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[_] Sharepoint UX stories to share?

Damian Webber damian.webber at
Mon Apr 29 17:11:13 BST 2019

user friendly SharePoint....

So now that SharePoint is finding its feet in O365 now that the other O365
products are starting to mature, it seems that it's going to be: (1) A
front-end for Intranet pages and (2) A document repository/shitty
cloud-based shared folders.

In time, the SharePoint roadmap will, I'm sure, allow orgs to maintain docs
quite nicely - but not at the moment IMHO. The O365 roadmap is very
cleverly tying folks to the platform especially as it's pretty cheap and
the individual products are being regularly updated.

But before I can suggest ways of doing things better (eg. You could focus
more on making search available in different ways to allow staff to find
stuff as you can set your own 'amazon-style' left column filters to find
content - called 'refiners'), can you share what some of the current
challenges the customer has?

Perhaps your best bet - if you want to stay away from customisation - is to
create a series of 'modern' pages. And use the "Highlighted Content" part
to create views of documents based on your own filters. Now this takes some
time to set up - you need to be wary of the effort to plan information
architecture but you may well get a much richer experience - IF the content
suits the method.

If they have trouble finding content, it's often a fault with information
governance. Content needs good tagging to be able it to be found well in
the enterprise. (don't compare it to web content - good web content that we
look for online is generally extremely well marked up, etc - there's even
plenty of folk here that make a living out of ensuring their client's
content can be found. Also, enterprise always has big issues with version
control and deleting irrelevant content. It's these reasons that Document
Management Systems are not well liked....

I don't know if your customer has a wide range of departments or perhaps a
very high volume of content authors.

Does the customer need to be able to create new documents based on a set of
well maintained templates - is workflow/approval important in publishing.

I designed a custom SharePoint online solution for News content (internally
for the company I currently work for) which looked great and worked well.
The only trouble was that the comms team(s) wanted to add features and do
stuff with the site and unfortunately there was no support for the system
once it went live  - in big firms like mine, the developers move onto new
accounts and there they stay - one of the dangers of a custom sharepoint
solution without a dedicated team of peeps to support it.,

If you have a blank canvas in terms of technology, then look at M-Files for
Document Management. I've had a good look recently and also turned down a
job there (I really like the product but wasn't ready to specialise so
tightly with a single product). You basically store content by "what it is"
rather than (like in SharePoint) "where it is". I liken it to a Document
Management System with the power of a relational database. It takes
management again but that's no bad thing as the effort is always rewarded.
You can also manage content outside of M-Files within M-Files as well. Have
a look at it - there's a 30 day trial

*Damian Webber*
@damianwebber <> | 07590 807 252

On Mon, 29 Apr 2019 at 16:07, Ben Stevens. <craptiger at> wrote:

> Anyone out there with any experience they can share (no pun intended) of
> building a user friendly interface to sharepoint for the purposes of an
> enterprise document management system?
> Currently having a very challenging time with a Sharepoint development
> consultancy who seem to think an out of the box deployment with minimal
> configuration will offer my client a satisfactory user experience.
> As an example, my view (and that of the project sponsor) is that forcing
> our (not very IT literate) users to use the little “funnel” icon and column
> headings to filter / search for content is inadequate.  Surely it’s
> possible to build a super user friendly front end without totally breaking
> the Microsoft upgrade path (it’s sharepoint 365 / online).
> Imagine if Amazon used sharepoint search / filters rather than their left
> column filters that ask you for Size, Colour, Style, Price Range etc?
> That’s pretty much what we’re being told is our only option and I’m
> struggling to believe it’s really that crap?!
> Alternatively if anyone can recommend any better alternatives that offer
> document collaboration & approval workflows, version control, compliance
> tracking, notifications etc I’d love to hear of them.
> Thanks
> --
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