While SharePoint developers must adhere to business
requirements when building solutions, they should also consider the entire user
experience, according to SharePoint MVP Marc Anderson’s educational break-out discussion “Creating a Great User Experience in SharePoint 2013″. How should users feel
when they use this piece of functionality? Will they see it as saving them work
or creating work? How will it compare to what they see on the consumer web?
Findings from a 2013 Forrester Research study revealed dissatisfaction
is centered on several areas, including adoption challenges, a dislike for the
SharePoint user experience, as well as a preference for other tools such as
Anderson suggests developers tap the web for consumer experience
inspiration. By creating interfaces similar to popular sites like Facebook and
Dropbox, developers can produce a familiar experience for end users.
Another solution proposed Anderson is marrying form vs.
function. Typically, designers and marketing teams (form) and developers and
other IT professionals (function) butt heads when developing solutions.
However, the reality is “function requires form.” An ideal user experience
integrates both. When it comes to content, Anderson recommends keeping the
important information above the fold (just like in newspapers). If users have
to scroll every time they land on a page, things are in the wrong place.
- Use real estate wisely
- Decide on design aesthetic
- Few dense pages vs. sparse pages
- Graphics vs. text
- Color vs. monochrome
Also, when it comes to the technical aspect, know your user
- Browsers (brands, versions)
- Screens (size, resolution, shape)
Available RAM (the fact that it works on your
machine is simply not representative of your end user)
In closing, many of Anderson’s points echoed Susan
Hanley’s keynote when it comes to collaborative development. He suggests meeting
with your users to receive feedback. And once that feedback is received, reiterate
what they want to ensure there is a clear understanding.