Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Roadmap for Responsive Design and Dynamic Content in SharePoint 2013

Responsive design combined with dynamic user-driven content and mobile first seems to be the main focus everywhere these days. The approach outlined in Optimizing SharePoint 2013 websites for mobile devices by Waldek Mastykarz and his How we did it series show how it can be achieved using SharePoint 2013.

But what if you have thousands of pages with good content that you want make resposive? What approach will you use to adapt all those articles after migrating the content over from SharePoint 2010? This post suggests a roadmap for gradually transforming your static content to become dynamic content.

First of all, the metadata of your content types must be classified so that you know the ranking of the metadata within a content type, so that it can be used in combination with device channel panels and resposive web design (RWD) techniques to prioritize what to show on what devices. This will most likely introduce more specialized content types with more granular metadata fields. All your content will need to be edited to fit the new content classification, at least the most important content you have. By edited, I mean that the content type of articles must be changed and the content adapted to the new metadata; in addition, selecting a new content type will also cause a new RWD page layout to be used for the content. These new RWD page layouts and master pages are also something you need to design and implement, as part of your new user experience (UX) concept.

While editing all the (most important) existing content, it is also a good time to ensure that the content gets high quality tagging according to your information architecture (IA), as tagging is the cornerstone of a good, dynamic user experience provided by term-driven navigation and search-driven content. Editing the content is the most important job here, tagging the content is not required to enable RWD for your pages.

Doing all of this at once as part of migrating to SP2013 is by experience too much to be realistic, so this is my recommended roadmap:

Phase 1
- Focus on RWD based on the new content types and their new prioritized metadata and new responsive master pages and page layouts
- Quick win: revise the search center to exploit the new search features, even if tagging is postponed to a later phase (IA: findability and search experience)
- Keep the existing information architecture structure, and thus the navigation as-is
- Keep the page content as-is, do not add search-driven content to the pages yet, focus on making the articles responsive
- Most time-consuming effort: adapting the content type of all articles, cutting and pasting content within each article to fit the new prioritized metadata structure

Phase 2
- Focus on your new concept for structure and navigation in SP2013 (IA: content classification and structure, browse and navigate UX)
- Tagging of the articles according to the new IA-concept for dynamic structuring of the content (IA: term sets for taxonomy)
- Keep the page content as-is, no new search-driven UX in this phase, just term-driven navigation
- Most time-consuming effort: tagging all of your articles, try scripting some auto-tagging based on the existing structure of the content

Phase 3
- Focus on search-driven content in the pages according to the new concept  (IA: discover and explore UX)
- New routines and processes for authors, approvers and publishers based on new SP2013 capabilities (IA: content contributor experience)
- Most time-consuming effort: tune and tag the content of all your articles to drive the ranking of the search-driven content according to the new concept

Phase 4
- Content targeting in the pages based on visitor profile segmentation, this kind of user-driven content is also search-driven content realized using query rules (and some code)

The IA aspects in the roadmap are taken from my SharePoint Information Architecture from the Field article.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This whole responsive design is slowly becoming a bigger thing than we thought, and we need to notice this and get ahead of the curve. SharePoint 2013 is changing the way our metadata is built, and the roadmap you made is definitely a great help not only to me, but to others who want to create more dynamic content.

Kristofer Mcginty @