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Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

 
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Marcy Kellar and I have been waving at each other in passing over the past year, but have never had time to slowdown and do a little work together. Last week at SharePoint Saturday Indianapolis, she delivered a well received presentation on the SharePoint UI. We're posting the slidedeck below, along with updated comments by Marcy to get you started. -- Mark Marcy KellarMake Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive -- Marcy Kellar One of the indicators of a successful SharePoint implementation is high user adoption and conversion rates. Driving these metrics up is the goal of many a SharePoint team. One of the ways to do this is to make your site more intuitive. First let’s note that a site design cannot be intuitive by itself. The design needs a user to intuit it. That’s a key factor in understanding success of a SharePoint site (or any website). Never forget how those “page hits” , “tasks” and “conversions” happen… users. The intuitiveness of any site is dependent on the user. The only way to make a site more intuitive is to understand what your user already knows and to make your site behave in alignment with a user’s expectations. Intuitive and highly-adopted sites were designed with a clear understanding of the user’s current knowledge and target knowledge (a well defined site objective and strategy) SharePoint has trouble being intuitive just out of the box. And here are two reasons why: 1. Visual Design Flaw: A flaw with SharePoint’s visual design is its inconsistency, i.e. the font and margins are not consistently implemented across the site. Thus, related information may look different. Users cannot tap into their understanding of how the web works and have to have brief internal dialogues to make decisions about information. This cognitive involvement stops the flow of task and can lead to a negative experience. 2. Solutioneering - Another flaw is that the site objective and strategy is not well defined prior to implementation or development. The solution (i.e. Master Pages, page Layouts, etc) comes before the objectives and functional requirements are flushed out. This is probably because there are so many “gotchas” and technical considerations with SharePoint (at least with SharePoint 2007) that they often come first. This isn’t a great way to build a site intended for actual use. (see Jeff Croft’s article on Solutioneering) This session focuses on Issue 1, the Visual Presentation and Ease of Use of a SharePoint site or any website for that matter. General improvements in visual presentation and usability minimize the gap between current knowledge and targeted knowledge. That’s an intuitive website. Without expensive user testing or user interviews, what can you do to improve the intuitiveness of your SharePoint site? Realize that your users have been using the web for years. They have booked reservations, paid bills, read the news, blogged, watched movies, and tagged photos on the web. They understand search and navigation; they have a base understanding of web content and how to use it. I presented the following slide deck during SharePoint Saturday Indianapolis. The session provided an overview of usability best practices and visual design principles to improve intuitiveness of a SharePoint site. The principles can be applied to any website. I had a lot of response to the session and have been updating the deck with suggestions from audience members and additional references. Check it out and send any questions or suggested follow-up articles to me.

 

Marcy KellarAuthor: Marcy Kellar Marcy Kellar is the SharePoint Branding Lead for a national consulting company and specializes in architecting content management and branding solutions for medium to large organizations. She has an extensive background in visual design, web content management, relational data modeling and psychology. Marcy has been advocating user centered implementation of SharePoint since 2006, working as a consultant, technical lead, and branding specialist.

Comments

Frank

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

Great article and information, I was able to view all the slides and links. I work for a military hospital and the U. S. Army Medical Department is setting up ‘templates’ for all medical sites. We have strict guidelines that we must follow. By the end of this year all the Army Medical web sites will have the same template . The challenge I have in my location is getting the section/departments to understand the things you mention in you presentation. You can see this when you visit our site. Some have information overload and not to mention colors. I have better control over Intranet in which we are using MOSS. Looking for to more articles and ideas, any chance of workshops?
Frank

Posted 05-Feb-2010 by Frank
Xene

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

I'm having a hard time viewing the slideshows embedded with articles here. They never load. I can arrow to see a slide that says 'Email this slideshow/View again', but that page also continuously says loading, the menu options don't do anything either. Any ideas?

Posted 05-Feb-2010 by Xene
Peter

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

Nice article and presentation!

Posted 05-Feb-2010 by Peter
Dave

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

can you email me the slide deck at winterd@socom.mil

Posted 05-Feb-2010 by Dave
EndUserSharePoint

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

The slidedeck is available for download from the interface... no need for email -- Mark

Posted 05-Feb-2010 by EndUserSharePoint
EndUserSharePoint

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

Xene - Check with your IT department and see if they are blocking SlideShare. That's where the decks are coming from. -- Mark

Posted 05-Feb-2010 by EndUserSharePoint
Dave

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

This is the first time we could not see content from EUSP!

Posted 05-Feb-2010 by Dave
EndUserSharePoint

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

Dave, Go to SlideShare directly and see if you can view the content. http://www.slideshare.net/marcykellar/intuitive-share-point-sites Mark

Posted 06-Feb-2010 by EndUserSharePoint
Marcy Kellar

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

Dave,

I'm sorry you are having trouble reading the file. Sometimes restrictions on flash make it impossible to view slideshare.

I just emailed you the ppt so you can see the notes too. . The notes are important to understand many of the slides. Its a very large file (>10MB) even when zipped. Let me know if you aren't able to receive it.

Marcy

Posted 06-Feb-2010 by Marcy Kellar
Dave

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

Mark,

tried at home - no problem. Might want to think about your government users that most time will be blocked from some sites. We can ask to have the site "allowed" but most times, users will not navigate that process.

VR,

Dave

Posted 06-Feb-2010 by Dave
Marc D Anderson

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

I've follows Marcy for a long time on Twitter (@marcykellar ) because she tweets such great design stuff. Stuff that's real and applicable, not fluffy. Nice to see her here at EUSP, and I look forward to more great stuff from Marcy in the future.

M.

Posted 06-Feb-2010 by Marc D Anderson
EndUserSharePoint

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

Marcy - If you'll email me the deck, I'll make it available for download as an update to your article. -- Mark

Posted 06-Feb-2010 by EndUserSharePoint
Veronique Palmer

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

Thanks Marcey, very thought-provoking. And thanks for sharing your presentation, some nice material in there.

Posted 07-Feb-2010 by Veronique Palmer
ricknology

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

Nice read Marcy.

Rick

Posted 07-Feb-2010 by ricknology
SharePoint Daily

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

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Posted 08-Feb-2010 by SharePoint Daily
Lisa

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

great article Marcy !! this has been really helpful - thanks

Posted 03-Mar-2010 by Lisa
Snaz Up Your Twit Pic with an EUSP Ribbon | EndUserSharePoint.com

Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive

[...] when Marcy Keller stepped in. You might know her from the article she did, Make Your SharePoint Site More Intuitive. She whipped up a nice little diagonal ribbon, kind of like a beauty queen type of thing and passed [...]

Posted 05-Apr-2010 by Snaz Up Your Twit Pic with an EUSP Ribbon | EndUserSharePoint.com

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