SharePoint’s usability has undergone scrutiny lately by businesses and users—or rather, in some people’s minds, the lack of usability. Rather than focus on usability, most focus on migration, the cloud and mobility when it comes to using SharePoint.
Below are four ways that SharePoint is able to improve usability practices.
Creating sub sites without defaulting Navigation Inheritance
Website usability rules state that regardless of your location on a website that the navigation is consistent. Luckily, websites will follow this pattern if the site designer/owner correctly configures global navigation.
You can run into issues, however, when you need to make sub sites and Navigation Inheritance defaults to “No.” Failure to change this default will make your sub site orphaned from your main site. This is because it doesn’t have the global navigation that ties it to your other sites, and, therefore, your users can’t navigate back to the main page.
This problem can easily be eliminated by double-checking that you’ve enabled the Navigation Inheritance before making any sub sites. You can fix any mistakes under the navigation settings tab afterwards.
Not including a root site
Usability is also marked by consistently linking sub sites back to your home page. Most often, businesses will use their logo (or other identifying image) on every page of their site to link them back to the homepage. One issue with this is that, with SharePoint, a logo will link a sub site back to the home page, but not necessarily the root site of the home page by default.
In order to ensure your sub site(s) return to the root site, you need to edit the master page through SharePoint Designer and make sure it indicates that clicking a logo returns to the top level of your homepage.
Just like in fairy tales, breadcrumbs can allow users find their way back through the pages they’ve recently visited. Including breadcrumbs in your website is not vital to usability; however, many users count on them. In earlier versions of SharePoint, breadcrumbs were a default option but SharePoint 2013 has disabled them as a default. Breadcrumbs can be enabled by editing the master page.
Using SharePoint titles as breadcrumbs
Although the SharePoint title area can function like a breadcrumb, it’s not a true breadcrumb. Whereas real breadcrumbs will show the trail you’ve followed through clicked links, with titles, you’ll only see a link back to the main page.
While many people may feel that SharePoint is not user-friendly and can create more of a hindrance than help, SharePoint can be very user-friendly if set up in ways that promote usability.