On Saturday, November 22 I presented a session at SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities called “25 Usability Tips for SharePoint 2013/SharePoint Online Sites.” I want to thank everyone who attended my session, it was definitely a packed house!
I have a passion for web site usability in general, and over the years I’ve noticed that SharePoint isn’t always the most user-friendly platform, especially right out of the box. In fact I’ve written several articles on the topic of usability on my blog and CMSWire.com; I’ve graded the SharePoint 2010 interface on an A-F scale; and I’ve presented several sessions on SharePoint usability, including the missing link in SharePoint usability, and usability and design tips.
This session that I presented at SPSTC highlights several things that site owners can implement on their sites to make them easier for their users to interact with.
When I was putting the list together, I noticed that many of the tips had a very similar theme. Below are all 25 tips, broken out into five categories:
1. Primary navigation links should always be visible and consistent no matter where you are on the site
2. Limit the number of primary navigation links to 9 or less
3. Use function-driven navigation when possible (verbs instead of nouns)
4. You should have a link back to the home page on every page of your site
5. Hyperlinks should open in same window if going to the same site, or new window if external site
6. Even though it’s tedious, be sure to test all hyperlinks on your site
7. Identify required fields and other validation on forms
8. Set default values on fields when it makes sense
9. Group fields logically on forms
10. Hide unnecessary form data from users
11. Let users know that their form submission was successful
12. Avoid too much content on the home page and landing pages
13. Only show relevant information to the user
14. Change the default views on lists to a view that is more useful
15. Use descriptive names for content (lists, libraries, documents, items)
16. Be sure to continuously add fresh content to your site
17. Your site should have a consistent look and feel across all sub sites and pages
18. Use good balance of images, text, and white space
19. Optimize all graphics to reduce page download times
20. Use contrasting colors in your design to improve readability
21. Use consistent hyperlink colors and styles
22. Don’t use folders (unless you really need to use folders)
23. If you must use folders, be sure to set default metadata on them
24. Pay attention to what your users are searching for
25. Only index the things that you want to show up in search results
The slides from my session can be found below, and I also created a playlist of my backup video demos on YouTube. All the demos were done on my SharePoint 2013 Online site, however many if not all of the tips are applicable to SharePoint 2010 and 2007 as well.