Category Archives: Technology

So why use SharePoint?

Some more SharePoint links to help clarify my thinking on any upcoming implementation project that might be starting at work.

First of all, rather than concentrating on what it can do, let’s look instead at what our expectations of SharePoint might be. What kind of users are we?​

Different SharePoint users and definitions
The vastness of SharePoint creates areas of specialization. The result is that a person’s view of SharePoint is greatly affected by how that person uses the product. It’s important to keep this in mind when talking with people about SharePoint. If you ask ten people to define SharePoint, you’re likely to get ten different answers.​

That article goes on to list half a dozen roles people might fall into, from anonymous visitors and casual users to power users and administrators. Perhaps any implementation needs to acknowledge these differences and recognise that some staff would be more comfortable in one role than another? Would we give them the choice?

For any introduction of new software/platform/process to be successful, we need to know why we’re doing it. Are we wanting to make better use of SharePoint just because we have the licences? Is this an answer in search of a problem? Or is there a real business need?

I think we’ve got two. I’d like a better staff intranet (I’m so desperate to get my hands on that) and IT colleagues here would like a better file store setup. But as these next links show, simply introducing SharePoint in itself won’t solve all our problems.

Design a Brilliant SharePoint Intranet
Some Microsoft SharePoint intranets are nothing short of marvelous — rich with features that support the business and engage employees, anchored by predictable navigation, supported by a smart search, and with page layouts that make employees want to scan all the content. But it was not always this way.​

Leveraging your office intranet for employee connection & collaboration
But in spite of this, many companies’ intranets are still being used the same way they were 10-15 years ago, even though they are capable of being so much more than a document storage system. Here are some features of intranets you can review to check whether your office intranet is being used at its full potential and better leverage it if it’s not.​

Should SharePoint replace file servers?
Many in the SharePoint market claim that SharePoint can and should replace your file servers. Is this a best practice? Should you plan to move all of your files that currently exist into SharePoint? There are pros and cons to this debate, each of which we’ll outline below. However, if you don’t want to read this entire section, then you should know that our simple answer is no.

Onwards.

A fascinating look into what it’s like reading with dyslexia

This is very clever, a great use of Javascript.

Dsxyliea
A friend who has dyslexia described to me how she experiences reading. She can read, but it takes a lot of concentration, and the letters seems to “jump around”. I remembered reading about typoglycemia. Wouldn’t it be possible to do it interactively on a website with Javascript? Sure it would.

Much obliged to Christopher Hallas, over on Linked In, who pointed me in the direction of this pdf from the British Dyslexia Association, full of great advice for clear, accessible documents production.

Dyslexia Style Guide (pdf)
The aim is to ensure that written material takes into account the visual stress experienced by some dyslexic people, and to facilitate ease of reading. Adopting best practice for dyslexic readers has the advantage of making documents easier on the eye for everyone.

Couldn’t agree more. And here’s another take on recreating the exasperation​​ ​of reading with dyslexia.​​

This font shows you what it feels like to be dyslexic
“What this typeface does is break down the reading time of a non-dyslexic down to the speed of a dyslexic. I wanted to make non-dyslexic people understand what it is like to read with the condition and to recreate the frustration and embarrassment of reading everyday text and then in turn to create a better understanding of the condition”.​​

RM gives SharePoint a helping hand

What looks to be a nice tool from RM for setting up school intranet pages using SharePoint​​ and Office 365.​

RM Site Creator helps your school get the most out of Microsoft Office 365
In a few minutes you can design an impressive looking school intranet with corresponding areas for all your different subjects, year groups, clubs and interest groups, as well as areas for Staff CPD and for Student Voice. RM Site Creator also offers default site structures, designed with input from teachers, which you can then customise to meet your individual school’s need.​

Superhero storage?

​Trying really hard to get excited about this.

Eternal 5D data storage could record the history of humankind
Coined as the ‘Superman memory crystal’, as the glass memory has been compared to the “memory crystals” used in the Superman films, the data is recorded via self-assembled nanostructures created in fused quartz. The information encoding is realised in five dimensions: the size and orientation in addition to the three dimensional position of these nanostructures.​

[…]

“It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations. This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilisation: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.”​

An incredibly clever way of storing ​data, to be sure, but haven’t we heard all this before? And it’s not how you store it but how you read it that’s key, when pondering the far future.

Digital good?

Interesting publications on design, technology and change for ‘good’
“I’m pulling together a list of interesting, thought-provoking reading on how design, technology and change (the three things that, for me, define ‘digital’) can help organisations that work in the community, voluntary, charity, non-profit, social enterprise type space.”

There are some interesting people in the non-profit and public sectors, with some great ideas about how technology and a more digital outlook can improve organisations and help people. Hopefully Dave’s reading list is a growing resource.

Digital bad?

We are hopelessly hooked
What does it mean to shift overnight from a society in which people walk down the street looking around to one in which people walk down the street looking at machines? We wouldn’t be always clutching smartphones if we didn’t believe they made us safer, more productive, less bored, and were useful in all of the ways that a computer in your pocket can be useful.

As ever, with this subject as with many others, a simplistic modern-life-is-rubbish attitude falls short. Things are more complicated than that.​​

If only

PowerPoint should be banned. This PowerPoint presentation explains why.
It is estimated that more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations are given every day. But as PowerPoint conquered the world, critics have piled on. And justifiably so. Its slides are oversimplified, and bullet points omit the complexities of nearly any issue.​

A great PowerPoint about PowerPoint, with examples that really hit the mark. “Make these slides the last ones you ever read”? If only. It’s far too ingrained and we’re far too lazy. And don’t think Prezi’s any better, unless you’re a fan of motion sickness.

Love it or hate it, email’s not going anywhere

The triumph of email
“Email has evolved into a weird medium of communication where the best thing you can do is destroy it quickly, as if every email were a rabid bat attacking your face,” Paul Ford wrote last year. “Yet even the tragically email-burdened still have a weird love for this particular rabid, face-attacking bat.”

Some SharePoint points to share

I remember someone, whose IT opinions I trust, once say, “Friends don’t let friends use SharePoint”, and yet here we are.

SharePoint department site example
“Quite often, I am being asked by my clients to create a SharePoint Department Site Template. In this blog post, I wo​uld like to share an example of SharePoint Department Site, as well as explain its elements and best practices re​lated to setup and configuration.“​​

How to manage migration to SharePoint
“So you have bought Office 365 licenses for your organization, switched everyone to Outlook online and now are ready to roll out the SharePoint ​”thing”. You make it to the default SharePoint page and your next step is… EXACTLY!!! Where do you start?​”