United Nations
31st July 2015
Business Critical Solutions
6th July 2016
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First Choice Housing Association



Simple tasks excellently executed.

– Intranets suffer from a bloat of unused features and clutter. Yet there are key tasks that serve the vast majority of users, but are either poorly covered or hidden beneath bloated features.

– After gaining lots of great user input across the organisation via workshops and surveying, we produced a core list of needs. Prototyping and – crucially – user testing those prototypes – enabled us to produce simple, yet very effective solutions and make sure these were the focus of the user interface. These simple important tasks drove everything and left room for other key information (alerts, messaging, and key communications) the space to also remain visible.


Finding documents and resources

– Again this is a task so poorly done time and again. Here we used a ruthless approach to heavily rationalise types of documents so that they were useable but still descriptive (down from an useable 30+ to 7 types).

– We introduced tagging but made sure the creation of these were controlled via the editors so the tags don’t grow to a similarly unsensible mess over time.


– Very prominent alerts on the home page to replace the [email protected] facility. These are judiciously used for department or company wide announcements so as to maintain greater impact.

Top documents / Favourites

– Both favourite and commonly used document lists are very prominently displayed. These can be promoted by editors at appropriate times (month end for expenses forms etc).


– Careful attention to workable document types and categorisation aligned with tagging helps filter documents to narrow down the right area. These aren’t just features (e.g. Tagging) , much thought went into making sure they would actually work. Pushing hard to pare down the categories and keeping control (but always seeking feedback if things aren’t right from users) via editors, helps to make sure that bloat doesn’t creep in over time.

Directory and profiles

– Driven via full integration with Active Directory, a searchable directory replaced outlook alternatives which simplified internal processes, and again made sure the data was more accurate because it piggy backed off other core systems that were already being maintained.

Full analytics

– A customised Google analytics dashboard and reporting mechanisms to provide usage data and help identify areas for improvement.


Easy to use CMS

– Using the latest Umbraco GRID features to produce a super, easy to use CMS installation that is flexible powerful yet intuitive and reliable.

What’s in your area: a neighbourhood lookup facility

– Taking a feed from the main FCHO housing management system a lookup facility provides the user with only the information they need for their own neighbourhood. This custom development in the core Umbraco system, is easy to administer by adding repositories of information that then get tagged and routed into the main system including: local events, news, reporting of antisocial behaviour and full information about their local neighbourhood team.

Rent balance

– Users can check their rent balance by doing a lookup from their details. This is facilitated by a feed we have taken from the FCHO housing management system.

HR vacancies

– Integration with a 3rd party HRT system to provide a feed of jobs available with FCHO

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