Discovering opportunities to create a best in class intranet


Australian Maritime Safety Authority


User Research



 The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) identified that its employees were having a poor experience with their internal communications, and particularly knew that the intranet could be improved and better utilised as a communications channel. They wanted to understand the current state of their internal communication and discover opportunities to improve it. 

 AMSA has particular challenges with a very geographically diverse workforce, with regional offices all over Australia, and many staff who spend the majority of their time on the field in maritime environments. 

AMSA engaged Pragma Partners to conduct user research to uncover employees’ experiences of internal communications and the current intranet platform and identify opportunities as well as intranet design solutions, to better inform and connect staff across the agency. 

Pragma developed a detailed research plan which outlined the approach for a series of workshops and interviews with staff from across the agency, and socialised this plan with internal stakeholders. As an initial discovery, Pragma also conducted a heuristic evaluation on the intranet. A heuristic evaluation provides a detailed review of the overall usability of the service, and is also accompanied by an analysis of the quantitative data found on Google Analytics. This was designed to complement the qualitative research that was undertaken. 

The user research focused on a series of objectives which would frame the line of questioning used in both the workshops and interviews. Pragma involved employees across all AMSA levels in their research, including senior management and executives, as well as regional staff.

The research objectives were: 

  • Understand how internal communications shapes AMSA culture and employee engagement. 
  • Understand how employees currently interact with the intranet and how they would ideally interact with a new intranet. 
  • Gain direct insight and understanding of the agency’s purpose and direction by examining the communications activities, culture, work behaviours and needs of agency employees. 
  • Inform communications strategies by understanding the employee segments and existing communications mechanisms. 

The research was then analysed and produced into an Internal Communication and Intranet Blueprint. The Blueprint identifies opportunities to enhance the way internal communication occurs within AMSA, and improvements to be made in a future-state intranet. It had a focus on the intranet as an internal communication tool as well as the possible impact of, and considerations for, the concurrent SharePoint roll-out.

AMSA is now equipped with robust user research on their current state internal communications. This will enable them to action our recommendations and make steps to improve their communications, specifically their intranet. AMSA can now redesign their intranet and be sure that it meets all their user’s needs. Future work on internal communication can be backed with evidence that ensures its impact and success. 

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