With the increasing usage of products like Microsoft SharePoint for intranets, and with the latest versions, public websites, there is a need to ensure that usability and brand values are maintained.
Breaking the template
While there are many benefits of an out-of-the box solution that covers many common use cases for document management and collaboration, as well as the ease of integrating with existing Microsoft infrastructure, there is a frequent disconnect with the end users. This can manifest itself in confusing brand messages where the template-driven nature of SharePoint is unable to capture the existing online look-and-feel which may be the culmination of significant investment.
Similarly, ease of use suffers, particularly when internal development teams take advantage of the new capabilities but are unable to adequately capture the human interface aspects that allow the end user to get the most out of the system.
By not completely addressing user engagement issues this affects the ROI on the development work, and in a worst case can lead to otherwise useful components being left unused as they are simply too confusing.
Achieving a unified vision across all your web systems
Future Medium have been engaged by a number of companies including the Department of Education and Federal Group/Network Gaming to customise SharePoint sites and web parts to not only align more closely with existing branding material but to improve usability and user engagement by looking at:
- Form layouts
- Colour coding
These projects have utilised our expert design team as well as front-end developers to implement the designs into the existing SharePoint sites with as little change to the back-end code as possible, allowing the current developers (often internal to the client) to continue to maintain the site themselves.
In addition to SharePoint, we have performed similar work with Microsoft InfoPath, with rebranding and user analysis of forms to improve engagement and usability.