Top 5 Tips for SharePoint 2013 Design That Last

When it comes to SharePoint 2013, it can be as simple as changing the logo to be your companies all the way through using some amazing design concepts with CSS3, HTML5 and JQuery. There are plenty of design examples to give inspiration, but how exactly do you pinpoint a style that works best for everyone?

#1 – Start Simple

Something new in SharePoint 2013 that we like to point out, and challenge companies to start with, is the nice little “Focus on Content” in the top-right corner. It provides an even cleaner starting point, but what do you lose? The main thing that is lost is default SharePoint 2013 navigation. Taking this element away forces people to think about how you want to navigate to information and what truly matters. You may come back to the default SharePoint navigation or you may realize there are better ways to get to information (and there are!)

#2 – Getting Opinions

Getting opinions can be great or it can be dangerous. An almost obvious statement is the more people you add to design conversations, the more time it will take. Our general requirements timeline for designing a page in SharePoint:

5 business days + 3 business days for every additional person who is involved in design.

So only 1 person deciding the design of a page should take approximately a week start to end. 10 people may take 35 business days due mostly to back and forth discussions. This aspect in particular is crucial when working with companies depending on their expectations and timeframe for bringing design to reality. It is also imperative to stress the timeline above is for requirements as the actual design may be as simple as changing a logo through full scale animations based on website usage.

#3 – Be Inspired

Once you have the right size of people for design as well as realize what the easy-to-start with point for SharePoint can look like, the two question we like to ask are:

• What is a website you like to use that is not email based?
• What is a website you think looks good?

It’s not even necessary to ask “why” as usually the results that come back are obvious on “why”. The most common responses for usage are search engines, online shopping and social media. Good looking websites vary widely but tend to be very visual. We then combine the two elements to create concepts that are visually appealing and functionally useful.

Still not sure what ‘looks good’? Check out these “aww inspiring” sites: http://www.awwwards.com/

#4 – Know What You Got

After starting fresh and gathering insights on what the design decision makers like, it is then, and finally, good to know what is SharePoint 2013 comes with and at a high level what can be done easily and what takes time. Wiki style pages, drag and drop elements, single site navigation, seemingly unlimited views on information combined with SharePoint themes are in the category of “quick wins” for SharePoint design. Multi-site navigation, search elements, coloring and font styles outside of SharePoint themes fall into the realm of “takes some more time”.

#5 – Think Long Term

So you now know what it can look like, who’s involved, what you want and what it takes to get there. When you put it all together, it may come out to be 2 weeks of time or it may be 3 months of time. The initial reaction may be “we don’t have time for this”, but like most things in the business world, the further along you get with something, the harder it becomes to change later. The same applies for SharePoint design; investing the time now will pay dividends in the long run.

Want even more SharePoint 2013 design tips? Contact us as (800) 682-0882 and one of our top designers will gladly talk to you about your specific needs.

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