Monday, 6 September 2010

SharePoint Design – Soap Dispenser Challenge

For the last two weeks I have faced a challenge that has got me quite frustrated. No, this isn’t a challenge with SharePoint or with the launch of our revolutionary new SharePoint Village but a challenge in my bathroom. It involves a very trendy looking soap dispenser plastic bottle. The kind where you press the top and pleasant smelling soap comes out of the tap like thing. The gold plastic bottle with the sweet sounding name and the fancy bubble writing on the side certainly looks the part. The only thing going against the posh little bottle is that I can’t get any soap out of it. Frustratingly despite many attempts I cannot get the pump part to work. I have read all the instructions in small writing on the back about having to twist and pull but still it doesn’t move. At least it looks good by the side of the basin, oh and don’t worry I have got a got an old-fashioned bar of soap as well.

So how does my soap dispenser dilemma fit in with SharePoint? I suppose the most important part of SharePoint is not how snazzy it looks but how easy it is for End Users to use it. If they can’t even find their department’s site on the Internet how are they going to feel the real benefits of SharePoint? It is always important to include some End user training in all SharePoint Projects. A couple of hours might be enough but don’t forget any New Starters as well. Also keep the navigation it simple and consistent. If a user moves department they shouldn’t be faced with a completely different looking SharePoint environment. Office Talk consultants always advise that the Top Link bar is kept constant to all sites.

The new SharePoint Village that opened last Wednesday breaks it’s shops into section that we believe match your SharePoint needs. Firstly all SharePoint projects need a little help so we have a section of shops called ‘Consultancy’ rented by companies offering SharePoint Consultants. Hopefully one of these could give you the best advice on how SharePoint Sites should be accessed. Just a pity there isn’t a ‘Soap Village’ I could contact.

Another section of shops is ‘Training’ so you can find the best company to train your staff in SharePoint including ‘Train the Trainer’ courses. It also has some very useful SharePoint video clips you can purchase for users to watch when they are back at the office. Maybe I might find a video on ‘YouTube’ about activating a pump operated soap dispenser.

Once you have thought about the structure and how easy it will be for End Users to use then you can try to improve the look of it and make it a bit more ‘groovy’. A set of shops at SharePoint Village includes ‘Design’ which includes the excellent SharePoint Design company ‘Pink Petrol’ who really can give your SharePoint a trendy look (just make sure it doesn’t hamper it’s usability). Pink Petrols’ Sam Dolan is very talented (even if he is a Newcastle fan who has been gloating since they beat the Villa six nil) and his designs are well worth a look.

Out of the box SharePoint has many great Web Parts but there are lots of extra clever ones available to enable you to perform a whole host of routine operations. The ‘Web Parts’ section of shops contains some of the top SharePoint web Part companies in the world.

So now SharePoint is working well, End Users are using it, it looks cool and it contains a few extra Web Parts so it is ready to expand. In the ‘Software’ section of shops you will find add-on applications to make SharePoint perform even better in your business. There are shops selling E-Learning solutions, backup solutions, permission management, enhanced reporting and many more.
We hope SharePoint Village will become a valuable source and a one-stop solution for all things SharePoint. Please if you haven’t already taken time to browse the shops there at http://www.sharepointvillage.com.

So now I am off to try yet again to open my soap dispenser while the Villa prepare to finally announce their new manager.

2 comments:

jackob said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment.
I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
Thank You
SharePoint branding

spike said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading.

Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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Sharepoint Developers