Mark Wu
User Experience Designer

- The Social Intranet

Improving the UX of an out-of-the-box intranet to increase staff engagement

Client: NBCUniversal • Project Timeline: 1/2018 - 9/2018
Client: NBCUniversal • Project Timeline: 1/2018 - 9/2018
Wave - The Social Intranet


Wave was NBCUniversal's intranet serving over 70,000 staff globally. At the beginning of 2018, stakeholders thought Wave wasn’t living up to its potential. A quick assessment of the homepage discovered issues. The UX challenge lay in discovering what design and usability improvements could be made and then developing the outcomes that generate the most value.

How can we turn an unloved Intranet into a thing of beauty that staff would engage with?

My Role

With a small team, there was alot of close collaboration, particularly with myself and the Product Owner. I led the UX processes to back our decisions with data and insights resulting in an informed solution.

  • Communicated the benefits of a customer-centric approach
  • Analysed past performance of the intranet
  • Facilitated team and stakeholder workshops
  • Balanced the needs of users and the limitations of the intranet to create a UX direction
  • Delivered stakeholder-friendly UX assets from test results to wireframes
  • Presented proposals and outcomes to NBCUniversal Executives

Tools & Methods

  • Agile Methodology
  • Heuristic Usability Guidelines
  • Personas
  • Staff Interviews
  • Google Analytics
  • Search Results Analysis
  • Workshops
  • Usability Studies (Card Sort, Tree Test)
  • Wireframe Prototypes


We mapped out the project scope, possible areas to win and potential fears and limitations and analysed the target audience. With the intranet aimed at all staff, three personas were created to cover a wide scope of user goals. I put together a UX Plan to go from there. 

Wave - The Social Intranet

Reviewing Usability

I assessed Wave with Heuristic Usability Guidelines which enabled us to get an overview of Wave’s usabilty and gave us areas to focus our efforts on. It was discovered that 81% of usability issues were shortcomings of the intranet platform. The level of customisation via the intranet admin was also looked at, whereupon the limits were apparent and UX changes would be restricted so alternative intranet solutions were researched and reviewed. In the end, we kept Wave using it's limited customisation options, as it offered the most value.

Wave - The Social Intranet

Analysing Past Performance

There were years of analytics so past performance and extent of staff engagement was analysed. The most popular content that users wanted and their most frequent tasks were pulled out.
Wave - The Social Intranet

Defining Priorities

Armed with data and insights, the team workshopped the architecture, navigation and content priority. A card sort test placed content and tasks in order of importance and frequency so that the most popular content and the most frequent tasks could be prioritised.



Translating Insights into Action

Homepage wireframes were blocked out to translate content and task priorities to the page. Detailed wireframes then used live sample data which helped to strip out irrelevant content. Tree tests were run to check the taxonomy enabled users to find what they needed. After stakeholder validation, these were progressed onto UI design rather than undergoing further testing as impending deadlines loomed.


The new Wave launched in early July 2018 to positive feedback and measurable improvements

The visual enhancements were obvious to all observers with the clean, fresh design inviting staff to look around. They were able to easily find what they needed, saving time and frustration. The restructured navigation saw usage grow more than twice as much as before and there were also twice as many recorded users on the site after launch.
Wave - The Social Intranet
Usability Improvement
Nav Use Increase
Active User Increase
Session Time Increase

"Great job team, looks awesome, really easy to use"
"Love the fresh look of the updated Wave..."

Stakeholder & Staff Feedback