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SPS Jersey 2014 - Creating a Great User Experience in SharePoint

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 (UX), which goes far beyond the technical aspects of the solution. It’s no longer good enough to meet the specifications. We must exceed them in terms of usability. This takes many developers out of their comfort zones and into the messy world of end users.

In this interactive session, we’ll discuss questions like:
* How should the user feel when they use this piece of functionality?
* Will they perceive that this functionality saves them work or creates new work?
* How will the functionality compare to what they see on the consumer Web?
* How can we use technologies which haven’t historically been considered mainstream SharePoint developer tools (like jQuery and CSS) to make SharePoint feel more like the sites people love?

Whether you're an executive sponsor, end user, power user, developer, or IT Pro, there are bound to be some takeaways for you as you adapt SharePoint to meet your organization's needs.

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SPS Jersey 2014 - Creating a Great User Experience in SharePoint

  1. 1. Creating a Great User Experience in SharePoint #SPSJE Marc D Anderson President Sympraxis Consulting LLC Boston, MA, USA @sympmarc
  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 SharePoint Adoption Faces Three Barriers: Mobile, Social, Cloud
  5. 5. 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. Microsoft Doesn't Advise You Customize SharePoint 2013 016608.php
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. How Can We Succeed?
  9. 9. Form vs. Function The Form v Function Ratio by Dan Antion
  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”
  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”
  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 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? Two Seconds Do you think that’s gotten any longer? Boston Globe, February 02, 2013: Instant gratification is making us perpetually impatient
  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 “It works on my machine” doesn’t cut it. Image from NetMarketShare – timeframe = Q1 2014
  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 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. 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?
  22. 22. 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
  23. 23. SharePoint 2010 Example: Switching Views
  24. 24. 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 Depends”
  25. 25. Remember…
  26. 26. Form vs. Function The Form v Function Ratio by Dan Antion
  27. 27. Contact Information Email marc.anderson@sympraxisconsulting.c Twitter @sympmarc Blog SPServices SPXSLT Books The Middle Tier Manifesto
  28. 28. Thank You! Raffle Prizes at 16:00 1st #SharePint in the Hotel Bar sponsored by Cloudshare 16:30