An Advent series - the SharePoint Lookbook

You can now make SharePoint look beautiful and the SharePoint Lookbook is a great starter to see how and share it in your organisation to break the stigma that surrounds SharePoint.

“SharePoint always looks rubbish” “You have to spend lots of money to get SharePoint working on mobile” “Never use the default navigation, it just won’t work”

All these are phrases I’ve heard and often said about SharePoint over the years but a lot of that is changing. The biggest recent example of this is the SharePoint Lookbook – released at Ignite 2018 and designed to focus on the designers out there and the way that they would go about designing sites. It breaks down the areas where you can make changes by adding headers and footers or select different webparts and the document gives great examples of the amazing looking sites that you can create. All of these are responsive so that they adapt well to working with mobile and tablet devices.

No more starting projects with master templates

The difference is that where you previously had to work on customising SharePoint heavily and focusing on those customisations at the start of the project, the content is now the king as you know that it will look great straight away. This is a bit of a swing from people who have long been trying to brand SharePoint exactly how they want things to look. Now the key is to get the content exactly how you want it to be, with images that meet your branding, with content written in a way that meets your organisations standards, with targeted items aimed at the right people, and with the apps that people use in their digital workplace day in day out.

So it becomes less about the customisation, the massive upfront effort to redesign your master pages and page templates and it becomes far more about getting the right content into your site and the imagery to continue your brand. That’s not to say that you can’t add elements of branding. You can create site designs which define what’s on your custom sites and you can specify logos and colours to blend SharePoint in to your own environment.

More time for being productive

The shift away from just doing the look and feel means that the project team can focus on people being productive. You can focus on people collaborating together. You can focus on the integration with Microsoft Teams, Planner, ToDo, Stream and the many other services available with Microsoft 365. That is where the importance is to employees and that is where the value organisations will get from SharePoint and Microsoft 365.

Think about the team

The SharePoint Lookbook is not just about the Communications Sites but also about Team Sites - sharing information and content between team members. The focus is on getting the right tasks to be done in front of people as simply as possible. Intelligent search will surface the right content to team members, allowing everyone to get started straight from their site.

What next?

Now you can spend your time working on getting people productive, you have more time to keep up to date with the changing world of SharePoint! In the mean time, you can see much of what will be arriving in Targeted Release tenants by the end of December in this post on the Ignite 2018 round up or listen to the latest Intrazone podcast where they discuss the changes. I will also be covering some of the changes as they hit my tenant so keep an eye on this blog. Lookbook