The second “Best Practices” type of session I attended was SPC245, “Making SharePoint 2010 Collaboration Rock by Increasing Findability” presented by Jornata’s Scott Jamison. Although he is a principal at a competitor, he is also a top-notch presenter, and I always enjoy and get value from Scott’s presentations.
Clearly vying for the title of “Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” Scott, in his third presentation of the day, blitzed through many specific, practical tips on how to make SharePoint more usable and information more findable, including the following highlights:
- Folders (great for contributors, especially incumbents who have a general sense of where things belong via “tribal knowledge”) vs metadata (great for consumers who understand metadata, but can be tedious for contributors if they have to tag content manually). One key “Go Do” item Scott frequently advises is to create separate user experiences (via default views) for contributors vs consumers.
- Improving search results by paying attention to how things are named (especially the critical “Title” field) and where stored (e.g., the fewer slashes in the path, the higher-ranked in search)
- Improving search results by measuring their effectiveness with out-of-the-box reports from SharePoint: search queries that returned no results or no best bets.
- Changing default navigation in simple but effective ways like getting rid of the default left-hand navigation where it works counter to how users will find their way through a portal.
All of the techniques that Scott related were in response to common user challenges that each of us has seen “in the wild,” and they were crisply and artfully presented.