Intranet / Extranet

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Difference Between Intranet and Internet


Users differ. Intranet users are your own employees who know a lot about the company, its organizational structure, and special terminology and circumstances. Your Internet site is used by customers who will know much less about your company and also care less about it.


The tasks differ. The intranet is used for everyday work inside the company, including some quite complex applications; the Internet site is mainly used to find out information about your products.


The type of information differs. The intranet will have many draft reports, project progress reports, human resource information, and other detailed information, whereas the Internet site will have marketing information and customer support information.


The amount of information differs. Typically, an intranet has between ten and a hundred times as many pages as the same company’s public website. The difference is due to the extensive amount of work-in-progress that is documented on the intranet and the fact that many projects and departments never publish anything publicly even though they have many internal documents.


Bandwidth and cross-platform needs differ. Intranets often run between a hundred and a thousand times faster than most Internet users’ Web access which is stuck at low-band or mid-band, so it is feasible to use rich graphics and even multimedia and other advanced content on intranet pages. Also, it is sometimes possible to control what computers and software versions are supported on an intranet, meaning that designs need to be less cross-platform compatible (again allowing for more advanced page content).

Most basically, your intranet and your website are two different information spaces. They should look different in order to let employees know when they are on the internal net and when they have ventured out to the public site. Different looks will emphasize the sense of place and thus facilitate navigation. Also, making the two information spaces feel different will facilitate an understanding of when an employee is seeing information that can be freely shared with the outside and when the information is internal and confidential.

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