Intranet glossary

The format of this document is not important - the priority is the content.

Audience wise, this document is for intranet managers, contributors, community managers, ‘users’, and comms people, not IT.

Add content where you want.

If you don’t like something in this draft document, add a comment - don’t simply delete stuff.

See Stephan Schillerwein’s German glossary - and the translation. (We cannot copy, but we can take some of the terms if appropriate.)


Adaptive Web Design - (see also Responsive Web Design) an approach to designing websites that allows them to be viewed in mobile devices and various screen sizes, ultimately providing visitors with a better mobile user experience. Adaptive web design relies on pre-defined screen sizes. Responsive Web Design relies on flexible and fluid grids.

Agile - an approach to projects and work. Agile practices encourage iterative work, light planning, and good conversations. Often compared to ‘old fashioned’ waterfall approach, where everything is planned in minute detail.

App - either a smartphone app that does something connected with the digital workplace, or smartphone app that provides access to the intranet / parts of the intranet. Also, colloquial term for 'functional parts' of an intranet that may be added to the intranet, e.g. an expense app on the main intranet.

Architecture - Information Architecture (IA) - the structure of the intranet. Not the navigation, but rather how sections if the intranet relate to each other or how the sections are structured. Often hierarchical or tree-like, but often like a network.

Analytics -  a set of tools to collect and display data on how a system is used. As a key differentiator from  monitoring tools, analytics is usually focused on aggregated data to offer statistical insights on trends and common behaviours.

Author - Also see: Contributor, and Owner.


Benchmark -

Blah-blah Text - static information on an intranet page that doesn’t change very often. Typically describes “who we are and what we do.” Candidate to be moved to a subsidiary page. Also: Boilerplate.

Brochureware - a type of content that is basically marketing; heavy on buzzwords, light on meaning. See: ‘vanity pages’.

Business case - The justification for an intranet project, expressed in terms of why it will be of net benefit to the organisation.  May be expressed in descriptive terms and/or financial cost/benefit but should always be set in the context of the organisation’s goals.  

Business Intelligence -


Call to action -

Can you just… ? - the beginning to a complicated expectation, couched as a simple question. See also: ‘have you got a minute?’.

Centralised governance - See also: Governance.

Click throughs -

Cloud - a growing trend to deliver many aspects of computing via the internet, either through the browser or apps.  This is in contrast to requiring software to run locally on a server and/or ‘client’ device.  A cloud-based intranet would have both the software and the content located on servers under the control of the provider rather than the customer organisation.  Pricing would be a monthly ‘rental’ fee rather than a licence fee.  See also SaaS

CMS - Content Management System -

Co-creation -

Collaboration - See Jane McConnell’s defining article. See also: co-operation.

Collaborative governance - See also: Governance.

Community -

Community Manager -

Content - everything that conveys meaning.

Content Management -

Content Management System (CMS) -

Content Strategy - the planning, creation, and distribution of content to strategically support goals.

Contributor - Also see: Author, and Owner.

Crowdsourcing -

Customisation - See also: Personalisation.


Dashboard -

Data -

Decentralised governance - See also: Governance.

Deploy -

Development -

Digital communication -

Digital workplace - “The devices and services, company provided or employee sourced, that the employee chooses to use to do their job” ~ Jonathan Phillip

Disruptive -

Dynamic -


End User - See also: User.

Engagement -

ESN - Enterprise Social Network -

Extranet - originally referring to an intranet that was either hosted outside the network, or accessible by staff outside the network. Now, as many intranets are in the cloud and / or accessible from mobile / home, extranet tends to refer to part of the intranet that is accessible to business partners as part of the supply chain.


Federated governance - See also: Governance.

Feed - See also News feed / Newsfeed.

Fold - the area of a page that is immediately visible to a user without scrolling, and therefore is regarded as the more critical for user engagement than what is “below the fold”.

Folksonomy - tagging content by people other than the creators of the content. A form of meta-data.

Followers -

Following -

F-pattern of reading - Coined following research by Nielsen Norman Group into how users read (or, more accurately scan) a web page. Eye tracking technology shows that users generally start at the top left of a page, scan headings, briefly scan the parapgraph, scan the next heading and briefly scan the next parapgraph. This creates a rough F pattern. It is important in understand how users scan pages and where information should be placed on a page to aid users.  

Freemium -


GIF / Gif / .gif - an image format that allows animation. Officially pronounced with a j, most sensible people pronounce it with a hard g.

Governance - “The processes and politics of managing and improving the intranet, and ensuring it supports business goals.” ~ Wedge. (See also: Centralised; Decentralised; Federated; Collaborative; Hybrid.


Hashtag - See also: Tag.

Hamburger icon - three short horizontal lines indicating a menu. Often used as a button on smartphone apps and mobile intranets to hide / offer the main menu.

Hero image -

Hits - A web analytic referring to the number the times a file is requested from a server. Not seen as a true or useful metric, given that one page might make several requests, depending on the complexity of the way the page is coded. Often referred to as 'How iditors track success'.  

Hybrid governance - See also: Governance.

Hyperlink / Link - see URI / URL

Home page / Homepage - the 'main, front page' of the intranet or of an individual site. Compare with 'landing page'.

HTTP - HyperText Transport Protocol -


Heuristic evaluation -


Ideation - The creative process of idea generation, development and communication. A key part of a design process and innovation.

iframe -

Image - See also, Resizing.

Information -

Insights -

Interactive -

Internet -

Intranet -

Intrapreneur -


JPG / JPEG / .jpg - an image format especially good for photographs (not graphics). Pronounced 'jay-peg'.


KPIs - Key Performance Indicators - like any business platform, agreed KPIs help steer and measure the intranet's success.

Knowledge Worker -


Landing page - the front page of a section of the intranet or even of a semi-independent site. I.e. The HR landing page offers HR news and the navigation to further, deeper HR information and applications. A better term than 'home page'.

Like -

Link / Hyperlink - see URI / URL

Layout - the structure of a page.


Masthead -

Menu -

Mega Menu -

Meta-data - Small pieces of information that describe or complement the main content, which help to organise or find the main content.  Examples include categories, dates, authorship.  

Metrics - measures, typically of levels of usage.  They are usually chosen to reflect what are thought to be the key performance indicators of the intranet.  However, it should be remembered that usage levels do not necessarily reflect value.  

Mobile / Mobilisation -

Multimedia -


Navigation - The means by which users find their way around the intranet, aside (usually) from using the search function.  Navigation is typically used to refer to the menu structure but can include links that do not form part of that structure.  

Network -

News - See also: Announcements, Updates.


Office 365 -

Old intranet - what people mean then they say 'traditional intranet' that does not have social / collaborative features.

Out of the box -

Owner - See also: Author, and Contributor.


Page layout - see Layout.

Personalisation - See also: Customisation.

Platform - See also: Product.

PNG / .png - an image format especially good for graphics (rather than photographs). Pronounced 'ping'.

Portal - A type of intranet whose main value is to provide an easy entry point to other systems or information resources, as opposed to offering content of its own.  

Post -

Product - See also: Platform.



Read-only -

Record / Records Management -

Resizing images - See also image editing

Responsive Web Design - (see also Adaptive Web Design) an approach to designing websites that allows them to be viewed in mobile devices and various screen sizes, ultimately providing visitors with a better mobile user experience. Adaptive web design relies on pre-defined screen sizes. Responsive Web Design relies on flexible and fluid grids - a site designed with a responsive web design approach will fluidly change and respond to fit any screen or device size.

Roadmap -

Role -


SAAS - Software as a Service -

Site - separate section of the intranet that is semi-independent. An intranet is often made up of departmental sites, team sites, themed sites. Each site needs configuring and managing.

Search Results Page -

Self-Service / Self-Serve -

SLA - Service Level Agreement -

SLT - Service Level Target -

Solution -

Surface -


Tag - See also: Hashtag.

Traditional intranet - what people say to indicate a broadcast-only intranet, lacking in collaborative and social functionality. An 'old intranet'.

Taxonomy -


Unique views - See also: Views.


User - See also: End User.

User Generated Content -

User Interface -


Vanilla -

Vanity page - a ‘welcome to our department’ page that gushes about the team’s vision or mission. Often with a picture of the department director. Boring and unrelentingly useless. (See also Blah blah text.)

Vendor -

Views -

Visits - (different to Visitors)

Vistors -

Vision -

Voice of the Customer -

Voice of the Employee -


Waterfall - an approach to projects and work. Waterfall practices rely heavily on very specific requirements and then massive planning before any work begins.

Web app -

Web-fonts -

Web safe fonts -

White space - empty space around content. Not always white.

Wiki -

Working Out Loud - Purposefully making your work visible (usually via an ESN) in such a way that it might benefit others. By doing so, creating shared networks of knowledge that  add value to all involved.

Work flow -

World Wide Web (WWW) -

Wrapper -


X-space - old-fashioned and deprecated technical function of putting white space to the left and right of an image.


Yamjam -

Y-space - old-fashioned and deprecated technical function of putting white space to the top and bottom of an image.


This draft document is maintained by members of the WIC - Worldwide Intranet Challenge.

If you don’t like something in this draft document, add a comment - don’t simply delete stuff.

Contributing members: