Hi all,

Totally agree with Tom. It will be a great (big AND wonderful!)
challenge. 

We use Sharepoint for our Intranet, mainly for collaborative teamsites.
It is a great tool with tons of default functionalities and not too
difficult to configure for the average user.

So, with many users with no "design" or "usability" experience, and the
many functionalities and flexibility, we need to keep giving guidance to
users so they have a good site, meeting their purpose and getting
optimal benefits out of their collaborative environment. 
Some people need to be restrained, some need to be persuaded to go
beyond the default templates. Some people fear to simply upload a
document, and others keep asking for (or trying out!) things which are
at (or over) the very limits of the system's capabilities. And
everything else in between those extremes. Endless fun and variety
guaranteed! ;-)

Best of luck!

Ellen van Aken
Sara Lee


-----Original Message-----
From: ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Brauch (Fpweb.net
Managed Hosting)
Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 11:11 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: What's it like to be a Sharepoint usability consultant?

Ulrik,

Best of luck with this.  I think this is a great opportunity and by
great I mean that this is a great big task to take on.  SharePoint needs
help though.  I think you could be a leader in this field.  SharePoint
is capable of many things as a product, but could use some great
Usability help.  I work for a SharePoint hosting company (www.fpweb.net)
and we hear all the time how badly users need help with this
application.  There are some great things people are doing with
SharePoint sites though.  Take a look at the sample sites section on our
web site:
http://www.fpweb.net/sharepoint-hosting/sample-sites.asp

I think this would be a great job for you to take and I'd love to be
kept in the loop on any findings or suggestions from others.
     

Thanks!
Tom Brauch

tel: 636.600.8956

[log in to unmask]


-----Original Message-----
From: ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ulrik Gade
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 1:13 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: What's it like to be a Sharepoint usability consultant?

Hi,

Hope this request is OK for this forum (couldn't find much in the
archives). Apologies if I transgress.

I've been offered a usability position at a consultancy that specializes
in delivering enterprise solutions based on the MS SharePoint Portal
Server platform. Does anyone here have experience with the pros/cons of
such a job from a usability/UX perspective?

My own current thinking is as follows:

- The focus of one's efforts will be more on functional/content
requirements and IA than on interaction design since the latter comes
pretty much prepackaged with the platform

- There will be some lo-fi UI prototyping but there'll be a strong
temptation to move ahead early into building the product, since this is
what the tools of the platform lend themselves to

- There will be a lot of mixing and matching pre-packaged functionality,
at the cost of placing pretty severe practical constraints on more
free-form interaction design

- Page layout, navigation and visual design will be both driven and
quite constrained by the templates of the platform

- Usability testing will be a perennial hard sell to clients b/c they'll
(mistakenly) expect MS to have already taken care of this, and since
fixes to any problems inherent to the platform will anyway rely merely
on hoping MS pushes them to the top of their stack

- It will be very challenging to create IAs that won't unravel over
time, as users start adding content etc to the solution; how does this
play out with SharePoint?

Lastly, I'd be interested if anyone has experience with the using the
product's site usage statistics to inform evolutions of the solution:
Are they any good and do you ever get to make use of them?


Thanks in advance for your thoughts and/or references to more
appropriate forums, Ulrik



--
Ulrik H. Gade
User Experience Professional
Skydebanegade 27, 4. th.
DK-1709 Copenhagen V
Denmark
Landline: +45 3698 1823 (SkypeIn)
Mobile: +45 4088 9884
Skype: ulrik.h.gade
[log in to unmask]
http://www.linkedin.com/in/ulrikgade

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step

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