SharePoint Branding and Design Matters

Post Date: 03/12/2018
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The Importance of SharePoint Branding and Design

The launch of modern SharePoint experiences including modern team sites, communication sites, modern lists and libraries, and hub sites bring a refreshed look and beauty to SharePoint. Classic SharePoint experiences such as publishing sites and classic team sites left room from improvement, yet SharePoint upgrades often made branding customizations difficult to migrate when they were executed without the proper expertise and foresight.

This caused many to wonder if branding could be skipped, if branding could be ignored. I have learned over years of SharePoint projects that branding SharePoint to match your organizational culture, when done the right way, is often the make it or break it feature driving user adoption. Let’s be real, just because you build it does not mean they will come.  And if they come, it does not mean they will stay. This holds true with modern SharePoint experiences as well. Although the options are limited, investing time to design and brand SharePoint your way will pay off. 

Branding Promotes User Adoption  

Just like any successful brick and mortar business, a company’s digital workspace must attract users, make them feel at home, and encourage them to stick around. Without thoughtful design, a portal can look like a “default” page, which sends a message to your users. A default pages means, “Look elsewhere, the information you need is not here.” 

Delighting users with thoughtful design engages and captivates them, which directly correlates to user adoption. “Build it and they will come,” simply doesn’t apply in the digital world. You must consciously build SharePoint solutions to be useful, effective, and enjoyable, and THEN they will come and stick around. Branding and design must support and enhance a thoughtful user experience. Empathetic design and familiar patterns (UI elements that match the company brand) also make the interface easier to use.   

Branding Communicates Engagement and Consistency 

Branding and design choices inform the user of the main purpose of the site by communicating the company culture through its style. For example, a site with vibrant colors, and playful fonts and iconography, could entice the users to engage with more spirit than a site with a muted color palette, san serif fonts, and hard lines.  

As the workplace continues to change, and more and more of us find ourselves working remotely we begin to feel isolated. An effectively branded portal can create a sense of cohesion that builds comradery, culture, and community. Consistency also grounds the company, which can be crucial in the ever-changing world of business, culture, and technology. Consistency throughout the organization, from the external brand to the internal brand both matter. The nostalgia that comes from brand recognition plays a key role in building a strong foundation for your organization.   

Branding Matters 

Branding and design have a tremendous impact on the way your users interact with your portal. Branding promotes a sense of ownership, making the portal feel like it’s theirs. Through proper use of design, you can attract your users to your portal and make them feel confident and comfortable that they have arrived at a destination with answers. Good design directs your users to use the portal the way that you intend them to, helping them do their job more efficiently—a win-win for everyone.  

Have you found that branding and design matters? What success have you had convincing decision makers that investment in the user interface matters? What roadblocks have you encountered? Drop a line in the comments below or connect with me on LI/Twitter to offer your comments.  

Want to learn more about how design and branding can directly impact your users’ experience? Check out this recent blog outlining UX/UI penned by one of our designers at PixelMill.  

Eric Overfield is a Microsoft Regional Director, A Microsoft MVP, and President and Cofounder of PixelMill, a digital workspace leader in enterprise UI/UX design and development specializing in building customized communication & collaboration portals and sites utilizing Office 365, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and Azure.

View all post by Eric Overfield
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