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SharePoint Intranet Portal Development: Top Features to Consider

SharePoint is widely accepted as a collaboration tool among the businesses both small and large alike. Some recent studies have shown that 80% of Fortune 500 companies depend on SharePoint for their corporate intranet or collaboration requirements. This is mostly because of the advanced features of SharePoint that allow businesses to customize it for their needs, the out of the box web parts, and the ability to integrate with multiple applications. The solution not only provides an intranet interface but also acts as a collaborative work platform, simplified project management, improved organization-wide communication, and more. It is also ideal for all types of businesses.

Customizing SharePoint for the organization can get tricky sometimes because you must get the employees engaged to the solution otherwise it would be a waste of investment. When you are investing in a solution it is obvious that you should get the most out of that investment. That is why it is important to give importance to the design of the intranet during SharePoint intranet portal development. We have put together some important points to consider in the design of the intranet here, like what features to include and make it more user friendly so that employees will adopt SharePoint and the organization gets the best ROI.

User-Friendly Interface

The Intranet portal needs to be user-friendly for the employees, the user experience is a great factor in adoption rates, better the UX more the people are going to be using it. There are certain features to be on the lookout for while designing the UI in SharePoint Intranet Portal development. An intranet is first and foremost an information hub, so the primary concept in designing the hub should be ease of access. Employees should be able to access the documents they want without having to click through several folders or documents. Certain documents in each department are frequently accessed, if the users have to click through document libraries each time they want to access it, it will become an inconvenience, so it is better to highlight or bring to front these documents so that users can access it instantly.

Design the interface by following the organization branding protocols, use your organization’s logo and colors. This will make users more comfortable working with the intranet. Make use of the out of the box web parts that SharePoint provides to make the interface more interactive, you can use the news web part to highlight the organization’s news and announcements. Use a people web part to highlight important contacts in a department. Several other web parts could be used here to enhance the user experience.

It is important to make sure that you do not pack the interface with web parts and features. Just add only what you need, or something important. If you overcrowd the page with all these web parts it will become hard to work with the portal and it will lose a great deal in User Experience like we said before a good UX constitutes to better adoption rates.

Document Library Structure and Audience Targeting

Document management is one of the key features of SharePoint. During SharePoint intranet portal development, it is essential to decide on the structure of these document libraries. You can create as many document libraries as you want and store them. But it is important to manage these documents, you need a specific design to manage them properly. Well, this is why document tagging is important. Document tagging is the process of associating keywords and phrases with the document at the time of upload. For instance, you can tag a document that belongs to the sales department with the “Sales” keyword, therefore, making it easy to manage. You need to create appropriate fields for these tags in the document libraries at the time of design itself. By following this design, the documents become easily accessible by searching for the users. If you search a keyword or a tag you can see all the related documents to that tag in the search result. When users can easily access documents their productivity and the adoption rate for intranet also increases. You can also create custom views based on these tags, which is a filtered view that leverages these tags.

Audience targeting is another exciting feature introduced by SharePoint, you can set audiences for your pages and documents. Let’s say you have some documents that are meant for the Marketing Team, so you can set the audience for those as the “Marketing Team” and only users in the marketing team will view those.

Document tagging and audience targeting enhance the search capabilities, users can easily search and access documents they need to collaborate on. Streamlining their processes and improving productivity. These document management capabilities also comes in handy when you integrate SharePoint intranet with other SharePoint based enterprise solutions like contract management or project management.

Employee Directory and Wiki Pages

Employee directory is a customized web part that is available in SharePoint that is backed by a product called Microsoft Delve. This web part acts as an employee database, Delve leverages data from your organization’s Active Directory to enable this. Using Delve, you can manage your employees’ work, you can view what the employee is working on and documents they are collaborating on if you go into their Delve profile. In the employee directory, you can see all your organization contacts and search among them to find contact. There are several filter options available here, like department filter, location filter, etc. It would be a great feature if you add this in your design during SharePoint intranet portal development.

Wiki is another feature provided by SharePoint that is used as a site that brings together simple site pages with information related to the organization. You can use these sites to share ideas, information or even to train new hires. It is pretty much like Wikipedia; you can create separate wiki sites for departments. These wiki sites will help you in simplifying access to information. Wiki sites eliminate the need for word documents, storing this in word documents might become a little hard to manage, but with a wiki, you can avoid all that. A wiki can help the organization in collecting and capturing institutional knowledge, assemble content from numerous sources, and share plans and ideas. Including this in your intranet design will help the users to a great extent. Microsoft has defined specific permission settings and other details for the wiki on their support website. In conclusion, when developing a SharePoint intranet portal, you need to give the greatest importance to the design of the intranet portal. You can make use of all these tips and tricks to make it more interactive. Several other SharePoint features are not listed here that could be used in the design, make an assessment about the line of work at your organization, and decide on what features you need on your intranet portal. You can always seek assistance from professionals who have hands-on experience in SharePoint and SharePoint Intranet portal development. These professionals will help you decide on your requirements and you could get the best out of the intranet solution you adopt.


Adarsh D