SharePoint Design Best Practices

Understand your audience.

First, you must determine who you’re building the SharePoint platform for. This is going to help to effectively develop its design and usability. The best way to categorize your audience is by determining if they fit into one of the two categories:

  1. Internal Communications

In this category, the platform would be used internally by employees who may work in different departments to communicate with each another in an organized and secure management system. Getting an understanding of the company’s culture, and how each department works together will play a major part in how well your platform is built.

  1. B2B and B2C Communications

When developing a B2B and B2C SharePoint platform, you’ll have to build it with the understanding that your software management system will be accommodating “guests”; users who will need various levels of access depending on how they plan to use the platform. Designing a platform for the specified “guests” will greatly depend on whether the system will be used for B2B or B2C operations.  It is essential to understand how the system will be used in order to create a well-designed SharePoint platform.

Once you’ve identified your audience, then you need to…

Determine the structure and scope of your platform.

Every process needs an outline, and the SharePoint platform isn’t any different. In fact, because there are so many moving parts that make up a SharePoint platform, it’s absolutely necessary to determine the scope of the project. One of the important factors is figuring out how many pages and sub-sites you need. Once you know that, then you’ll have your “outline” and the rest of moving parts should fit together nicely.

Don’t over-design. Use only what you need.

Again, because SharePoint can be whatever you want it to be in terms of design and usability, the options are plentiful and there’s always more useful applications that can be implemented. Read SharePoint Development Solutions in 2017 to learn all about them! Just remember, there is such a thing as doing too much, so don’t over-design your SharePoint platform just because you think adding another application would be cool. It’s best to only implement features and functionality that will be useful. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Here are some examples of collaborative documents that you can include in a SharePoint platform:

  • Calendars
  • Lists
  • Discussion boards
  • Electronic forms

Avoid large files, especially media files.

This might be an obvious one, but it’s still worth noting. Large files can reduce the load-time of a page—whether it’s on the web or Intranet. Don’t bother with back-up files. SharePoint can store a huge amount of data, but that doesn’t mean that it should be used as a dumping ground. Store them in an archiving system that won’t take up valuable space on your SharePoint cloud storage.

Use smart names and titles.

When uploading documents, it will serve you well to name them with a title that is relevant to the content so that it’s easier to identify and locate  when you or your client needs to retrieve it.

Other best practices include:

  • Keeping your navigation bar consistent.
  • Using hyperlinks sparingly and keeping them current.
  • Keeping all relevant content visible with minimal scrolling.

Overall, Just Keep it Simple

The end goal in developing a SharePoint platform is to keep it as simple as possible. This might be challenging since SharePoint in nature is a complex system, but with the right software development team, it can be custom-built and seamlessly integrated.  If you choose eSoftware Associates Inc. to design your platform, you will also get a 30-day Bug Free Guarantee. View our work samples here and call to request a free quote at 1-800-682-0882 or contact us online.

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