A Guide for Successful SharePoint Branding: Part 6 - Custom Widgets

02/22/2018 by Vanick Digital

In part 6 of our 8-part branding series, we examine another option for of personalizing your environment while, at the same time, improving functionality, driving productivity and increasing user adoption in the long run. Custom widgets – also referred to as “web parts” or “apps” – can be added to your SharePoint site to give it that extra touch that keeps your users coming back.


In part 5 of our SharePoint Branding Series, we looked at themes and how how they can help you create a space for your users that not only aligns with your overall brand, but also encourages user adoption. We gave our recommendations for three steps you should take before developing your theme - assessing your brand’s “look and feel”, gathering stakeholder input and organizing strategically. For the best results, as with any other type of development project, it is essential that you to take a calculated approach to your design.


image of man holding a tablet with widgets coming out

 

In part 6 of our 8-part branding series, we examine another option for personalizing your SharePoint environment while, at the same time, improving functionality, driving productivity and increasing user adoption in the long run. Custom widgets – also referred to as “web parts” or “apps” – can be added to your SharePoint site to give it that extra touch that keeps your users coming back. The convenience factor of having everything accessible in one spot will increase their efficiency, which means better adoption rates for you.

 

What is a SharePoint widget?

If you’re intrigued by what you just read but aren’t quite sure what a widget is or how you would add one to your environment, we’ll help you out. And by that we mean, we’ll let the experts at Microsoft give you the specifics.

“A SharePoint Add-in is a self-contained piece of functionality that extends the capabilities of SharePoint websites to solve a well-defined business problem. Add-ins don't have custom code that runs on SharePoint servers. Instead, all custom logic moves "up" to the cloud, or "down" to client computers, or "over" to an on-premises server that is outside the SharePoint farm or SharePoint Online subscription. Keeping custom code off SharePoint servers provides reassurance to SharePoint administrators that the add-in can't harm their servers or reduce the performance of their SharePoint Online websites.

Business logic in a SharePoint Add-in can access SharePoint data through one of the several client APIs included in SharePoint. Which API you use for your add-in depends on certain other design decisions you make. Almost all major types of SharePoint components can be part of a SharePoint Add-in, including pages, lists, workflows, custom content types, list templates, Web Parts, and more.”

Seven types of widgets to help boost user adoption

Since widgets are fully customizable, the possibilities of what you can add are endless. There are, however, some best practices that we’ve observed and we’d like to share those with you so you can create the best SharePoint environment possible.
 

  1. Anniversary - Build rapport and keep your users coming back by highlighting major milestones or an employee anniversary.
  2. Birthday - Make your employees feel that much more special with a birthday greeting. Let your teams know whose birthday it is and build the team spirit while driving adoption.
  3. Event Calendar - Develop your own calendar view that fits your company’s needs. Set up reminders so that users are kept up-to-date whenever they access the SharePoint environment.
  4. PTO - For any organization with a great deal of employees, a paid time off (PTO) widget can be very useful. It can automatically calculate accrued time off and allow employees to request time off via the plug-in.
  5. Twitter feed - Give your users a one-stop-shop to view all social media posts generated by your company. Rather than spending time searching, they can easily view past posts in the portal.
  6. On Sale - When you have products that are on sale or have a promotion attached to them, make sure that your teams are aware. Leverage the marketplace feature to increase team participation and drive user adoption.
  7. Notifications - let your users leave messages or status updates that can be seen by different members of your organization.


The sky really is the limit when it comes to adding customized widgets to your SharePoint environment. What we’ve learned in working with our customers is that building tailored “add-ons” and continuing to adapt the SharePoint environment to the specific needs of your users, is a great way to see user satisfaction increase and adoption rates rise.


To learn more, explore our complete SharePoint capabilities and thought leadership or contact us directly today!


Vanick Digital