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SharePoint Information Architecture Best Practices


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Presentation given at SharePoint Symposium 2013. Covers key information architecture best practices in SharePoint 2010 and 2013 for search, navigation and dynamic publishing.

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SharePoint Information Architecture Best Practices

  2. 2. STEPHANIE LEMIEUX President & Principal Consultant •  Specialized in taxonomy & metadata, governance •  Lots of experience implementing taxonomy & IA across different tools: CMS, DMS, Intranet, Faceted Search, DAM…and yes, SharePoint •  MLIS from McGill University (i.e. I’m a librarian) •  Huge data nerd
  3. 3. •  Who we are: Boutique firm specializing in taxonomy & information architecture… We create practical and elegant solutions to make content more findable. •  Based in Montreal, Canada •  What we do: taxonomy, metadata development, search, information architecture, digital asset management, governance, etc.
  4. 4. SharePoint is easy to implement badly
  5. 5. TYPICAL SHAREPOINT PROJECTS Biz   Reqs   Implement   Implementtttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt   Business   Req’s   Implement   Business   Req’s   Where is the information architecture? Examples courtesy of Lulu Pachuau: Implement  
  6. 6. 4 out of 5 dentists agree that lying through your teeth about IA does not count as flossing
  7. 7.
  8. 8. Michal Pisarek Seth Earley SharePoint IA Trainer & Consultant SharePoint MVP & IA Consultant Sue Hanley Author of Essential SharePoint 2013 Ruven Gotz Author of Practical SharePoint IA Shawn Shell Author of SharePoint Report for Real Story Group Our panel of “dentists”
  10. 10. Over-reliance on search to cover for bad IA
  11. 11. 5 SHAREPOINT IA BEST PRACTICES 2013 game changers &
  12. 12. #5: DON’T FOLLOW THE ORG STRUCTURE 4 out of 5 dentists agree…
  13. 13. WHY DOES THIS SUCK? •  Organizational changes happen all the time •  Nobody really knows who owns what or does what •  Most people are focused on processes & projects And… isn’t the point to encourage departments? collaboration across
  14. 14. THINK OUTSIDE THE ORG CHART ü Functions & processes ü X-functional teams & projects ü Clients ü Products ü Content types ü Geography ü Etc.
  15. 15. GOOD SITE ARCHITECTURE … takes a functional/activities view of the organization … survives organizational change … allows people to see the overall context of their organization and their work … uses language everyone understands … is based on actual user behaviors & insights “Focus on the work instead of the Web site.” -- Susan Hanley, the Essential SharePoint 2013
  16. 16. IN 2013 Suite Bar & Sites Tab -  Sticky at the top links: easy way to get back home -  List of sites “followed”: develop a personal IA
  17. 17. #4: TRANSCEND PHYSICAL STRUCTURE 4 out of 5 dentists agree…
  18. 18. LET’S GET PHYSICAL SharePoint is based on a physical structure that used to define… pretty much everything Web applications ierarchy, ainment h d the cont nderstan nd by it. U Sites on’ t be bou but d Site collections Sub-sites Lists & libraries
  19. 19. SEARCH-DRIVEN PUBLISHING Search indexing now crosses site collections and content can be aggregated & displayed across multiple sites
  20. 20. “CSWP” Content Query Web Part Content Search Web Part Aggregate content from anywhere based on a search query and style it however you want!
  22. 22. MANAGED METADATA NAVIGATION Term store can now manage consistent global navigation across site collections, masking physical boundaries.
  23. 23. Design the ideal …then figure out how you can make it happen with the containment hierarchy and options available
  24. 24. #3: A LITTLE METADATA GOES A LONG WAY 4 out of 5 dentists agree…
  25. 25. FOLDERS MOSTLY SUCK Folders (any physical structure, really) = LAZY And they don’t tell you much, unless you create bottomless hierarchies. •  •  •  •  What is this about? What region does it cover? What product is it about? What year is it for?
  26. 26. USE MOSTLY METADATA ü  enhance searchability of content ü  filter/sort/view lists & libraries ü  control content display (via search web part) ü  control navigation ü  enhance search user interface ü  trigger workflow, info policies
  27. 27. DON’T GO CRAZY WITH CONTENT TYPES When do you create a new content type or metadata field? RM Need Workflow/ Process (template) CM/Search Need
  28. 28. Rule of thumb: If you have more content types than you do staff, you’re doing something wrong. LESS IS MORE.
  29. 29. STANDARDIZE WHAT YOU CAN Use content types to standardize key enterprise metadata Item Document Set Publication Contract Document ? Enterprisewide metadata Asset ? ? Image Magazine article ? Function/ contentspecific metadata
  30. 30. AUTOMATE WHAT YOU CAN Leverage structure & profiles to automate some metadata •  Document location (document library, sets, smart folders*) •  User profile Rules of Thumb 1.  Keep the number of fields as small as possible 2.  Majority of fields should tie back to a work process with clear user value 3.  Use default values VERY carefully
  31. 31. DOCUMENT LIBRARIES & CONTENT TYPES Put multiple types in one library or one type per library? Impact of multiple types: •  Can’t do “group by” •  Having to choose a content type •  Can apply multiple policies/workflows •  Multiple templates •  Can still have different metadata
  33. 33. #2: CONTROL VOCABULARY USING MANAGED METADATA 4 out of 5 dentists agree…
  34. 34. CONTROL KEY METADATA CENTRALLY Use the term store to predefine & manage key vocabularies used in metadata When to make it managed metadata? •  Likely to be used by multiple groups (global vs. local) •  Terminology needs governance •  Needs synonyms •  Requires hierarchy •  Would be useful as navigation/filter options
  35. 35. LEVERAGE SYNONYMS Synonyms are helpful both in tagging & search (but search must be configured separately) Hanley: Essential Sharepoint 2013
  36. 36. METADATA-BASED NAVIGATION Keep these ultrasimple. Most people won’t use it if it looks complicated (e.g. Key Filters). Especially useful if you have multiple content types in one library.
  37. 37. Warning: the term store is not a taxonomy management tool or autoclassifier.
  38. 38. No matter how awesome your structure, people will still search sometimes. Try to make it suck less.
  39. 39. #1: GIVE SEARCH A LITTLE LOVE 4 out of 5 dentists agree…
  40. 40. GIVE SEARCH A CHANCE •  Configure synonyms •  Use query rules •  Promote a result •  Supplement a query with additional property & KW filters
  41. 41. CUSTOMIZE THE REFINEMENT PANEL Choose more relevant filter options Hide useless graphics
  42. 42. Spend time figuring out logical structures, then worry about Sharepoint-izing them
  43. 43. Awesome architecture!
  44. 44. THANK YOU Stephanie Lemieux @stephlemieux