SharePointedly speaking…where does UX fit in?

Slalom Consultant Craig Wright

Craig Wright is a Slalom Consultant delivering technology solutions, based in our Dallas office.

From a User Experience Design perspective, SharePoint projects can be tricky. There are a lot of moving parts and technical “right angles” to keep up with. The Experience Designer needs to be on top of his/her creative game and have a sharp toolkit to deliver. At this point in my career, the most important asset in that toolkit is communication.

From time to time I am partnered with a team that has not worked with me or any other designer before. When that’s the case it’s crucial for me to communicate my process and capabilities to the team up front; in many instances before collecting requirements or even client interviews.

WHEN DO I SHOW UP?
As soon as possible. Not as soon as the “design” phase begins, but at the beginning of the project. Why? Because the problems that are solved in the design are defined early and solved before a single pixel is pushed. If you are just having a designer “skin” the application, the resource is not being used to its full capacity and it is possible that the experience will suffer.

WHAT DO I DELIVER?
Using a generic life cycle for a development project, I’ll attempt to share an overview of what it is a designer can deliver to increase the quality and value of a site. (I will define some of these deliverables in greater detail in future posts.)

Interviews & Requirements

  • Creative Brief
  • Site Map
  • Analysis and Reports from testing and interviews

Functional Design

  • Wire Frames
  • Use Case Scenarios
  • Workflows
  • Site Map
  • Analysis and Reports from testing and interviews

Visual Design

  • Design Examples
  • Style Guide

Development

  • Custom master page
  • Custom CSS files/files
  • Supporting graphics

Testing/QA

  • Analysis and reports from testing and interviews

Delivery

  • Support

Nothing really shocking there. However, with SharePoint not only do I make these kinds of things real, I also create lists, libraries and add web parts as needed. That means I’m delivering not just the presentation layer, but also a chunk of the business logic. That’s one of the things that hooked me on SharePoint.

Very rarely do you find an argument for creating a site without a designer. Developers, Project Managers and Directors love the idea. Once adding that toolkit to the team is a reality, it does take time to integrate all the things a designer can do for maximum value.

More detail on these kinds of things to come. What is it you want to cover? Comment and let me know.

About uxcraig
Occasional Blogger | Sometimes Speaker | Perpetual UX Designer

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