Bored With Your Old SharePoint Site, Time To Change Its Look!

You won’t believe since a few weeks I have gotten lots and lots of emails and calls from my anxious clients asking me all about the SharePoint changes they happen to encounter with Office 365. For example, the new look for a document library, new home experience, feels for the site contents page and so more. I am so glad to share that each of these changes is pretty drastic by itself and will alter the user behavior for good.

“Change is the only constant in life” –Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher

Now I used to play Lego as a kid I am sure even you must have played. According to the Time Magazine, Lego is the most influential toy of all time and one of the reasons for its popularity is due to its potential. The toy with an incredible amount of flexibility. If we take a close look at the game, it was all about building the house or a castle by simply following a set of instructions. But it got a lot more fun when you began using all your bricks to build something even more creative. Similarly, SharePoint being the most popular enterprise platform among Fortune 500 companies can get interesting by simply customizing it according to your company’s style. Moreover, you get an even better environment that your employees will love.

In the following post, I have put together a list of tips and techniques that can be used to alleviate the stress and improve the user adoption of the new functionalities. While no organization is the same, many of the best practice rules will apply to every situation. Get these right and you’ll be on your way to excellence. So, keep reading!

Switch from classic to new experience

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Do you know that a good SharePoint site is the one that doesn’t look like a SharePoint site? Popularly known for document management and collaboration features, Sharepoint provides a push-button site publishing. Which means creating a site will not take more than 3 seconds, literally. But what’s the point if all the sites look the same. Having an out-of-the-box SharePoint theme, just like everyone else, makes you look like a novice, on par with the completely untechnical depts who can barely operate SharePoint, much less customize it.

The default theme looks like: 

Default Theme

Default Theme

So, do you want your SharePoint site mixed in with this negative baggage? Probably Not! Everyone want’s their site to gain respect from their end users, a little awe, instead of another pathetic Sharepoint site response. I am glad you decided to customize your site but make sure it needs to be done in plans. I mean if the customizing goes wrong, chances are there that you may end up with a confusing mess that is hard to put right. Follow our simple tips and tricks for designing your SharePoint Site so its level of performance can match its level of suitability.

  • Before you do anything, think! Think what kind of changes you actually want. Don’t just dive in and start adding things on the random basis. Instead, have a plan. Depending on what you want to do, try sketching your ideas out first, think what you want it to look like and let that end goal guide your editing.
  • Make sure you have the right permissions. This is a major concern because, you won’t be able to do much editing if you don’t have the right permissions. Just make sure you are allowed to add and custom pages, apply themes and border, apply style sheets well in advance.
  • Think about the people who are going to use the page. Now it is quite possible to throw in some illustrations of unicorns and fill the page with bubblegum pink borders, but remember who else is going to use the Site. Most users don’t care about your arty touches; they just want something that lets them easily get their work done. Don’t be tempted to go overboard with your design; keep it simple and relevant to the people at your company.
  • Start by editing page contents. One of the easiest ways to edit sites in SharePoint is do everything in the page editor. The page editor allows you to carry out a wide range of functions including moving the position of web parts, changing the color and size of the font and other matters of rearrangement.
  • All good? Now move on to editing site settings. Site settings can be easily reached through your setting menu and are used for changing the look and feel of your Sites. Here, click on Title, Description and Logo. You’re able to change the site’s title, its description and add your company logo. Easy!
  • Change the theme. Another important option in the ‘look and feel’ section is the ability to change your theme. You can either select this or choose from one of Microsoft’s numerous free themes. Try one out and, in case you think it will do the trick. Bingo! You can instantly apply it to your site. You can also provide a personal touch to your existing site by building your own theme.
  • Add Web Parts & Workflows. There’s a load of different web parts that can be added to an existing site. Depending on your current Sharepoint version, select Web Parts and the view all the different categories of Web Parts available for that page. Besides, you can also add a vacation approval form right into your HR Site.
  • Get working with a SharePoint Developer. Hiring a designer or developer turns out to be the best useful tool for power users to begin editing their SharePoint environment. In fact, they have the ability to provide you that extra bit of power and you don’t need to be a fully-fledged developer to use it.
  • Use Visual Studio for ultimate power. Visual Studio is the ultimate development environment and it’s the best place to start making those bigger changes. So, if you want to push your customization to the next level, you’ll need to get down into the machinery and start editing the code underpinning SharePoint.
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