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Putting the users back in user experience - Part One
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I am recently volunteering with an organization to help them implement usage of SharePoint. The group is already using Office 365 and has transitioned all their files into SharePoint. The SharePoint implementation happened as part of the wider transition to Office 365.

As anyone who has gone through such a change, moving your existing email service to a different platform is an enormous task in itself. As big as these projects went, it was necessary for the SharePoint piece to just move the files from a shared drive to SharePoint on Office 365.

I have moved residences at least four times in the last decade. As the last boxes have been tackled, there is always that one last box that I ended up putting aside and dealt at a later date. As life goes on and I accumulate more things that one box sits unopened. Sometimes this also happens in big projects. The one thing gets prioritized for a later date. Months turns into quarters then into years. Then it would seem all of a sudden that later date is now, and it has become a priority.

But after years of using SharePoint as a shared folder people adopt their way of doing things. They create their folder structures as they would normally would on their desktop or shared drive. As people move in and out of the organization, all the files become short of a mess. No one can find anything, so they create their document folder structure, or they end up printing stacks of paper filed somewhere on their desk.



As I work deeper into my understanding of how the people in the organization use SharePoint, it has become apparent that the success of this undertaking relies on getting the users involved. We need to convince the stakeholders in the organization that using SharePoint more than just your usual document repository will make them more productive in the long run. It will require some training on things such as creating lists. To those who are familiar with using SharePoint, creating lists is as intuitive as right clicking on your mouse to create a new folder. But if you have not worked with files this way, it would seem weird that you can create your views or lists based on the criteria specified. Not only that you can create as my lists as you may want and all the files still stay in its place. By doing this, you remove the need to build a folder within a folder within a folder. Search and navigation of the files become faster.

Always take into account the experience of the users when transitioning to something new. Do not dismiss that they just have to follow just because the boss said so. Take time to know where they are coming from and find common ground where you can win them.

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