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Internet vs. Intranet
December 3, 2000

Is there a difference between designing a Web site for the Internet and Intranet?

Most definitely. These are two different environments, and it is important to consider the environment in designing Web site.

What is the difference in environment between the two?

Internet is characterized by the following:

  • Slow access speeds (e.g. 56Kbps dial up connectivity)
  • Different types of web browsers are used to view the website (e.g. Netscape, IE, Opera)
  • Different types of operating systems are used to view the website (e.g. Windows, Mac)
  • Global audience (e.g. multilingual, different cultures)

Intranets are characterized by the following:

  • Faster access speeds (e.g. 10Mbps LAN connectivity)
  • Standardized type of browser. Minimal or no compatibility issues
  • Standardized type of operating systems.
  • Primarily local audience

How do I design Web site for the Internet?
Designing Web site for the Internet is more difficult that designing a Web site for an Intranet environment. In general, a Web site designed for the Internet will work well in an Intranet environment. Considerations for designing an Internet Web site are:

  • Small file size for fast downloading
  • Designed to display and function correctly on a wide range of browsers
  • Avoid use of frames, search engines have difficulty indexing frames Web site
  • Content must consider the global audience

How do I design Web site for the Intranet?
Designing Web site for an Intranet is much easier than designing for the Internet. The technologies used in an Intranet setting is more standardized and controlled, unlike the Internet, wherein Web site are accessed by so many different types of technology. Considerations for designing an Intranet Web site are:

  • The file size can be bigger due to faster access speeds
  • You can design for a specific type of browser
  • Use of frames is acceptable

Note that in global companies, Intranet Web sites are connected via slow WAN connections. If your Intranet will be viewed by your local and global offices, it would be a good idea to design the Web site following the Internet criteria.

Until next month.

Joel Mangilit is an IT professor at the Graduate School of Business of De La Salle University (Manila, Philippines) and is CEO of www.webphil.com.

A global network of computers.

A network of computers limited to a company or organization.

As a freelance IT consultant, I help companies use IT to achieve business goals such as reducing operating expense and increasing sales and profits. My contact information can be found here.