SharePoint for end-users


Web design in Microsoft SharePoint environment | Mandate Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC | Concept dubbed perceptions | Design Zeilenwerk, dubbed perceptions | Coding Zeilenwerk | Language English | Year 2016

Together with Zeilenwerk, dubbed perceptions worked extensively to adapt, format and create an online space for the SDC network on democratisation, decentralisation and local governance DDLGN. You can access the public part of the page HERE. The online space is based on SharePoint, a browser-based collaboration and document management platform from Microsoft. It is not known for being very intuitive in its use, to say the least.

A well planned support includes an exit strategy. A moment, when the end-user takes over. Thus, our main challenge is: to create a collaborative space on SharePoint that can be managed by the users themselves, instead of professional web-designers. The additional difficulty we face: due to the security rules of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs we don’t have developers’ rights.

So I started the project with a bold video to the network members, letting them know what we set out to achieve:

dubbed perceptions' role is to translate the network's needs into a visual information structure, while Zeilenwerk translates this vision into a web page that is easy to administer. To make the page look good, and to ensure that new content can be added easily by the end-user without any fear of deleting important code, we work with lists. The end-user adds new content into a list. The list is then translated into a page layout.

One year into our support, Raphael from Zeilenwerk and I talk about our experience creating the DDLGN page:

What next?

We came a long way. At the start we looked at other SDC SharePoint examples. Most platforms were lying idle, because the out of the box solution is far from user friendly. One example caught our interest. We contacted Reno from Pixelfarm who has spent a good deal of the previous year in making the page work. Reno really helped us during our first steps into the daunting world of SharePoint.

It is not yet the moment for us to exit. Now that the page is ready for use, I am thinking about ways to help the DDLGN core team getting all their network members on board, change their way they communicate. Encourage them to use new tools. For example, help them to use video for knowledge sharing.