Category Archives: WSS

Design Manager and The Return of the Snazzy Looking 15 Minute Weather Web Part


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Editor’s note: Contributor Erik Abderhalden is a consultant with Rightpoint. Follow him @erikboderek

They say there’s only two seasons in Chicago: construction and winter. Thankfully most of the major highway and tolls are construction free now (sans I-90 west of 290), and winter is a while away. Or is it? Chicago weather is downright bizarre. How do you keep tabs on what it’s like outside? 15 minute weather web part to the rescue!

What I love about the 15 minute weather web part is how easy it is to style. Unlike other weather web parts, you can really get into this one and style it however you want. In my initial post this would just be another ol’ web part sitting pretty in a zone. What if I’m too cool for zones? OK Fonzie, chill. We can create the weather web part as a snippet and place it anywhere we want and style it however we want. Since we’re too cool for zones, we can even embedded in – wait for it – the master page.

Thanks to the HTML snippet generator in SharePoint 2013 you can place it anywhere you want in the master page. Here’s how. Make sure Publishing is enabled on your site first.

  1. Download jQuery Tools here and zWeatherFeed here and place them in your site. Download jQuery too – especially if your master page isn’t already using it.
  2. Follow the configuration steps in my original post (stop after the first code block)
  3. Save the code as a text file
  4. Upload the text file to your Style Library and publish it
  5. Follow steps 1-5 here.
  6. In the Design tab select Media and Content > Content Editor
  7. 2013-11-12-WeatherWebpart-Part02-01.png

  8. In the content link property, enter the URL of where the text file from step 4 was uploaded
  9. Expand the Appearance section and set Chrome Type to None
  10. Click the Update button right of the web part properties
  11. 2013-11-12-WeatherWebpart-Part02-02.png

  12. Click Copy to Clipboard. Don’t worry that the preview is empty.
  13. Open up your master page in SharePoint Designer
  14. Make sure you open up the HTML version of your master page and not the .master
  15. Look for SharePoint: AspMenu ID="TopNavigationMenu". A line or two after it there should be a / asp: ContentPlaceHolder> and a / SharePoint: AjaxDelta> . Create a div with the class "weather".
  16. Paste the content copied from the snippet generator inside that div. It should look something like this:
  17. 2013-11-12-WeatherWebpart-Part02-03.png

  18. Save the master page and check out your site

OK – so it looks a little wonky. Let me help you with some CSS. Throw this in a CEWP or reference it via an external stylesheet in your master page. This won’t be perfect because the position of the classes depends on other elements in your master page, but this should whet your appetite.



When done, your web part should look like this. If you have multiple locations in your text file, the web part will rotate through them as well.

2013-11-12-WeatherWebpart-Part02-04.png

I wanted to share one caveat. If you’re using design manager to package up your publishing assets to move between environments or create a boilerplate site template, leaving the 15 minute weather web part, or any other web part embedded in the master page, is a bad idea. Strange things happen when you import the package. I’ll save you the headache now instead of later.

Finally I need to share some credit where credit is due. This post wouldn’t be possible without the help of my awesome coworker Liz Sdregas.

SharePoint: New Packaging Requests in a Team Site


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Editor’s note: Contributor Ellen van Aken is an experienced intranet adoption manager. Follow her @EllenvanAken

2013-11-10-NewPackaging-01.jpgThis is yet another example of streamlining a process where incomplete information was given via various channels.

What was the problem?

One of our global brands was struggling with their packaging process. Being in the fast-moving consumer goods business, there were always many new products being introduced and many promotions going on at any given time. Very often (such as: “now 20% extra!”) this meant that a new packaging had to be designed and printed.

For reasons of cost-efficiency and standardization, all packaging from one brand had to be centrally purchased. The purchasing manager was receiving incomplete information through various channels. Next to that, the requests were often received too late to allow the supplier the necessary lead time. Consolidating all information and ordering exactly the right amount of the right product at the right time was therefore not an easy task. I assume you will recognize this2013-11-10-NewPackaging-02.gif.

What is the solution?

You take one Team Site, as per my usual recipe2013-11-10-NewPackaging-02.gif.

We have turned an Excel form (which was used occasionally) into a Team Site custom list.

We made use of mandatory fields to force people to add information they often forget, such as the budget number, or whether the seconday packaging needs to be changed temporarily as well.

A calculated field is used to determine the deadline for artwork. So, if you want your new packaging to be ready on October 1, you MUST deliver your packaging designs before August 1. This was one of the more frequent problems. With the new process, delivering late is no longer allowed.

A workflow allows the purchasing manager to check if all details have been entered correctly. All approved requests are visible to all members.

The packaging supplier has read-access to the Team Site. The official ordering is done in the supplier’s system.

What are the benefits?

Although marketeers did not really like the limitation of their freedom, (especially where artwork deadlines were concerned), the new process has had many benefits for the total organization:

  • The process has saved time for the purchasing manager because she now receives complete and correct information.
  • All artwork is now being delivered on time, reducing last-minute stress for all. This is more a result of the implementation of the process, rather than the Team Site itself, of course.
  • The purchasing manager can now combine different requests and get better conditions.
  • The supplier knows beforehand what he can expect.
  • All requests are creating a large database. Marketeers in different locations can see what their colleagues are doing or have done, so they can share experiences with a certain action, or combine a promotion and therefore save costs.

Once again, this is not rocket science, it does not even use sophisticated new code, it is just regular SharePoint with a bit of thinking.

This screenshot shows the data entry screen.

2013-11-10-NewPackaging-03.gif
New Request Data Entry

Below you see the Homepage with all approved requests on the left, for everyone to see and share. On the right, a web part with only My Requests waiting for confirmation. (In the real situation, this would be all My Requests, but since I have created all requests, I had to use another filter to show a difference2013-11-10-NewPackaging-04.gif.

2013-11-10-NewPackaging-05.gif

SharePoint: Create a Snazzy Looking Weather Web Part in 15 Minutes or Less


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Editor’s note: Contributor Erik Abderhalden is a consultant with Rightpoint. Follow him @erikboderek

When people ask me what’s the weather is like outside, I think of Good Morning Vietnam when Robin Williams asks his fictional weather reporter Roosevelt E. roosevelt what the weather’s like. Roosevelt snaps back, "You got a window? Open it."

When it comes to intranet sites, one of the more frequent requests is the ability to display weather. Not everyone in corporate America has the ability to open a window, nay even sit by a window. Thus a weather widget, or in the case of SharePoint a web part, is utilized to showcase the current temperature and give workers something to look forward to when they leave work or plan their weekend.

If you Google "SharePoint weather web part" you get a slew of solutions and they all have different functionality. What if instead of downloading a web part you could use a content editor web part and some JavaScript, CSS and accomplish the same functionality for free? It’s easy to set up and takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.

In this solution, I’ll be utilizing Zazar’s zWeatherFeed JavaScript and some CSS. zWeatherFeed utilizes Yahoo weather and is easily customizable to meet your requirements.

First, download the zWeatherFeed JavaScript here. If you’re like me and reside in the United States, we don’t use Celsius like the rest of the world, so we need to change the script to use Farenheit instead of Celsius. In your favorite script editing program, open up the script you just downloaded. Do a search for "unit" and replace the value of "c" to "f". The location varies if you downloaded the .min.js or .js file. Here’s what you need to look for:

zweather.min.js
unit:"c"
zweather.js
var defaults = { unit: ‘f’,

Great. Upload the JS to a safe place on your SharePoint site.

Now create a new text file. In the text file we’re going to place our code to call the JavaScript, and set up the HTML formatting for the weather.

The code is as follows. Be sure to update line 3 to reflect the JavaScript’s actual location.



In line 7 of the code are all the zip codes the web part will diplay the weather for. You can use up to 10 zip codes so update the code to be reflect all the zip codes you wish to display. When done, upload the file to your site.

Now you’ll need some styling. First things first, download this image and add it to your SharePoint site. This will be used to toggle between the different weather forecasts and displays at the bottom of the web part.

We’re not doing anything fancy here other than following the instructions about styling the .day and .night classes so the web part’s background will reflect if it’s presently day or night in the currently location. You can add the stylesheet to the page via your prefered MO: another CEWP, in the same text file as the JS, an external stylesheet etc.,

However you place the stylesheet, be sure to update line 53 to reference the image you downloaded in the previous step. If you don’t include the reference, no worries, but you won’t have the nice navigation in the web part because that’s what truly defines this web part as snazzy opposed to all those non-snazzy weather web parts.



Be sure to upload the CSS to your site. Now that the fun stuff is done, it’s just configuring the page. Add a content editor web part to the page and reference the JavaScript in the web part’s content link property. Repeat if applicable for the CSS. And voila! You’re now the proud owner of a snazzy looking weather web part!

2013-11-05-WeatherWebpart-01.png

SharePoint: News Translations in a Team Site


You may also be interested in: O’Reilly – SharePoint 2010 at Work


 

Editor’s note: Contributor Ellen van Aken is an experienced intranet adoption manager. Follow her @EllenvanAken

This example may be interesting for Communication employees in multinational organizations.

What was the problem?

As in many international companies, the company language is English. Most people can read that, but general survey feedback showed that employees would really appreciate to read important business news in their own language.

So the Communications team decided that those messages would be translated into 14 different languages. Hiring an external translation agency was easy, but how to handle all those primary, draft and final documents (some of which were unintelligible for the Comms team) without getting confused?

What is the solution?

We set up an external Team Site with 2 libraries:

  • One library for the primary document, in English. The agency set an Alert (Added Documents, Immediately) so they know when they have to start translating.
  • One library for the translations. The agency uploads the translations to this library, using a special naming convention, adding the language as metadata, so we can group the documents by language.
    Designated local employees then check the translations, making sure that the texts fit country and company culture. These employees have set an Alert (Added Items, Daily) so they know when they have to correct a document. They can make changes online. When a translation is OK, a box is “final” is checked.
    (Since the Alert can not distinguish beteen languages, we suggest a Daily e-mail to avoid getting too many irrelevant emails)
  • Communications has also set an Alert to the Translations library, to monitor progress. (All Changes, Daily)

All documents with”the “final” checkbox are made visible to employees in special views by language.

(for advanced users: in a separate Team Site we have created one Web Part Page per language, and “project” the documents, filtered by language, on that page using Corasworks)

What are the benefits?

This setup is not ideal, since the information is still hidden in documents and there are no Alerts per language. A truely online process with targeted news in the correct translation on people’s Homepage would be better, but that is not available at this moment. Still, this setup does help to streamline the process:

  • All documents are in one place.
  • Notification emails that “you have work to do” are being sent automatically.
  • Documents are properly tagged with metadata.
  • No confusion with loads of documents in individual emails.
  • The data can be used for KPI’s, such as turnaround time, learning curve of the translation agency, and projected costs.

Another example of how some thinking and experience with SharePoint can solve those all-too-common business problems!

This is the Source library, containing the original English document:

2013-11-03-EmployeeDirectory-01.png
Source Library, containing the original English documents.

And this is the Target Library, where the translations can be uploaded.

2013-11-03-EmployeeDirectory-02.png
Library for the translated documents

SharePoint: Employee Directory and a Team Site


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Editor’s note: Contributor Ellen van Aken is an experienced intranet adoption manager. Follow her @EllenvanAken

Maria was one of our most dedicated administrators of the Employee Directory. She was working in one of our larger locations, and she was very motivated to keep her part of the Directory up-to-date. If you saw an employee profile from her location, you could trust it would be 100% accurate. Being that dedicated also took her a lot of time. So she asked me if there was a solution to her chasing everyone for the correct information.

What was the problem?

The Employee Directory was not (yet) connected to another system, so it had to be updated manually.

Maria’s location included many manufacturing and marketing employees, who changed jobs frequently. She received information about changes from various channels: e-mail, documents (via e-mail or snail mail). chat, fax, telephone and visits to her desk. Hardly anyone provided the full set of details needed, so she always had to ask people for the additional information.

What is the solution?

We set up a simple SharePoint custom list for her, in local language. We used pre-filled Choice or Lookup columns where possible, to make it easy for the requester and guarantee consistent information. We made two views: “In Progress” (default), and “Completed”.

Maria set an Alert (Added Items, Daily Summary) so every morning she knew the changes she had to make.

When she had made the required change for one person, she would tick the box “completed” in the request and the item would move to the “Completed” view. This way she always knew which requests were still waiting for her, and she also had an archive of finished requests.

What are the benefits?

  • Maria saved time, because the information she received was complete. There was no longer any need to chase someone for missing information.
  • The business was happy, because the changes were processed faster, making the Directory more accurate and trustworthy. (Of course they grumbled a little when they were confronted with a new process, but Maria sold the benefits very well – and simply refused to process any request via another channel2013-10-27-EmployeeDirectory-01.gif)
  • Many employees were now working in SharePoint lists, and this sparked ideas for other applications.
  • This was a very generic process which could be replicated to other locations easily. So even though this project did not generate many financial benefits, the project had a high priority because it was a very reproducible solution.

Another inefficient process was streamlined with little effort!

Please find below some re-created screenshots.

2013-10-27-EmployeeDirectory-02.gif

2013-10-27-EmployeeDirectory-03.gif

SharePoint: Telesales in a Team Site


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Editor’s note: Contributor Ellen van Aken is an experienced intranet adoption manager. Follow her @EllenvanAken

2013-10-20-Telesales-01.jpgOne of the teams spends their days making telephone calls to customers, asking them about a brochure or telling them about a new product or a special offer. This team has many calls to make each day, the more the better!

All phone numbers were in an Excel file, which was shared in a Team Site. Every Call Agent looked through the Excel file for the numbers assigned to them, and after the call edited the line item with the outcome of the call, as well as changes in information that they had learned during the call. (E.g. new contact person, change in telephone number).

What was the problem?

  • Opening the file and finding their assigned phone numbers took a long time.
  • Editing the item and saving the information caused waiting time (if the file was checked out by another call agent) or overwriting issues, (if a call agent forgot to check out)
  • All customers were in the file, whether they had been called or not
  • Management was always asking “how things were going” because they were curious and nobody had an overview of progress or results. This meant Call Agents had to spend time on ad-hoc reporting, which took time away from their calling time

What is the solution?

We opened up the Excel file by importing the data into a pre-configured Issue list in a Team Site. We created different views, such as:

  • New calls to be made, as well as call-back appointments, grouped by Call Agent
  • Completed calls, grouped by Result Code for a quick overview with sums (e.g. Appointment, Not interested, Business Discontinued, Offer)
  • Export view to export the data back into an Excel file for detailed analysis

By removing the finished calls to a different view, every call agent can see quickly which and how many calls he or she needs to make, without making mistakes.

We also added some real-time Excel graphs for management, so they can see progress and outcome of any promotional action in real-time. These graphs can also be used to evaluate the Call Agents’ performance and to share tips for a succesful approach between Call Agents.

What are the benefits?

  • Call Agents know exactly which customers to call or follow-up; editing a line item is much faster than editing a file so they can do their work more quickly
  • Call Agents make less mistakes in calling a customer twice or overwriting someone else’s edits
  • Management has a real-time overview of progress and outcomes, and they can see that without bothering the Call Agents
  • It is now possible to see progress as you go along, enabling the Marketing Manager to make adjustments during the promotion
  • It is clear which Call Agent is most succesful, which enables exchange of good practices between Call Agents

All in all, this simple Issue list has enabled the Call agents to make TWICE as many calls a day as before!

So, small wonder that other departments have embraced this solution as well – by now there are 3 teams calling in this way.

Another succesful cure for Document Addiction!2013-10-20-Telesales-02.gif

Please find a screenshot below, this shows the real-time Result Codes (e.g. Call, Written Proposal Requested, Meeting Requested, Already Bought This; Not Interested etc.) on the horziontal axis. Vertical is the count of this result code. The graph is slightly distorted because screenshot was made early in the Action, when there were still many calls (3344) to be made.

2013-10-20-Telesales-03.gif

Below is a screenshot of the results by Call Agent. On the horizontal axis the names of the individual Call Agents, on the vertical axis their stack of different result codes. This enables management to monitor both their productivity (# calls made) and their effectiveness (# of calls that have a favourable result). Please note that Call Agents do not all work fulltime.

2013-10-20-Telesales-04.gif

SharePoint: CRM in a Team Site


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Editor’s note: Contributor Ellen van Aken is an experienced intranet adoption manager. Follow her @EllenvanAken

One of the most successful “SharePoint solutions” has been the Incident Log of one of the APAC companies. It was built to be a temporary (1.5 years) site to solve an urgent business problem, until SAP would provide the proper CRM functionality. Due to postponement of the SAP rollout, it is still heavily used today (more than 3 years later). The site is praised for its user-friendliness and transparency. In fact, rumors are that users are NOT looking forward to changing this system to SAP 2013-10-10-CRMTeamSite-01.gif

What was the problem?

The country’s Customer Service Desk received their customer complaints in various ways: from 7 different systems, via email, snail mail, telephone, fax and by going to the Customer Service desk. Information provided was seldom complete, and there was no central system or agreed process to log and manage complaints. Many complaints were lost during the process, and if they were not, turnaround could vary from 2 weeks to 2 years.

All complaints were reimbursed to the customer, because it was almost impossible to properly investigate a complaint.

There was no insight in root causes of complaints, so it was not easy to make any improvements to systems or processes.

What is the solution?

The country organized a workshop with all involved disciplines, describing the current and the desired process. The Business Process Owner Order-to-Cash and I worked together to turn an Issue List into a streamlined Incident Logging, Processing and Managing system, that would enable all involved parties (Customer Services, Quality Assurance, Warehouse Managers, Finance, and even the external Transport Company) to quickly add, review and edit information. Every complaint was one list item.

On the Home Page an overview of all open incidents, and their accumulated value, are shown as a very high-level dashboard.

2013-10-10-CRMTeamSite-02.gif
The Homepage is dashboard for open incidents and process information.

We added some Corasworks tricks, such as a Search function and an automated email that would copy much of the Incident’s information into an email to the transporter, in case a delivery had to be taken back to the Warehouse.

Of course, with a major process like this, it took a long time to get this realized. But as usual, thinking was the most work. What is the current process? Where does it hurt? What is the best flow? How can we make it complete, but keep it simple and workable? How do we train people? How do we manage changes? How do we make this truly a part of a new way of working? The BPO and I spent long hours discussing both the process and the functional implementation.

2013-10-10-CRMTeamSite-03.gif
First part of the data entry screen.

What are the benefits?

  • The country now has one database for all Incidents, enabling different ways to sort, group or filter: by Product, by Complaint Type, by Customer, Open for longer than 2 weeks, etc.
  • Key Performance Indicators have been agreed and can be monitored.
  • System and process are agreed and transparent, eliminating the need to discuss the process repeatedly
  • Turnaround time has decreased to as low as 2 hours due to more insight and less handling
  • Due to the better insight it has been possible to improve processes and performance. One transport company has already been discontinued since they caused many problems. Others have been given a warning. Changes have been made in the factory to solve certain issues. This has decreased the total number of Incidents by about one-third.
  • Significantly less money has to be paid to customers. Now that the process has been agreed, it is easier to assign responsibility. If the customer has caused the problem, no money is reimbursed. If the transport company has caused the problem, they have to pay.

All in all, this Team Site has saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, and there is much less discussion about the process.

Why Do People Hate SharePoint?

 

Editor’s note: Contributor David Lavenda is Vice President of Product Strategy at harmon.ie. Follow him @dlavenda

During the third week of November 2012, Microsoft hosted its annual SharePoint conference, an extravaganza of everything and anything that has to do with SharePoint, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. The conference crowd was an avid and passionate group of SharePoint boosters and the buzz around the show was electrifying. People who recently spent their vacation there, might jump to the conclusion that everyone LOVES SharePoint.

However, working with customers all over the world, we often hear the opposite opinion about SharePoint. Typical business users don’t love SharePoint, when forced to use it, many will openly admit their aversion of SharePoint. Why’s that? Here is a list of common reasons why people hate SharePoint:

  1. Deployment time takes too long – According to a Forrester survey over 40% of respondents reported that deployments ran over the allotted time and approximately 60% of these respondents claimed it was due to technical difficulties. Delays in IT projects such as SharePoint deployments can cause organizations to lose valuable time and money.
  2. SharePoint can’t be used “out-of-the-box” – Organizations learn that it is very hard to use SharePoint “as is.” They quickly discover that third-party tools are needed to augment SharePoint to address their business requirements. According to AIIM, the biggest on-going technical issue with SharePoint implementation is governance, specifically the management of metadata and taxonomies, and over 54% of organizations are either using or planning to use a third-party add-on product.
  3. “The proverbial Swiss army knife solution to every content”- From document management, project management, blog, wiki and even corporate intranet; SharePoint promises to delivers on a wide variety of needs, yet the end result is often “nothing more than a landfill for documents.”
  4. Poor user experience- In a Forrester survey, when enterprises were asked “In what way is SharePoint not meeting your expectations?” over 30% said that their users don’t like the SharePoint experience. 30% said that their end users prefer other tools such as email. This isn’t surprising since the typical business users revert back to their original business workflow once they encounter difficulties with a newly introduced platform.
  5. Poor mobile device access to SharePoint- In a study done by AIIM, 90% of survey respondents expressed some level of dissatisfaction from SharePoint’s Mobile device access. The business users want to stay productive in the office or on the go.

What Does This Mean?

How can we reconcile these reactions to the tremendous value that SharePoint brings to organizations and to its almost universal deployment? The underlying root cause of people’s dissatisfaction with SharePoint stems from poor preparation and unrealistic expectations about what SharePoint provides ‘out of the box.’

To ensure a successful SharePoint implementation and happy users, employ the following ‘tried and true’ strategies:

  1. Create a well-defined deployment process that takes into account the needs of not only tech-savvy IT people, but also your typical business users.
  2. Make sure your project focuses on a business solution and addresses the business users’ needs, such as making it easy to access SharePoint from the office and also when on the road.
  3. Integrate SharePoint into the typical business users’ everyday workflows.
  4. Follow Gartner’s advice4 and look to third party tools to plug functional deficiencies in SharePoint.

Following those 4 guidelines, will ensure that even the harshest of critics will fall in love with SharePoint.

2013-10-04-DontLikeSharePoint-03.jpg

Tools for SharePoint User Experience (UX) Design: Interactive Prototyping


You may also be interested in: O’Reilly – SharePoint 2010 at Work


 

Editor’s note: Contributor Adrian England is the Senior User Experience Designer at Creative Sharepoint. Follow him @ade_england

Introduction

Following on from the previous articles in this series Scamping, Paper Prototyping and Wireframing, the topic for this article is Interactive Prototypes.

What is Interactive Prototyping?

In the previous articles in this series a concept was taken through the stages of initial scamps to get the ideas down on paper and iterated quickly, a paper prototype to explain individual elements of functionality and then the creation of wireframes to show how the content will sit within the site.

At this stage you will probably have a number of wireframes depicting the different pages within a site. These wireframes will undoubtedly have the correct content and layout in place, but it may be difficult to illustrate how the individual pages come together to form a complete site.

This is where the interactive prototype comes in. Using Axure to create the initial wireframes means that these pages can now be wired together to form a clickable, navigable site. Again these files should contain no element of design, these should be purely monotone layouts with no imagery or stylised fonts, ensuring the focus is on the content with the addition of interaction.

Taking the wireframe created in the previous blog we can now add functionality, links, interactions and more… For the purpose of this blog I will focus on making the site navigable but there is a lot more that can be achieved by Axure, their site has a number of tutorials (http://www.axure.com/learn) and a lot more resources can be found online.

2013-10-04-InteractivePrototyping-01.jpg

Using Axure to create an Interactive Prototype

First off we need to decide which elements of the site will be used across all (or multiple) pages. For the purpose of this wireframe the header containing the navigation, site logo and search area will be required as a consistent element across the entire site.

For larger projects these elements could include document libraries, lists, newsfeeds, calendars or any other element that should remain consistent.

Similar to the SharePoint Ribbon in our SharePoint2013 Axure Library any page element can be turned into a “Master”.

Taking the wireframe created earlier, drag and select all of the elements in the header area.

2013-10-04-InteractivePrototyping-02.jpg

Right click on this selection and “Convert to Master”, naming the item “Header”.

2013-10-04-InteractivePrototyping-03.jpg

This new Master element will be displayed in the Masters panel (to the left of the prototype). Rename the pages (in the Pages panel) as required, then right click on the Header Master (in the Master panel) and select the pages it should be added to. The Master element can also be dragged on to an individual page and repositioned if required.

2013-10-04-InteractivePrototyping-04.jpg

Now edit the master by double clicking on the master element, either on the page (highlighted in red) or in the Master panel, this will open the Master created earlier so you can edit all the pages globally.

Links can be added to the Navigation buttons by right clicking on them and adding cases. The Header will now be updated with links on all pages that it has been placed on allowing the site to be navigable.

2013-10-04-InteractivePrototyping-05.jpg

When finished adding content and functionality to each page, the prototype can be exported into a html prototype allowing the user to click through the site and explore.

Once tested by the user and approved the project can then progress to the design stage, confident in the knowledge that the content and functionality have been agreed. Going through this process and separating content, functionality and aesthetics allows the designs to be considered purely on their own merit and the underlying functionality understood without further explanation or iteration.

SharePoint: Facebook in a Team Site


You may also be interested in: fpweb.net


 

Editor’s note: Contributor Ellen van Aken is an experienced intranet adoption manager. Follow her @EllenvanAken

“We need something like Facebook’s the Wall”, one of our Field Sales Managers told me. It was interesting to see that a popular external tool was triggering people to think about a similar solution in the company. They could not use Facebook because their information is confidential, but by describing it in that way, it visualized their needs very clearly.

What was the problem?

It turned out that 16 Sales Managers, all working outside the office, had a habit of sending a daily report of their store visits, including pictures, to all 15 colleagues + Manager + 10 back-office employees, by email.

You can guess the situation: everyone stored lots of emails, with the information hidden in documents, not tagged or categorized, and their email boxes were all too large because of all the pictures. So, what they needed was one central place where they could upload their Sales Memo’s and pictures, and where the back-office could find all reports per customer, or on a certain category.

What is the solution?

Well, we did not have Facebook, but we could do that in a Team Site. I used an Announcement list for the Sales Memo’s, adding mandatory customer and category dropdown fields, and a Picture Library was added for the pictures (also with customer dropdown).

2013-10-03-FacebookTeamSite-01.gif

I added a search function and told everyone how to set a Daily Summary Alert, to enable everyone to know if something had happened.

The last 5 Sales Memo’s were shown on the Homepage, with the name of the creator, which triggered all Sales Managers into adding all their Sales Memo’s immediately. This little vanity trick helped speed up adoption!

2013-10-03-FacebookTeamSite-02.gif

What are the benefits?

  • Less emails sent & stored
  • A central transparant database is created
  • Information is easily searchable due to the customer and category metadata
  • Less time and irritation while searching

And when it was properly implemented, the Field Sales Manager asked me another question…but that will be another Blog item. 2013-10-03-FacebookTeamSite-03.gif

Do you have an example where a popular tool shows people the way to working more efficiently? Please share it!