SharePoint is the devil. Apparently Jakob Nielsen has some concerns as well, but he seems to like it more than I do. Does SharePoint Destroy Intranet Design? If anyone is interested in SharePoint horror stories, give me a ring.
That doesn’t appear to be what he’s saying: he seems to be arguing that using Sharepoint (etc) means there’s less programming involved in designing an intranet, but still requires plenty of design and usability work. Or am I missing something?
I agree with Simon, the title does not seem to summarize Nielson’s post accurately.
He notes in his post, 10 Best Intranets of 2009 (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/intranet_design_2009.html), that half of the award winning designs were done in SharePoint. Quote: “In total, the 10 winners were built on 26 different products — substantially fewer than the 41 used in 2008 or the 49 used in 2007. Most impressively, fully half of the winning intranets used SharePoint, especially the recent MOSS platform (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007).”
All right, all right. I think you’re right. I projected my own hatred for Drupal onto what Nielsen wrote, so I’m changing my words in the post. Fair enough.
To me, the lack of customizing in SharePoint, the inflexibility on the back end, makes it the devil. Microsoft’s horrific menus and set-up structures make it the devil. Perhaps I’m not being a bit nasty, but having used SharePoint for 2+ years at my library, I can say that it’s a piece of junk and absolutely does not do what we need. We’re planning to shift our intranet into Drupal. It’s free, open source, has the functionality that we wanted from SharePoint in the first place, and offers it with a friendly back-end user interface as well as good and easy options for creating a friendly front-end user interface too. SharePoint doesn’t do that.
Thanks Sarah. I find your comment interesting (and somewhat worrying) as my workplace is just about to start moving TO Sharepoint (from an even uglier CMS). I wonder if it’s too late for me to advocate for Drupal instead? (I have to say, I used Sharepoint a few years ago and found it worked reasonably well for our purposes then, but all we wanted was a very basic tool, with only a couple of people having admin access).
Sarah, while I’m dubious about your phone choice, I’m behind you all the way in your hatred of Sharepoint. We use it in my workplace, and, as far as I can see (and that isn’t far since I’m not an administrator), it fails badly at the basic things and is (probably) terrific at the more advanced things.
We use it mostly for file management, a task which, by all accounts, it sucks at. Nothing is simple. Moving a document from one folder to another requires the memorization of directory structure (which GUIs were supposed to free us of) or moving to alternate “views” or methods to access the site.
My department recently had to work very intensively with a number of documents on Sharepoint, which made it fairly simple to access the documents from work or home. However, we often found that we had checked out the documents in one place or the other and could not access our changes until we had gone home or returned to work. This was not Sharepoint’s FAULT since checking in is part of the Sharepoint workflow. However, Sharepoint does not make this process transparent or issue reminders. I had to travel back from work to home once to check in a document I’d left open so that I could retain the changes I’d made at home. Again, my fault, but in the same way that not being able to make a paper snowflake with a pair of left-handed scissors is my fault: the processs are not natural to me after twenty-some-odd years of hitting “Save” and not having to search for the “Server” item in a menu.
Sharepoint interrupts workflow for basic things and makes them MUCH more difficult. Moreover, it forces one into a Windows world since it does not play well with any browser but IE.
For advanced things, say, passing a document around to be read by everyone, I suppose it works well. Also for making connections between researchers who work for the same company but don’t know each other? Maybe? I don’t know. I know all the people where I work and know their interests, so those things: workflow, connections, etc, are not necessary for my small organization. And, maybe, if we had reason to make use of those wonderful things, we could overlook the basic suckiness of file management. As it is, it’s like our caluculator broke so we purchased a cotton gin with an abacus attached: we have no use for the largest portion of the purchase, and there are better ways to do the things we actually do need to do.
I don’t know that Drupal would be the best answer for us since we are mostly concerned with the manipulation and sharing of documents in the library world where I work. Google Docs seems a better option.