Intranet Professional
Volume 4 Number 6
November/December 2001

Redesigning the Information Center Intranet at Consumer Reports
by Sandy Schlosser, InfoCenter Webmaster, Consumers Union/Consumer Reports

The Information Center at Consumers Union (CU), publisher of Consumer Reports magazine and the site, is a reference and research service for CU staff. We answer questions related to the organization, testing, reporting, business development, and advocacy activities of Consumers Union. We research, synthesize, and analyze data, then we present our findings in the manner that best fits the need. 

The Information Center's intranet site is a searchable, continuously updated research tool that connects staff to documents, databases, and services. Affectionately labeled the "IRG," the InfoCenter Resource Guide is a dynamically generated, database-driven Cold Fusion site. Out of a staff of 500, over 350 employees access one or more pages on the site every month. Like many intranets, IRG grew rapidly, in a rather piecemeal fashion; like many managing this type of intranet, we knew that the site needed to be redesigned--quickly and creatively. 

Why Redesign?
We were first made aware of the necessity for redesign when CU staff began commenting that information was increasingly difficult to find on the site. For several months prior to this feedback, we had experienced problems finding the right place to post new content on the site. We realized that IRG had an awkward information architecture, and that the dynamic database structure of the site was underutilized. The redesign began January 2001 and the IRG 3.0 was launched April 26, 2001. 

[Complete article available in print] 

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