Our intranet’s newest killer feature is a PDF

Last year at TED we launched a home-grown intranet with features like a graphic display of talk-of-the-day video performance; searchable and sortable staff directory; project status board; video meeting creator; birthday, workiversary, and new hire widgets; directory of all public-facing digital properties; and a robust HR resource section—with many more features in the works.

Yesterday, though, we added something that has generated more positive feedback than anything else: a link to a map of our new office space featuring the names and locations of nearly 30 meeting spaces.

Here are some of the responses I received:

  • Omg so helpful. I’m blindly choosing rooms over here not knowing what size or where they are :P
  • I’m so glad you sent the map—thank you! I might or might not have been running back and forth writing down the names of rooms that I like to use. :) Thanks!
  • Omg. Game. Changer.
  • SO helpful!!!
  • literally all i’ve wanted for the last two weeks!
  • That map is the MOST USEFUL THING!!
  • You rule. Thank you for that.

One colleague sent his appreciation in gif form:

Where we once had just a few meeting rooms, our new space has everything from large conference rooms to intimate nooks. We chose clever names for these rooms, but the names, alas, don’t indicate location the way, say, an apartment number might—12B is a lot more telegraphic, if dull, than a meeting room named Bonobo or Mola Mola.

I originally wanted to use something more interactive like Google’s Indoor Maps, but time constraints (as well as the fact that you can only use Indoor Maps for public spaces, plus privacy concerns) put an end to that idea. So I simply cleaned up a PDF of the blueprints, added easy-to-read labels for the room names, and asked one of our engineers to add a link on the intranet. No big deal, right? Wrong. Instant happiness + oodles of good karma.

Solving for pain points is one of the most valuable things we can do as UX professionals, but the solutions don’t have to be complex. Perhaps your next killer feature will be something as mundane as a humble PDF.