Creating a Great User Experience
in SharePoint
Marc D Anderson
Sympraxis Consulting LLC
Who Is Marc?
Session Overview
• Building solutions in SharePoint isn’t simply
about getting the functionality right based
on the busine...
Forrester Report on SharePoint Adoption
“Dissatisfaction is centered on several
areas, including adoption challenges, a
di...
Why Should We Care?
What’s the Solution?
Use SharePoint as an out-of-box application whenever
possible - We designed the new SharePoint UI to ...
What Is “User Experience”?
User experience (UX or UE) involves a person's
emotions about using a particular product,
syste...
Consumer Web
• The consumer Web is both
a source of inspiration and
an anathema for enterprise
developers
• Our users expe...
Form vs. Function
The Form v Function Ratio by Dan Antion http://www.aiim.org/community/blogs/expert/The-Form-v-Function-R...
Information Architecture
A sound Information
Architecture provides:
• Consistency
• Simpler maintenance
• One version of t...
Be the User
• Don’t think about what
SharePoint does or how it does
it. Think about what your users
want.
• Too many devel...
Collaborative Development
• Sit with your users
• Listen to what they are
asking for
• Repeat what they want
• Iterate, it...
Consultative Services
• Don’t expect your users to
understand all
functionality
• Training can’t cover
everything –demonst...
Use the “Mom Test”
Questions to ask:
• Can a relatively
inexperienced technophobe
make sense of this?
• Do we feel like pe...
Don’t Talk About Budget (Too Much)
• Your end users don’t care
about your budget
• Figure out how to help them
• Look for ...
Speed Matters
Two Seconds
Boston Globe, February 02, 2013: Instant gratification is making us perpetually impatient ow.ly/...
Size Matters
• Views should show the
amount of information
required to make
decisions, no more
• Carefully balance server
...
Lowest Common Denominator
• Know your user base
– Browsers
• Brands
• Versions
– Screens
• Size
• Resolution
• Shape
– Ban...
Mind the Fold
• If users have to scroll every
time they land on a page,
you’ve put things in the
wrong place
• Eyes scan f...
Use Real Estate Wisely
• Decide on your design
aesthetic
–Few dense pages vs.
many sparse pages
–Graphics vs. text
–Color ...
Forms
• Often the first impression of
SharePoint
• Forms are where the
“rubber meets the road”
• Bad forms === bad UX
• Us...
Error Messages
• Please, please, please NEVER:
“Contact your administrator”
• Correlation IDs – Good idea,
horrible execut...
Relinquish Control
• Remove the developer
from the equation
• List-Based Settings vs.
Property bags
• Give users control –...
SharePoint 2010 Example:
Switching Views
Additional Thoughts and Contradictions
• Consistency to a fault - Don’t be
constrained by what SharePoint
gives you
• Yet,...
Form vs. Function
The Form v Function Ratio by Dan Antion http://www.aiim.org/community/blogs/expert/The-Form-v-Function-R...
Contact Information
Email marc.anderson@sympraxisconsulting.com
Twitter @sympmarc
Blog http://sympmarc.com
SPServices http...
SharePoint Conference .ORG Reston 2014 - Creating a Great User Experience in SharePoint
SharePoint Conference .ORG Reston 2014 - Creating a Great User Experience in SharePoint
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SharePoint Conference .ORG Reston 2014 - Creating a Great User Experience in SharePoint

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Building solutions in SharePoint isn’t simply about getting the functionality right based on the business requirements. Developers must think about the entire user experience. In this interactive class, we’ll discuss questions like:
* How should the user feel when they use this piece of functionality?
* Will they see it as saving them work or creating new work?
* How will it compare to what they see on the consumer Web?

We’ll look at good and bad examples from SharePoint itself, as well as specific customizations.

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SharePoint Conference .ORG Reston 2014 - Creating a Great User Experience in SharePoint

  1. 1. Creating a Great User Experience in SharePoint Marc D Anderson Sympraxis Consulting LLC
  2. 2. Who Is Marc?
  3. 3. Session Overview • Building solutions in SharePoint isn’t simply about getting the functionality right based on the business requirements. • Developers and designers must think about the entire user experience. – How should the user feel when they use this piece of functionality? – Will they see it as saving them work or creating new work? – How will it compare to what they see on the consumer Web? • We’ll look at good and bad examples from SharePoint itself, as well as specific customizations.
  4. 4. Forrester Report on SharePoint Adoption “Dissatisfaction is centered on several areas, including adoption challenges, a dislike for the SharePoint user experience, a preference for other tools like email and skepticism over its business value.” “Business management’s dissatisfaction with SharePoint and perception of its value is hurt by uninspired user experiences. Microsoft SharePoint faces a challenging future: Forrester | PCWorld http://www.pcworld.com/article/2027391/microsoft-sharepoint-faces-a-challenging-future-forrester.html SharePoint Adoption Faces Three Barriers: Mobile, Social, Cloud http://www.slideshare.net/johnrrymer/share-point-survey-2012-slideshare
  5. 5. Why Should We Care?
  6. 6. What’s the Solution? Use SharePoint as an out-of-box application whenever possible - We designed the new SharePoint UI to be clean, simple and fast and work great out-of-box. We encourage you not to modify it which could add complexity, performance and upgradeability and to focus your energy on working with users and groups to understand how to use SharePoint to improve productivity and collaboration and identifying and promoting best practices in your organization. SharePoint Microsoft Doesn't Advise You Customize SharePoint 2013 http://www.cmswire.com/cms/information-management/microsoft-doesnt-advise-you-customize-sharepoint-2013-016608.php
  7. 7. What Is “User Experience”? User experience (UX or UE) involves a person's emotions about using a particular product, system or service. User experience highlights the experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction and product ownership. How does the user feel when they are finished with using SharePoint? “User experience” from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_experience
  8. 8. Consumer Web • The consumer Web is both a source of inspiration and an anathema for enterprise developers • Our users expect no less than what they see on Facebook, Dropbox, Google, etc. • It’s an expectations problem Image from The Conversation Prism http://www.theconversationprism.com/
  9. 9. Form vs. Function The Form v Function Ratio by Dan Antion http://www.aiim.org/community/blogs/expert/The-Form-v-Function-Ratio
  10. 10. Information Architecture A sound Information Architecture provides: • Consistency • Simpler maintenance • One version of the truth Use wisely: • Content Types • Managed metadata • List-based Site Columns Image from “Explain IA Poster” http://userallusion.com/blog/2010/10/explain-ia-poster/
  11. 11. Be the User • Don’t think about what SharePoint does or how it does it. Think about what your users want. • Too many developers eschew SharePoint as a collaboration tool. Use what you build. • If it’s too slow or cumbersome to you, guess what? It’s worse for your users.
  12. 12. Collaborative Development • Sit with your users • Listen to what they are asking for • Repeat what they want • Iterate, iterate, iterate • Lather, rinse, repeat – It’s never “done” • Agile with a small “a” – roll with the punches
  13. 13. Consultative Services • Don’t expect your users to understand all functionality • Training can’t cover everything –demonstrate patterns • Be an internal consultant • “How can I help you to solve your requirements?”
  14. 14. Use the “Mom Test” Questions to ask: • Can a relatively inexperienced technophobe make sense of this? • Do we feel like people will need training? Why? • How often will they use it? • Is it visually appealing? • Is it “accessible”?
  15. 15. Don’t Talk About Budget (Too Much) • Your end users don’t care about your budget • Figure out how to help them • Look for quick wins – they can help fund the big changes • Decide if the workloads SharePoint supports are important enough • Find executive support
  16. 16. Speed Matters Two Seconds Boston Globe, February 02, 2013: Instant gratification is making us perpetually impatient ow.ly/i8Pth Ramesh Sitaraman, a computer science professor at UMass Amherst, examined the viewing habits of 6.7 million Internet users in a study released in 2012. How long were subjects willing to be patient? Do you think that’s gotten any longer?
  17. 17. Size Matters • Views should show the amount of information required to make decisions, no more • Carefully balance server side and client side code • Large images can kill the UX
  18. 18. Lowest Common Denominator • Know your user base – Browsers • Brands • Versions – Screens • Size • Resolution • Shape – Bandwidth • Available RAM Image from NetMarketShare – timeframe = Q1 2014 http://www.netmarketshare.com/browser-market-share.aspx?qprid=2&qpcustomd=0&qptimeframe=Q “It works on my machine” doesn’t cut it.
  19. 19. Mind the Fold • If users have to scroll every time they land on a page, you’ve put things in the wrong place • Eyes scan from upper left to lower right, much as a TV “paints” the screen Image 2: F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content http://www.nngroup.com/articles/f-shaped-pattern-reading-web-content/
  20. 20. Use Real Estate Wisely • Decide on your design aesthetic –Few dense pages vs. many sparse pages –Graphics vs. text –Color vs. monochrome • Pet Peeve: Executive images or senseless banners
  21. 21. Forms • Often the first impression of SharePoint • Forms are where the “rubber meets the road” • Bad forms === bad UX • Use form enhancements: – Lookup fields – Cascading dropdowns – Visual cues
  22. 22. Error Messages • Please, please, please NEVER: “Contact your administrator” • Correlation IDs – Good idea, horrible execution, especially for SharePoint Online • Tell the user: – What happened? – What did I do to make it happen? – How can I fix it?
  23. 23. Relinquish Control • Remove the developer from the equation • List-Based Settings vs. Property bags • Give users control – it’s their system • Focus on important development work
  24. 24. SharePoint 2010 Example: Switching Views
  25. 25. Additional Thoughts and Contradictions • Consistency to a fault - Don’t be constrained by what SharePoint gives you • Yet, you’ve bought a box, don’t stray too far out of it • Name it – it’s not SharePoint • Visual cues – not just text It always comes back to “It
  26. 26. Form vs. Function The Form v Function Ratio by Dan Antion http://www.aiim.org/community/blogs/expert/The-Form-v-Function-Ratio
  27. 27. Contact Information Email marc.anderson@sympraxisconsulting.com Twitter @sympmarc Blog http://sympmarc.com SPServices http://spservices.codeplex.com SPXSLT http://spxslt.codeplex.com Books http://sympmarc.com/books The Middle Tier Manifesto http://bit.ly/middletier
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