Microsoft’s SharePoint turns sweet 16 this year. As per Microsoft, this web-based application has 160 million users across 75000 customer organizations. While it is quite popular as an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system, it is highly customizable and also has web development and intranet development capabilities. Many companies turn to SharePoint website development for web apps or intranet solutions especially because it has a responsive interface and works well on devices.
Analytics and online reviews however show that businesses face a challenge in getting users to adopt SharePoint and use it effectively for the intended purpose. Old patterns and habits are hard to crack and change management is an important factor for the success of any new rollout. User adoption is a tricky subject because there are several factors that push or pull away users from an interface. One of them is the UX. What kind of user experience will motivate higher adoption and success of the launch? Let’s take a look at some UX hacks that promote and increase the acceptance.
1. Intuitive Navigation And Global Search: SharePoint’s default navigation and site structure are perhaps not very intuitive and user friendly. You can customize these and create a simpler, leaner look to avoid confusion among the end-users. SharePoint tends to have an overly nested site structure and you can declutter the look.
So if you have a collection of sites, ensure there is a top nav governing these multi-sites. Use left hand side (LHS) navigation menus for the different libraries within each site. If you don’t use any of the default links provided by SharePoint (such as Notebooks), it is best to get rid of them to reduce clutter. Use metadata to increase the findability of menu items. You can define the permissions for ‘term sets’ in the Term Store.
2. Demo And Workshops: Organizing demos and training sessions across teams when you launch SharePoint is a must. It should cover the basics of previewing, sharing documents, saving documents, faceted search, workflows, libraries and list views using metadata.
It is important to emphasize the importance of tagging content early on, as a lot hinges upon correct use of metadata. With team-wise workshop sessions you can take care of a detailed walkthrough and training. It can help resolve queries around the purpose of the team site, what kind of information and documents should be shared on SharePoint, grouping and organizing content, how to use workflows and so on.
3. Beautify The Interface: There is some limitation on the amount of customization you can make to the front-end. But you can modify the content web elements – increase text size, add graphics and banners etc. You can also add infographics, diagrams, and other multimedia like photos and videos to make the content more visually engaging.
4. Appoint Power-Users Across Teams And Make Them SharePoint Advocates: In every team you can find some pro users who welcome change and master new programs quite swiftly. Identify and appoint power users across teams who can ensure site wide implementation. Also create a committee of SharePoint Power Users who fill you back with feedback on what’s working and what’s not.
Communicate with your teams regularly, and appoint leaders for each site within SharePoint. It is also easier for employees to adopt something if there is senior leadership buy-in. If you create a phased schedule for implementing SharePoint and bear in mind some of these tips, the process of change management will be less painful. Do you have any other suggestions or tips for increasing acceptance of SharePoint and enhancing the UX? Please share with us in the comments below.