Here at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas where things are in full swing, I attended Geoffrey Edge's presentation on "Planning for the Lifecycle of Your SharePoint 2013 Website." Following is a brief overview of Edge's suggestions for creating a strategic plan that sees your website through from inception to launch and beyond.
Edge kicked off his presentation with a photograph: a disgusting toilet in the woods, saying that you only want to go there if you have to. It's the same with websites: bad content and navigation give the same effect.
Good websites need people to engage, build good user experiences and a strong information architecture to work.
- Project planning
- Design roadmap
- Build roadmap
This is planning for a new website.
Edge describes some basic goals: to have a good number of visitors, get people to stay at the site, spend a long time on the site and have many page views. The need for social media is important. All very good points, now let's hope that he delivers some smart things to achieve them.
Waterfall Project vs. Continuous Project with Governance — Very good!
User feedback seems to be the big thing to get your website in good shape and build on. To do this, the team has to have lots of different people with different expertise: web develope and SharePoint developer, infrastructure, business analyst, PM, UI designer, UX expert, content strategist, graphic designer and last but not least, a business sponsor. I believe this holds true for an intranet as well.
- Site UX/Branding
- Content and workflows
All this is for a web site …
But Information Architecture is most important and needs to be done first — exactly what I believe!
When you have IA then you can start wireframes, followed by design and functional prototype. Create metadata based on mapped IA, pretty smart!
You need to choose what is most important, content or branding?
Create wireframes to see your design and UX. Microsoft has an expression tool for wireframes. I didn’t know this …
Make your modifications in the wireframe until you are satisfied with IA and UX. Then start your design. Create a functional prototype with design manager. Use your tools of choose to do the HTML site.
Social Media Strategy
This section covers social integration and social design.
- Social integration is Facebook, but I think Twitter, LinkedIn and others also are important. Facebook is more private than business in my opinion. To get Facebook into a site you can use an app model in SharePoint. In the content editor Microsoft added a Facebook app from the SharePoint store.
The Facebook integration can take the metadata from the site/page and post that to Facebook. I know this is standard on Wordpress.
- Social design uses the social integration to create a more interactive experience. Trip Advisor uses Facebook integration to see where your friends have traveled. This lets you see what others think and what others have written about.
- Mobile strategy is important to deliver a good experience to any device and browser. Responsive design is what’s hot today. Personally, I love responsive design.
You need to think about what applications you use, can’t add old flash stuff in as then they won't work on all devices. And you can’t use all HTML5 and CSS3 as then it wont work in Internet Explorer 7 and 8.
Web Content Management
SharePoint 2013 has some new WCM concepts, you need to think about how you use them.
You can use search driven publishing model and that will also integrate with Dynamics e-Commerce. Then it gets cool!
We use search to create navigation, pages, recommendations on topics, etc. You can even use this indexed content outside of SharePoint.
Translation services are available, but you still have to use a human to make it real language.
Recommend things to look at, depending on which user it is that sees the page. If they have connected with Facebook, then you can see that the user is 44 years and comes from Sweden — based on this you can choose what you want to show.
Webtrends, Google Analytics. Apparently there is an app for Webtrends, I guess one will come for Google Analytics as well.
This is in short what the session was about, I'm sorry I didn't have time to add my own reflections, but the session was at a very fast tempo. More reports to follow.
About the Author
I have over 16 years of experience within IT; I have a wide technical knowledge and proven skills in service, product management and governance. The last few years I have turned my attention to SharePoint Governance, as well as Branding and Design — some of my biggest interests.