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SharePoint 2013 - User Experience, User Interface and a ‘Brandable’ Central Administration

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Having been playing around with the preview of SharePoint 2013 for a while now and having blogged a series of articles on individual features and enhancements including SharePoint 2013 search and social features, workflows in SharePoint 2013 and the new SharePoint 2013 App Model, there are so many more improvements that I love. Here are some of the other top features that caught my attention at the first site of SharePoint 2013, related to the SharePoint 2013 user experience, user interface and administration.

The new GUI: SharePoint 2013 adopts Microsoft’s big user interface (Windows 8 Metro) that is easier to use, snazzy, and well, different (in a good way). While there appears to be some uncertainty over the on-going use of the name ‘metro’ to describe its new, radical UI design, there is no doubt that the concept itself will be around for a while. Microsoft are planning to use Metro as the default UI for SharePoint, as well as user tools like Office, Windows, Xbox and mobile devices.

Cleaner messages: With 2013, SharePoint is bringing out a better way to present messages and notifications.

For example:


Is much easier on the eye than:


And even


Is much better than:


‘Brandable’ Central Administration


Yes, you heard/read it right. You can now add branding to even the ‘Ugly’ central administration portal. You will have the same capabilities to include a custom master page, css and images to the central admin site as you would for a publishing portal.

Tablet View

Regular View


Tablet View


Isn’t it cool? Read more on the mobile/tablet view and its benefits in my previous blog about Mobile Browsing in SharePoint 2013.

Drag and Drop documents: Within any document library you can simply drag and drop your documents and files. A simple feature, but I can see it dramatically reducing time taken to add content to SharePoint.


Cleaner and Less Cluttered Ribbon


Easier on the eye context menus

You no longer have to deal with drop downs and weird context menus. SharePoint 2013 bring out much easier to use and better to look at menus which give you appropriate amount of information with the capability to always view more J


Live Doc Preview — By default, there is now a live document preview, not just something you see in search, but available for all documents by default.

Taxonomy Based Navigation — There is now a new way to navigate through a site — using taxonomies based on term stores. You can attach more than one taxonomy to a site, which is good if you want to create navigation for product sections of a website or any navigation that doesn’t follow the site structure.

Security on Term Stores — Want to restrict certain parts of your term store to certain groups? You can do that now by applying permissions to term stores. As this topic is very near and dear to my heart, we’ll provide you a more detailed look at this capability in a later article.

As a closing note, I am really happy that branding has gotten a lift – bigger than anybody imagined probably imagined. May be now users who were not finding SharePoint usable have a change in opinion J. Metro design principles and guidelines have been used to create a cleaner and more responsive user experience.

Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 7:04 AM | Back to top

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