In part 2 of our 8-part branding series, we look at the design of Department Spaces and how that plays a role in the branding of your SharePoint environment. As you are planning your SharePoint Environment, it is important to consider how each landing page should be designed and what information they should contain.
You run a business so you already know that branding makes a huge impact on consumer decision-making. This is no different for your SharePoint environment. Whether it’s an extranet or intranet that you’re creating, your users will be more inclined to engage if you offer them something that is not only useful, but intuitive and aesthetically pleasing.
In part 2 of our 8-part guide, we focus on the creation of Department Spaces. As you are planning your SharePoint Environment, it is important to consider how each landing page should be designed and what information they should contain.
What to consider when creating your Department Spaces
When your site content is logically organized, it is not only easier for you to manage, but it also makes finding information easier on your users - which means higher adoption rates. Before you begin to construct your sites, spend some time thinking through how many sites you want, the purpose or function of each of those sites and how your users will interact with them.
Depending on the size or your organization and the volume of your content, you may want to create subsites under your main site to organize content. From there, you can choose to organize subsites by team/department, by content category, by project, by customer or by permission levels. The possibilities are endless; your environment can reflect your specific business needs.
For example, let’s say you are planning out a site for your HR department who works with highly sensitive information - some for public consumption and some that needs to be secured. By creating a separate space within your HR space for users to access established policies and one for employees to privately work on new policies or updates, you can ensure that the right people have access to the information they need.
How to choose the appropriate widgets for each department
Once the logic and hierarchy of your SharePoint environment has been determined, you can begin to map out the details of each page. In similar fashion to building out a WordPress website, a SharePoint site can utilize pre-built widgets or apps that provide immediate structure and functionality. Using the HR example again, let’s say you are setting up a site and you know that they will require the basics - PTO, Policy Management, Personnel Information, Change Requests, etc. For those functions that require document storage, you will want to set up a document library. When tracking hire dates, birthdays, promotion dates, etc., a calendar will come in handy. Maybe accounting needs to process expense reports or purchase requests - these can all be handled with the appropriate widget.
SharePoint includes built-in widgets that can be useful for a wide range of business functions - from document storage, to project management, to communication and more. Widgets are an easy way to increase functionality for your users and streamline their processes. Once they see the value in using that SharePoint site, you will see high adoption rates. Of course, if the pre-built widget options don't meet your needs, there are third-party options available that can just as easily be incorporated.
Planning for Growth
Business needs change. It is impossible to build out a SharePoint environment that perfectly predicts future growth and the demands that come along with it. However, by planning up front and doing your due diligence about how you want to customize your site content, you can be ready to adapt and add new functionality as those needs arise. The better prepared you are, the faster you can react and keep your sites useful to users.
Continuing with our HR example, as your company grows and employees come and go, the need for additional space will grow in parallel and become more complex. Conversely, other departments may require less space as time goes on - a communications department might only need to store information pages - these are factors to consider up front as well. In the long run, how you allocate storage space will be equally as important as how you structure your hierarchy.
One of the most challenging aspects of building a successful shared environment is creating something that satisfies the needs of all its users. This is no easy feat but by taking the time to properly design your Department Spaces to meet not only the needs of the user but also the overall goals of the company, the odds of success are much higher.