As organizations struggle to provide users with meaningful solutions to improve daily work, user adoption has become a big area of focus. In many cases, the adoption issue has little or nothing to do with the technology and really comes down to the culture, the people and the end goal.

To build adoptable solutions, you must first understand your end goals and build a path to reach them. Having said that, SharePoint still has some great features that allow us to take small steps towards easy to use sites, which in most cases are the ones most easily adopted. Don't take these suggestions as the only path to adoptable solutions, merely additional tools for your toolbox.

By taking the time to incorporate some of the small items below into your solutions you will help your users to easily navigate, integrate and utilize your solutions. Often times as people build solutions they forget or overlook the smallest things -- which can have a large impact.

Tip 1: Build Meaningful Navigation

The first thing to tackle is Meaningful Navigation. To be able to do this within your solution, you need to be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who is using the solution?
  • What do they need to do within the solution?

Once you answer these questions you can begin to focus on more specific use cases. One of the best things to do is create a set of use cases for your solution that focuses on the types of users within your solution and the common tasks they will be completing. When you've mapped this out, you can begin to map the tools available to fit your needs.

After determining which tools you'll use to build out a meaningful navigation, you can revisit the test cases and see if your solution provides a way for users to easily and quickly complete their expected scenarios without feeling overwhelmed or lost.  This step will make sure that the simple things weren’t overlooked in the development of the solution.

Tip 2: Create a Personal Experience for Your Users

Users love getting relevant information and data. People don’t want to have to dig around and filter through noise to find what they need. They want solutions to help them identify what should matter to them and how it relates to them. By incorporating personalization elements into solutions we can help our users find relevant data quickly. They will be more engaged with the solution as a result and more likely to want to use it. A few key features in SharePoint can be used to provide personalization with your solutions including Audiences, filtered views and functional web parts.

Tip 3: Drive Process and Automation of Common Tasks with SharePoint Workflows

Whenever you can help with automation, users will become more engaged with your solution. There are many ways to do this and a few different approaches. One of the common approaches is using SharePoint as a tool to automate business process through workflows. This can remove the required human element and allow for the solution to route things through the process. You can also look at it as a way to provide automated announcements, notifications and reminders. These small changes provide multiple entry points for your users and remind them that they can be using the solution in more effective ways.