Out of the box, Sharepoint Server is extremely powerful. This power is a benefit and also a downfall of the product. It’s a benefit in that that capabilities allow for an almost endless combination of services and applications for an organization. It’s a downfall, in that if the development and deployment of the technology is not planned correctly the product is often blamed for the resulting bad user experience.
I have seen scenarios where an organizations have paid multiple-thousands to millions of dollars in their efforts to deploy a SharePoint environment, to have the user adoption fail. The result is most often that the end users and the development teams blame the product and end up pursuing a different product that is less powerful in hopes that it can be deployed successfully.
The first things that needs to be achieved for a successful deployment is a solid governance plan. there are numerous resources on TechNet that will help build this plan. Once the governance plan is built, it has to be executed successfully. The development team needs to make sure that corners are not cut, and improper exceptions allowed that will risk the governance plan. The up front work is a must to be successful.
the development and design process also needs to focus around the end users. If the end users find the site difficult to navigate, find the information they needs, or accomplish a task using services such as workflows, ECM, document management, and so forth – they will find getting their job done difficult and will be less productive or will not use SharePoint.
This is where frameworks come into play. recently, I have been researching the user-centered design approach and find that it is generally a great fit for developing a sharePoint environment. In its approach, key users are identified early on and work with developers in designing the layout, user interface, and define their needs. The idea is that the developers adopt to the needs of the end user, instead of the end users adopting to the features of the site. The user-centered design approach is ideal for use with the development and successful deployment of SharePoint in my opinion.
- governance resources:
- user-centered design resources:
- Wikipedia: USer-centered Design
- Usability Professionals association: What is User Centered Design
- Usability.gov: User-Centered Design
What other design methods work well for a successful SharEPoint implementation in your experience?