Balancing user experience with an out-of-the-box design in SharePoint 2013

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Information about Balancing user experience with an out-of-the-box design in SharePoint 2013

Published on March 3, 2014

Author: _rebeccajackson



Presentation from Melbourne Business User Group (SharePoint MBug) where Rebecca discussed how having a great user experience is an success factor for any intranet. To ensure success with their intranet redevelopment Melbourne Water has included usability testing throughout the development of their SharePoint 2013 intranet. What they found was that what their staff thought was a good user experience was at times in conflict with maintaining as much of the out-of-the-box functionality as possible. Rebecca talked through their approach to user experience testing, findings from the sessions and their approach to getting a balance.

Balancing user experience with an out-of-the-box design in SharePoint 2013 Rebecca Jackson Intranet Specialist @_rebeccajackson Melbourne Business User Group (Mbug) 28 February 2014

About Melbourne Water • Victorian Government owned • 1700 people with intranet access • Caretaker for • Water supply catchments • Removal / treatment of sewage • Rivers, creeks, major drainage

Intranet Redevelopment project • Current intranet: • End-of-life of life technology • Content is out-of-date • Limited ability to manage content and improvements internally • Lack of innovation • Difficult to implement governance

Intranet Redevelopment project • New intranet: • SharePoint 2013 • Improved user experience • Fresh look and feel • New information architecture • Focusing on core intranet features • No collaboration yet • Limited social

Project status • Current activities: • In the final phase of development • Majority of content is written, being reviewed • Key activities to come: • User acceptance testing • Training • Content migration • Launch, currently planned for May 2014

OOTB vs user experience A key project objective is around user experience. We also have a requirement to meet A and AA accessibility guidelines as per WCAG 2.0. This is sometimes at odds with our need to stay as close to out-of-the- box as possible.

A quick disclaimer

User experience approach • Completed by a User Experience expert from PWC’s Stamford • Based on functional requirements and persona needs • Desk top review • User interviews • Three rounds, one after each iteration • 16 users in total • Spread across personas, business groups and roles

Newsfeed and social features “I’m thinking maybe it [comments] would go into Yammer.” SharePoint 2013 includes a number of out-of-the-box social features: • News feed • Following people and pages • #hashtags • @replies Usability issues with social features. • Users assumed the features were Yammer integration. • Found the follow feature confusing.

News feed and social features

Comments (Note board) There is a Note board feature in SharePoint 2013 which we renamed to ‘Comments’ to use on content pages. Usability issues: • ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ buttons appear and look clickable, even if there are no other comments. • Default message added confusion for users and referred to ‘notes’. • There was no way for page owners or authors to know if someone had left a comment. • People assumed comments were moderated.

Comments (Note board)

SharePoint terminology Most users were confused by unfamiliar SharePoint terminology: • Newsfeed • SkyDrive • Sites

Search SharePoint 2013 search is a significant improvement for our users out- of-the-box. However… • Refinement options were completely overlooked by most participants. • No partial search. • Both for standard search, and for people search. • Refinements in the header search were not clear for people. • The search box and refinements were not clearly formatted. • Multiple search views confusing.



Organisational chart People loved that they could see reporting relationships on user profiles. But… • The profile page org chat display is inconsistent. • There’s a ‘SEE MORE’ link, which most users didn’t notice. • If they got to the Silverlight view on the next page: • It was too small. • The scrolling transition wasn’t easy to use.

Organisational chart

Organisational chart • First screenshot shows only direct reports • Second one shows colleagues • Not easy to visually differentiate

My sites • User profiles are a separate from the main SharePoint site. • Makes standardising look and feel problematic. Usability issues with My Sites • Not clear for users how to navigate back to the main intranet. • Contact details layout and spacing poor. • ‘SEE MORE’ button hiding information.

My sites

Dot dot dot Where there are more menu options on functions SharePoint 2013 uses ‘…’ to indicate there is more. Problem? • Users don’t see the dots. • Further functions remain hidden.

Dot dot dot

Accessibility review • Completed by an accessibility expert from PWC’s Stamford • Against Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) • Desk top review • Assisted technology review

Accessibility findings A selection of features that did not meet A or AA accessibility requirements. • Features not keyboard accessible. • For example: Formatting toolbar, certain buttons, dropdowns. • Error messaging not accessible to screen readers. • Some form fields missing instruction. • OOTB images with alt text missing or inappropriately used. • Focus order illogical, and in some cases inappropriately used.

Accessibility Inappropriate use of focus – content preview is functional.

Conclusions • An out-of-the-box intranet is unlikely to meet the usability requirements of your staff. • Based on our testing accessibility wasn’t a pass out-of-the-box • We assessed the importance of the feature against the severity of the issue. • Some changes could not be made for this development, but will be road-mapped for post-launch improvements. • Build user experience and accessibility into your project and requirements. • Test. • Test early. • Test throughout the project.

Questions? Feel free to get in touch: Rebecca Jackson @_rebeccajackson

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