Design Impacts End User Adoption

I’m sitting in the Dubai airport, on my way to Israel via Amman, Jordan for the second leg of my EMEA tour this month. I spent a couple days meeting with Microsoft and Axceler partners, and walking the floor of GITEX, the region’s largest technology conference held annually here in Dubai. One of the more interesting conversations was with our partner Flip Media, a leader in branding and design for over a decade, and a much sought-after partner now that they’ve decided to expand into the SharePoint branding space. I was able to meet with Kareem Monem a couple times this week, who has a long history working with SharePoint at both HiSoftware and Brightstarr, and who was hired by Flip to build out their SharePoint practice. While visiting his office, we had a great discussion of the new additions to SharePoint 2013 that greatly impact the ability for design and branding firms like Flip to directly improve SharePoint adoption.

As a former industrial design major, I understand the importance of good design on end user adoption. A clean, intuitive design helps users find the content they’re looking for, and navigate the environment to complete common tasks. I have a couple presentations on productivity that focus on the core productivity opportunities in SharePoint as workflow, forms, social, and metadata. With the focus on WCM (web content management) in SharePoint 2013, I will be appending that list to include design.

Design is not just about logos and marketing, but about moving users through a site or program following key business scenarios, allowing them to complete tasks faster, and with more complete results (more accurate metadata, appropriate permissions). Think about this: if you’ve been to a newer hospital recently, you may have noticed colored lines on the walls or floors to help you find your way through the long corridors. Follow the orange bands to make your way to the pharmacy. Follow the purple bands to make your way to surgery, and so forth. Good design works like that, directing your eyes through a logical flow on the site, and helping you to logically follow what may be an otherwise complex, un-intuitive process.

Dubai 003The power of SharePoint 2013 for WCM is that it allows designers to create responsive designs (the page scales based on the size or format of the screen) but also now allows you to design publishing sites that are designed specifically for tablet and mobile formats, allowing customers to design sites for specific end user scenarios.

The more you are able to design SharePoint to fit the way your end users work, the more your end users will pick up and run with the SharePoint sites you build. Design matters.

It was a good couple days in Dubai, but I am about to board my flight to Amman, then on to Tel Aviv. I am presenting a “Brunch-and-Learn” community session tomorrow at the offices near Ben Gurion airport, with partners, CloudShare, and Efficens Software, and support from Microsoft and the local SharePoint User Group. The event is free, and will be from 9:00am to 11:30 with brunch served. If you’re in the region and want to learn a little more about SharePoint 2013 productivity and social features, come join us. You can register here.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.