ViewPoint: Does SharePoint 2013 suck from an end user point of view?

OK now, SharePoint 2013 is out in the wild but of course not many actually real companies with an existing platform are going to jump in right away. And that makes perfect sense of course. Well, does it suck?

I managed to play with the new version a little while ago and here’s my pretty brief view of it.

Now, there are far more experienced SharePoint experts out there who have given the platform a good going over and have peeked in some detail under the hood. This is my initial view of it as an end user, not a developer or techie guru. I also can’t comment on the social enterprise end of it or any Yammer integration or any web analytics as it wasn’t configured for my demo site. Not much point either as I was the only visitor!

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1.    White space and copying text from Word is much improved (thankfully!).
2.    Picture libraries are simplified and much easier to view photos.
3.    Tables are vastly improved.
4.    Interface and UI obviously changed, simple again and removed much of the first level of UI for the user.
5.    Embed code option though that looks a little too simple for average users.
6.    Adding pictures is much simpler though is there no option to locate from an existing library in the site? It means you have to have your original image and copy the URL. Bit odd but perhaps that has changed.
7.    Format text options are good though this depends on the CSS and styles used for branding and customising the look and feel.
8.    The ribbon is cleaner and comes into view and use much better.
9.    New options in a document library like ‘Shared with’ which shows who has access. Also Sync Library with computer allowing offline workspaces on your PC is more visible than in SP 2010.
10.    ‘New Quick Step’ is interesting. Allows you to create a button on the ribbon for common or custom tasks/actions. This has to be set up in SharePoint Designer though.
11.    Edit library: Not sure about this button. Seems a bit of a cross over with library settings and also needs SharePoint Designer.
12.    Selecting a document is much easier and gives better options. However those options are still scattered in the ribbon and the user might not see them. Should they have had a context menu like a right mouse click to provide those options? Share option button is good but again visibility in the ribbon is difficult to see. And is the default orange button the best Microsoft could come up? The Share option menu is nice, clean and useful.
13.    What are the three dots in the UI … ? I know it is for additional options but that’s poor. Yes there is a tag but really.
14.    Picture library: Slideshow arrows are tiny. Microsoft are taking the minimalist approach a bit too far.
15.    Thumbnail view provides a number of useful options for reviewing individual images but again those three dots are all over the place.
16.    Microsoft didn’t do anything with the survey tool though this was probably to do with not destroying the businesses of a few third party companies but I could be wrong.
17.    No alerts in a document library? Is that right or was it the version I had? RSS feed not useful as such but then again it never was.
18.    Focus on content button? Useful? Not really sure to be honest. SP did suffer from excessive right hand scroll when viewing web part properties in the past so jury is out on that one.
19.    That default blue colour scheme is certainly clean and fresh but of course your own styles can kick in on top of that.

Right, as I said just some observations. I may be wrong in some (so please clarify, PLEASE!).

But is it any good? Well yes of course it is. The UI is much cleaner, there is a brightness and a sharpness to it. Microsoft didn’t spend many millions on it and not make some decent improvements (and there are many). But that’s the way it is with making changes to such a huge platform. A lot doesn’t change but a lot does especially with a beast like SharePoint and a lot of it is in the background and how the platform operates.

I work on an existing 2010 platform and it is highly unlikely it will move to 2013 for at least for 24 months. Why not? Well, 2010 works and it does mostly what it is meant to do (now you could argue about whether SharePoint does what it’s meant to do until the cows come home. But we’ll leave it at that for now). And from a business and an end user perspective getting it to work is what matters most.

Does SharePoint 2013 suck then? No. No it doesn’t.

For an interesting take on finding views in SharePoint 2013, have a look here.

Thanks to SharePoint Hoster for the free demo: http://sharepointhoster.com/