7 Ways to Improve Microsoft SharePoint Navigation

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Head of Marketing | Business & Technology Advisor

The days of physical maps are gone, in most cases, leaving apps in their place. Essentially, navigating has never been easier. While this means your next road trip is a lot easier, navigating your intranet and digital workplace might not feel as effortless as getting to the destination on your trip.

This is common and multiplies in complexity the larger an organization. Our CTO and Microsoft MVP, Richard Harbridge, recently joined our partner, Omnia, for a webinar where he breaks down the current situation for various users and the top 7 ways to improve navigation in your Microsoft 365 digital workplace.

WATCH THE WEBINAR ON-DEMAND

The 7 Ways to Improve SharePoint Navigation in Your Microsoft 365 Intranet

If you are looking for a deep dive into the 7 ways to improve your navigation, watch the webinar, but in this blog, we will provide a quick overview of what the 7 are and provide a glimpse at how they can improve your navigation.

These 7 include:

Now, let’s take a look at the 7.

Maximizing OOTB

Before needing any customizations or 3rd party solutions, it is important to understand how far OOTB can bring you with the right knowledge and guidance. Of course, this isn’t only true for your navigation options. It is also true for the entire Microsoft 365 stack, but there are a lot of great examples when it comes to navigation.

For example, if you take advantage of layered navigation across menus.

Leverage Less Landing Pages

Instead of creating many pages that end up becoming table of content style pages, cluttered with links, why not try leveraging better navigation. Sure, a remarkable landing page can really ‘wow’ a user, but if there are bombarded with landing pages per department or event, you are likely to tire that ‘wow’ factor out and trade it in for a feeling of ‘just get me where I need to go.’

A robust global navigation menu boosts the user experience and increases the odds of your users finding their way in your intranet, no matter how deep they have plunged. Also, think about how much real estate you will gain back on your pages.

Save information for communication pages in SharePoint and rely on clearer navigation for a smoother user experience.

Manage Sprawl with Directories

Even with a strong global navigation menu, things can still sprawl out of control. Whether you have access to 5, 10 or more than 20 SharePoint sites and teams, you know that navigating them is a challenge for many users. Also, whoever is managing and deploying SharePoint and teams will likely have upward of 100 groups and sites in medium to large organizations. Understanding which ones relate to a department, project, or customer is not only overwhelming but challenging, as well.

That is why you need to be ready for when it happens and proactively avoid it.

Having a tool like our custom directory allows you to gain better visibility across all your workspaces by metadata or attributes. Curated navigation is one of the key reasons a directory experience is beneficial, or in medium to large organizations required for proper management.

For example, with a directory you can clearly see what type of group or site you are dealing with. Does your marketing team have 3 SharePoint sites with the same name? Does your sales team use a tool outside of the Microsoft ecosystem?

Navigate it all easily with a directory experience.

For details on the most important sprawl issues companies are facing, download our eBook.

Advanced Audience Targeting

If your organization is rolling out a lot of news and updates or you have a knowledge hub, you might want to add advanced targeting to facilitate the discovery process.

There are already a number of ways you can target your audience:

  • navigation links
  • news and events
  • quick links
  • dashboard controls
  • much more

Advanced audience targeting goes beyond that. Advanced targeting happens behind the scenes and allows you to create custom experiences for a specific type of user.

However, a downside to advanced targeting is that some users can potentially lose out on interesting links and content they might consider key because your filtering isn’t retrieving all of the content you intended.

Having a main page that pulls up everything can help determine where your filtering may have failed you.

Prioritize Personalization

With so much information to distribute, audience targeting is one way to go, but information is always better when it feels personalized.

Leveraging features like ‘My Feed’ are quick wins for digital workplace navigation.

Also, providing your users agency but allowing them to add links to your digital workplace nav is a definite win for providing audiences with the content and pages they want and leverage most.

Design for Dynamic – Not Static

Nowadays, dynamic pages are something we are used to when we use various applications in our day-to-day. For example, Spotify and YouTube are quick to offer up suggested content, or, in other words, dynamic content that serves up personalized results.

Improve Integration

If you can’t make navigation work for your organization or you are missing that one great feature that will take your digital workplace navigation to new heights, integrating with other applications inside and outside the Microsoft 365 stack will go a long way.

For example, if your organization leverages Planner for task management, integrating Planner insights into the nav allows users to see what’s on their plate, anywhere in your digital workplace.

For great example is integrating or leveraging a third-party tool to produce alerts in your SharePoint Online Intranet can lead to faster reaction time and a more informed workforce.

Navigate to digital workplace success

We get it. The road to better navigation has its share of potholes. Also, your organization has so many people that pleasing everyone may seem like a pipe dream. While the challenge is real, our knowledge and experience are as well.

Contact us to see if we are the right fit to help your organization soar or watch the great on-demand webinar with our partner Omnia to better understand the top 7 ways to improve navigation in your Microsoft 365 digital workplace.

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