Published on March 3, 2014
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Intranet Redevelopment project • Current intranet: • End-of-life of life technology • Content is out-of-date • Limited ability to manage content and improvements internally • Lack of innovation • Difficult to implement governance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 • 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org rebeccajacksonblogs.wordpress.com.au
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