“SharePoint looks too confusing” – well, it doesn’t need to be!

How many times have you wanted to throw your computer out of the window? How many times have you stared blankly at your screen and thought “Where are my files??” Or, “This isn’t the right version of my document??!?” …or worse…. “I absolutely hate SharePoint, it’s awful, why the hell do we even have this rubbish??!!” Sound familiar?

Our hater’s guide to SharePoint touches upon common issues we’ve come across – and helped with. You can read it here.

In the meantime, the below is a particularly common issue we help users with. The look and feel of your SharePoint environment is paramount to its success. Sometimes it’ll be a case of poor branding on an intranet, or perhaps there’s next to no setup within your SharePoint, which means you can’t find what you need. Either way, what ends up happening is your users won’t want to use the SharePoint system. It can then stagnate and be incredibly counter-productive.

What we’d say:

That’s a real missed opportunity. SharePoint in its current form is very configurable and easy to brand. Even if you have an older version of the platform, you can still apply a high level of branding and structure to it. If no-one wants to use it – that’s also very fixable – through various user adoption techniques.

What we’d ask next:

Take a step back and ask a fundamental question – what do you want SharePoint to do? Let’s split this argument up – “it looks naff and confusing”. From our point of view this is an opportunity for
a ‘re branding’ – the look of SharePoint is easy to change – the latest version gives many options for styling, and more, while still retaining the familiar Office features and feel. If it’s seen as confusing then it’s one of three issues:
1) the design isn’t working
2) the information architecture needs addressing
or 3) there’s a training need being highlighted.

Again, it’s important to know what you want SharePoint to do. Part two of this argument: “no-one wants to use it” …this can’t be fixed overnight. Really the usability of the platform is inherent in clever design, structure and ease of use – all considered in the planning stage. User adoption is a real issue in many organisations. When we’re asked to support a project, we involve as many stakeholders as is feasible – ensuring people have their say on the look and feel. We also push a strict ‘user adoption programme’ – which is basically training and empowering ‘super users’ in and around the organisation (product owners and champions of the solution, if you will).

Are all users suitably trained?

Knowledge is key! It empowers users and can avoid a lot of headaches. We recommend implementing a ‘training library’ to foster better working practices!

Read the rest of the hater’s guide to SharePoint here.