle for every employee.