Intranet Content & Utility

Product:  SharePoint 2007, 2010, 2013

ROI
As the business users are already a captive audience of intranet users, I am more focused on providing utility from SharePoint (90%) versus the overall graphic design features (10%). Sometimes that additional 10% can be very costly (i.e.; master page development across every site template) versus applying CSS at the web app, site or page level.

Focus
The majority of internal business users want SharePoint to make their life easier so that they can get on with their next priority or task.

Here’s a few recent examples of utility provided to my internal clients …

  • help me auto-populate people profile properties across multiple columns in a
    list with workflow
  • help me with document approval workflow
  • help me create a survey with branching capabilities
  • help me include metadata properties on a library so my audiences can find the
    content via navigation and search
  • help me with the information architecture of my site (i.e.; content, users,
    context)
  • help me configure my collaboration site (i.e.; team, project, group)
  • help me configure a few lists and pages so that I can track and present
    employee participation in a local office charity event
  • help me configure a list to track employee requests (i.e.; vacation,
    training, conference events, etc.) for management approval and then provide
    visibility of only the approved requests on the office location site calendar

Low Hanging Fruit
None of these business users asked me about background images, list colors, web part title fonts, etc. They had a business problem that they needed help solving.

Perspective
Now, is the ‘woo’ factor of look, feel, colors, styles, font sizes important? I would have to say Yes. But execute and implement it in such a way that it is easy for the users to implement. A great example of this is the SharePoint themes. There are 10-12 delivered and others can be uploaded to SharePoint very simply via a PowerPoint theme file. The users can then adjust the individual colors of the theme as needed.

Extra Mile
With a bit of guidance regarding CSS, business users can use styles within a page content editor web part to change the look and feel of their site. There are a few more technical users that go this route while the majority prefer to use the SharePoint themes.

References

How has SharePoint affected you?

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