This final post in the series is all about planning “How” your users see the content on the pages. There are a number of tools available that allow us to customize content. The most valuable of those are list Views. With List Views we can create a filtered display of the data stored in a list so that the users see data that is relevant to them. For example, we can display only current items from a Calendar or show only tasks assigned to a specific user. Some web parts also provide the ability to use “Audience Targeting”. So, for a moment, let’s look at “Audience Targeting”.
By using audience targeting, you can display content such as list or library items, navigation links, and entire Web Parts to specific groups of people. This is useful when you want to present information that is relevant only to a particular group of people. For example, you can add a Web Part to the legal department’s portal site that contains a list of legal contracts that is visible only to that department. You might also want to show only announcements for a specific geographical location so the team doesn’t seem announcements that have no value to them.
Any item in a SharePoint list or library can be targeted to specific audiences. To do this, you use the Content Query Web Part. Any other type of Web Part and its contents also can be targeted to audiences. In addition, you can target site navigation links to audiences. Targeting the links simplifies the users’ experience, because they see only the navigation links that are relevant to them.
To identify a target audience, you can use one or more of the following:
- SharePoint groups
- Distribution lists
- Security groups
- Global audiences (rules-based audiences that are maintained by SharePoint administrators)
Anyone with at least Contributor permission can specify a target audience, as long as the name of the audience is known. You can search for an audience by its name, alias, or description by clicking Browse in the Target Audiences list.
There is plenty of information on the Internet regarding “Audience Targeting”. I’m not going to replicate all of those steps here. Just go search for “SharePoint 2013 audience targeting”.
So, List Views and Audience Targeting are both options you have for customizing the content on the pages. This post does not serve to tell you the steps to accomplish these, but to first get you to think about relevance and giving your teams immediate return on the new site investment.
In working with customers and students, there are a number of common/best practices for implementing relevant information on a site. Listed below are some examples of what I often see displayed on pages, and then how they are displayed.
How to display the content OR properties
||Create a View to display only current announcements. You may want to enable Content Approval to make sure announcements go through an approval process before they are visible.
|Site Members WP
||Using the Site Members web part to display member of a specific SharePoint Group. **Doesn’t work if you use an AD group as a member of the SharePoint group.
||Not much customization you can currently do to this web part. I always recommend placing at near the bottom right of the page because it’s not easy to set the height of it.
||Display tasks for the current user, sorted by due date, sorted by priority, grouped by project, and limited to 5 in the web part. You can still see more tasks if you page left and right, but no need to take up valuable real estate on the page to display tasks you won’t get to today.
||This is one of the most important enterprise social tools and should always be front and center on the home page. It gives immediate value to the teams if used correctly. I use the “Featured” discussions view on the home page and then make sure the moderator has carefully marked the most important discussions as featured so they will show up.
||So often I see the calendar display in Calendar view. This displays the entire 30/31 day calendar. This takes up way too much real estate and for those dates in the past, we have no need to see those in most cases. Create a View that shows events/meetings/appointments starting from now to the future and for 2 days maybe. Display them as a list, and limit them to 5 items or so. Users can always click on the Calendar link to see the full calendar. But remember the page has to have value and is limited in space.
|Relevant Docs WP
||This is a great web part. It gives you the capability to aggregate content from across multiple libraries. Similar to the CQWP it gives you some really meaningful info built on queries. You can display a link to documents: 1) Checked Out by the current user, 2) Created by the Current User, 3) Modified by the Current User. GREAT to use when you have users that just can’t seem to remember to check documents back in. Put it front and center on the page as a reminder of documents they have checked out.
||Any of the filter web parts are also great. Based on metadata you can filter what is displayed. These items can be aggregated across multiple lists and libraries.
So there you have it. A series of posts regarding Site Design. Not at all exhaustive, but hopefully an introduction for you regarding the process that goes into planning and building a site that has value to your teams.
The most important thing to remember is that you must involve the team in the process. They are the users and are the ones that will determine if the solution meets their needs. SharePoint is a powerful technology but it is like a blank slate out-of-the-box. It requires good planning and even better Governance.