Awwwards
Blog

A place where we talk SharePoint, web design, inspirations, trends and everything in between.

Tag Archives: SharePoint

Top 20 Examples of Creative Navigation within SharePoint

With the launch of SharePoint 2010, I thought it might be fitting to start focusing on the design and branding element of SharePoint and show the world what can be done when you are thinking of being creating with the product.

Leading on from that I am doing to launch a series of Top 20’s ranging from search box examples , navigation examples and my favourite sites all based on the platform of SharePoint.

So to start the series off I am going to start with my Top 20 Examples of Creative Navigation, with a brief summary of why I like it. They are in no particular order and are the opinion of myself. Enjoy.

So then, let the showcase commence…

1. Carbon Trust

I really like the font they have used for starters and I think the hover state with the reverse colour is effective combined with the immediate show of the sub navigation, which has a subtle fade for the potential white-on-white scenario.

http://www.carbontrust.co.uk

————————————————————————————————————————————————

2. BSG Blog

I love this Silverlight navigation, orbiting around home/earth button is really cool. I always love the little touches of the shooting star, UFO that flies across and the twinkle of stars that happens every now and again. All in all and unique and very creative navigation that can be achieved with the combination of SharePoint and Silverlight.

http://blogs.bsg.co.uk

————————————————————————————————————————————————

3. Linklaters

I really like big and bold navigation as it is one of most important elements of any website – clear navigation. Looking at it now as a little picture your eyes are drawn to the logo and navigation instantly. This navigation uses drop down menu functionality with combined with the purple arrow and purple text in hover state just polishes is clean and simple example.

http://www.linklaters.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

4. Central Ohio Technical College

One good way to gain your users attention is the use of animation. Too much can be overpowering and annoying but used subtly it can be a great way to get them clicking. This navigation I like because I did just that, I was hovering over all the menu options over and over, the animation is smooth and colourful.

http://www.cotc.edu

————————————————————————————————————————————————

5. Hyder Consulting

Something a bit different in terms of layout, on top of a large photo, which sometimes can make navigations lost within the background. One way to counter this is using a large navigation which I this site does well, combined with white text in hover state in the line of sight with the logo and search area, this site navigation works.

http://www.hyderconsulting.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

6. Victorinox

The use of the burgundy background with the white navigation as well as the capitalisation of lettering works really effectively and even more so when reversed on the hover state. Leading on from this, the sub menu and the active menu state still using the reverse color of white background and burgundy hover state on the submenu polishes off this example perfectly.

http://www.victorinox.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

7. Arts & Auto

I really like colour-categorised navigation, it is a simple way to break up and easily identify content within sections on your website. Not only have they done this and have incorporated a dropdown / sub menu with some navigation, in which when cooked together they’ve baked a nice piece of animation with a nice design.

http://www.artsenauto.nl

————————————————————————————————————————————————

8. Hyro

Sometimes when you have a clean site you don’t need to use a graphically heavy navigation. Also using a clean and crisp navigation can really complement a design, which this site does and does well. Not over the top, no animation just simple text with a simple hover state that of an underline. Simples

http://www.hyro.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

9. Sdu Uitgever

Not my favourite of navigation examples but I think it is important to demonstrate something different and with that I respect. One thing all creative designers should be looking to do is think outside of the box and this navigation does.

http://www.sdu.nl

————————————————————————————————————————————————

10. SharePoint HQ

What I particularly like about this is the combination of colour palette (I love those blues), the animation and the bottom-right gradient they have used. Also what I think is good to recognise is the contrast of the menu with the background it sits on, creating enough contrast to make the user experience seamless without looking out of place.

http://www.sharepointhq.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

11. Lutron

Having a site with a large navigation structure can be tricky to present in a clean and clear way, which isn’t busy and cluttered. This site does this perfectly! It is well presented and even incorporates a little bit of content in the sub menu pane. The only thing I think ruins, what could be a lovely example, is the animation for the sub menu pane, I think it very ‘choppy’ and quite violent on the eyes going from a brown palette in their photography then to be presented with a white background instantly. My opinion is that a nice piece of fade in/out animation would be perfect here.

http://www.lutron.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

12. Central Ohio Technical College

Similar to Central Ohio Technical College further up, this is animating up instead of to the right, BUT with a little twist not only does this navigation animated up it also changes the image below based on what you option you have decided to hover over. Although it is flash and I think that it is cheating to use a flash menu on a SharePoint site, I like it and it is my blog so I will include! but this will be the only one I promise! I would like to think that CCB have used flash to tap into a list to power their navigation, if they have then then I suppose that’s a decent compromise.

http://www.ccb.pt

————————————————————————————————————————————————

13. Ferrari

If there is one colour that goes with a strong and vibrant color like red it is grey and in particular gun metal grey, one of my favourites. What I think makes this navigation really cool is that use of imagery on the drop down boxes to emphasis the area you are in and could head over to, I also like the animation that is used just tops off the whole navigation.

http://www.ferrari.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

14. Safe Network

First thing I noticed on this navigation was the shadow that is used on the right/bottom of the drop down which really gives the sub menu definition. With a site that used big, bold colours the navigation supports this really well. I also like the way the top header and navigation sit on top of the image slider/view that is used behind the site.

http://www.safenetwork.org.uk

————————————————————————————————————————————————

15. Rado

Sometimes you just need to go back to the basics! The brand for this site is clearly black and white, using this they have kept their navigation simple, but with a twist. Using the sub menu they have added the functionality of when you hover over the different options you are presented with a visual representation, in this case a picture of the watch based on the what model you hover on. A perfect example of simplicity works.

http://www.rado.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

16. Goodman

One thing I like is trying something different! Clever navigation based on their logo the ‘+’ (plus) sign really works well. Instantly identifiable with the logo you cant help but notice that Goodman use a + as there logo. Going back to the navigation you are clearly presented with 5 options which takes you to various areas. Once in those areas they use a standard navigation you see everywhere, shame really as their initial navigation is cool.

http://www.goodman.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

17. Cox

This is a common trend I have seen where people use the navigation to tell people the sections they will be clicking on them and underneath what the section is about. It can be used really effectively sometimes but also can become a very busy as well on the flip side. Just wish they had a mute button for the woman…

http://www.coxhelpcenter.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

18. Embark

Sometimes you didn’t even need to use the conventional horizontal or vertical navigation. This site shows us you can use a search interface to get around your site however I will always put my money on that people prefer the normal way of navigation as that is what people are used to. But I think it is a good example of what can be done especially with the search capabilities within SharePoint.

http://www.embark.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

19. Neudesic

What I want you to focus on here is the use of the ‘house’ icon for the home button. First time I have seen this on a SharePoint site and it is a really good way to free up a bit of space if needed and is instantly recognisable as the button to click to go ‘home’.

http://www.neudesic.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

20. 1 By Youth

Another example of pushing the boundaries of navigation with SharePoint is using the overwhelming power of CSS. Using the hover state and mixed with an image for the background you can instantly create a unique hover experience for your navigation as demonstrated here.

http://www.1byyouth.com

————————————————————————————————————————————————

Well there you have it! Some great examples of all the different possibilities of what can be achieved with SharePoint. I would be really keen to see what other sites out there with cool and quirky navigations, so feel free to share!

The SharePoint User Group – Why you should attend

Before I started working for myself the thought of doing out of hours work, attending meetings or even a conference was something that would make me gasp – “what?! continue working after the hours of 5pm, I think not”. Now I do work for myself and my attitude has taken a complete turnaround and as a by product has made me a better person and I will tell you why I think that.

I had a look at what the word ‘community’ meant –
com·mu·ni·ty – a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars.

One particular bit stood out to me – “group sharing a common interest” – in this case the particular interest is Microsoft SharePoint. I have been attending these user groups for 2 years now all over the UK in Manchester, Wolverhampton, Leicester, Nottingham to name but a few and I can safely say that when I return home from a meeting I have either made a new contact, discussed something new with someone and most important then, I have learnt something new and/or shared something learnt. The last part of sentence is what sums these groups up – learning something new and/or shared something learnt.

So what is a user group?

This is a question that I do get asked a lot, when I talk about the SUGUK and when I get asked I see it as an opportunity to tell the person how great and invaluable these sessions are. In a nutshell the SharePoint User Group is a meeting that is held after hours that gives the opportunity to people to talk about all aspects of SharePoint with like minded people.

A meeting would last around 2 and a half hours with the common set up usually having two speakers with 1 hour slots talking about a particular area of SharePoint that could range from administrator to development all the way over to configuration & design. Half way through there is a break where food and drinks are put on for free usually by the company that is kindly donating the meeting room or area that the session are presented in – yes for free, you read correctly. Once the sessions are wrapped up the common custom is to head to the nearest public house for a SharePint – the term coined by Daniel McPherson and evolved by Andrew Connell for sharing a alcoholic beverage with the SharePoint twist. Even then it doesn’t stop there because sometimes there is even a ShareCurry – I think that one is self explanatory.

So why should you attend?

Ever been stuck with something? ever opened up that browser typed in the search engine URL and entered in your SharePoint related problem, query or error message – the results you will be presented with were probably written by a SharePoint expert of some sort who, chances are, is a community member. The idea is putting back in to the community what you take out. Putting back in could be anything, it could be blog posts that is highlighted on the SUGUK website, it could be a 1hour session or could be just attending to keep the sessions worthy of a repeat – everything helps continue the community and the development of the product.

What you also get from these meetings is exposure to all walks of SharePoint life from server configuration all the way to design and branding then taking a left turn at development life cycles and security. Delivered through the variety of session (prepared in the presenters spare time) that are on offer you can get as much or as little as you wish from them, some sessions are very specific and deep dive into a particular area then others are very overview and skimming the surface. You get the chance to talk to people that specialise in there chosen field whether it be through open question and answer session, a chat over some pizza at break or at the SharePint that follows it’s a chance to ask your burning question to people that know what they are talking about such as Microsoft Valued Professionals (MVP) – we even have some guest speakers from over seas!

Who helps run there user groups?

First of all the session are chosen from the community – sessions, ideas and suggestions are put out there for people to comment on what they to see. The sessions can be presented by anyone who feels they want to share something with the community. if could be for an hour, it could be for 15 minutes – what ever you are comfortable with. There is however one rule – no business endorsement, selling or sponsorship – it it purely community helping itself, so you wont get business trying to shove their new products down your throat. The sessions are regular with up to 2 to 3 sessions a week sometimes, held all over the UK and are managed by regional leaders. But the most important people there are the people attending to listen, because the more people turn up the more sessions can be held and it makes the nights worthwhile. Also did I mention that the sessions are free to attend – yes you read correctly again they are free!

What will I get out of it?

Help, knowledge, best practice, guidance, tips, tricks, how-tos, other peoples experiences, new tools, new features and what is coming up in the world of SharePoint are just a few of the potential things you can take away from the user groups. It is a great opportunity to network, speak to people potentially doing or have done what you are trying to achieve in your business and even if it is none of the previous its a chance to have a nice pint at the end of it – can’t go wrong really.

How do I sign up and get involed?

If you want to attend then head over to the SUGUK website to find out more information in the forums about what sessions are coming up and all you simple do is sign up by posting saying exactly that. If you would like to speak at a session whether it be something to do with a project you’ve delivered or maybe a tale from the trenches on something that was a nightmare and how you go through it – the community is keen to hear. All you need to do is speak to the regional leaders and they will be happy to discuss further.

Summary

The sessions are there to help people that are interested in SharePoint. The sessions are presented by experts from people who love the product all the way to SharePoint MVP’s down to the people who are just getting to grips with SharePoint. The session are prepared and presented in peoples spare time and in return they ask for people to continue to attend and help build up this already strong community. There is no pressure to get involved if you feel happy sitting a listening then fine, if you want to present and do a session or look to become a regional leader then even better – the choice is yours.

Information about the SharePoint User Group can be found at the official website.

Now the reason I think it has made me a better person is simple – being passionate about something and wanting that something to continue to keep that passion – David Brent once said – “There should be no ego when pulling together to do something good” but then again he said “I’ve created an atmosphere where I’m a friend first, boss second. Probably entertainer third.” – so I wouldn’t take the quotes I have used to seriously but hopefully you will get the idea!!

Thanks for reading.

SharePoint User Group UK Meeting – Nottingham

On Thursday, 14th January I am doing my first presentation for the SUGUK in Nottingham at Intelligent Decisioning Ltd head quarters in Strelley, Nottingham. I am doing a small session on SharePoint Design & Branding, a little show and tell and my thought process when doing design and branding. The session is called Making SharePoint Beautiful – I hope you can all make it.

The user group kicks off with Penny Coventry who will kicking off with “Branding SharePoint Sites: Using the browser and SharePoint Designer 2007/2010”, which will cover what is possible with 2007 in terms of design and a little sneak peek into SharePoint Design 2010.

After myself I will be followed by Nikki Ashington on Accessbility.

Also here a little bit of trivia for you. Nikki was who got me into SharePoint design when she was on site at my previous employment  as a design consultant – so she is to blame 🙂

UPDATE – here is the write up of the event, really good feedback for the event – http://macraem.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/suguk-nottingham-14th-january-2010/

SharePoint Conference 2009 – Vegas

SharePoint Conference 2009

Between 19th and 22nd of October, I am off to Las Vegas to attend the SharePoint Conference! With over 15000 minutes of SharePoint talk I am going to be coming back having absorbed it all and ready to go with 2010.

Talking of 2010 this is the chance to see the latest version of SharePoint – something I cant wait to see!

I am really looking forward to the conference, seeing the bright lights of Vegas and meeting some of the online people I talk to such as Marcy Keller, Heather Soloman, Mike Watson (again) and all the other design people that share their love for SharePoint!

Hope to see you all there! SharePints all round!

Squashed SharePoint site when viewing Properties in Edit Mode

I have finally found a fix to a really annoying bug in SharePoint that squishes my site when I have edited a Web Part!

In side the SharePoint master page everything is set to Height:100% – EVERYTHING, even I feel I am set to Height:100% when I have finished looking at the damn code! Removing these can cause all kinds of hidden issues so my rule of thumb is if CSS can bully in line styles then let it go to town them!

The problems crop up when you want to add a custom footer that combined with a small resolution causes this…

squashed

As you can see this isn’t very user friendly and looks pretty poor. Well I used my trusty tool set of web apps to find out the cause and hopefully a fix and I feel I have found one. If you use this line of CSS code in your style sheets it will increase the height of the properties pane on the right hand side.

#MSO_tblPageBody {
 height:500px !important;
}

This is the fix I have found which has worked for me – if anyone knows a better one or an improvement on mine then feel free to share!

Customising the Content Query Web Part list results

Example of Read More Links

The CQWP is a fantasic webpart my only two annoyances are that you can only do 3 rules on the filtering and the second is that the results are a bit rubbish in terms of styling, look and feel.

There are two ways you can customise these results. First way is to put a DIV wrapper around the results and style them that way which is ok when you want to do text styling such as color change, style and padding which you can see in the orange box. You can do this by using the styles below but remember – you need to put a DIV wrapper around the Web Part Zone and/or Web Part.

#blogbox .link-item,
#blogbox .link-item a:link,
#blogbox .link-item a:visited,
#blogbox .link-item a:active
{
color:#990000;
font-family:arial;
font-size:1.15em;
font-weight:bold;
}

When looking into this I first tried to style the A tag that is used for the TITLE which read ‘New version of Free2Teach launched’ which worked ok until there was a long title line that wrapped around and underneath. This caused it to visually break and look poor. I then thought I am going to have to do this properly if I want to do it!

What I did was very very simple, I started by opening up ItemStyle.xsl inside the XSL Style Sheets within the Style Library. Next I took a copy of this file (very important!) and then added the following below. I set the template name to ‘ReadMoreLink’ so I could remember it when selecting it in the CQWP settings.

<xsl:template name=”NewLinkDefault” match=”Row[@Style=’NewLinkDefault’]” mode=”itemstyle”>
        <xsl:variable name=”SafeLinkUrl”>
            <xsl:call-template name=”OuterTemplate.GetSafeLink”>
                <xsl:with-param name=”UrlColumnName” select=”‘LinkUrl'”/>
            </xsl:call-template>
        </xsl:variable>
        <xsl:variable name=”SafeImageUrl”>
            <xsl:call-template name=”OuterTemplate.GetSafeStaticUrl”>
                <xsl:with-param name=”UrlColumnName” select=”‘ImageUrl'”/>
            </xsl:call-template>
        </xsl:variable>
        <xsl:variable name=”DisplayTitle”>
            <xsl:call-template name=”OuterTemplate.GetTitle”>
                <xsl:with-param name=”Title” select=”@Title”/>
                <xsl:with-param name=”UrlColumnName” select=”‘LinkUrl'”/>
            </xsl:call-template>
        </xsl:variable>
        <xsl:variable name=”LinkTarget”>
            <xsl:if test=”@OpenInNewWindow = ‘True'” >_blank</xsl:if>
        </xsl:variable>
        <div id=”linkitem” class=”item”>
            <div class=”link-item”>
             <xsl:call-template name=”OuterTemplate.CallPresenceStatusIconTemplate”/>    
                <a href=”{$SafeLinkUrl}” target=”{$LinkTarget}” title=”{@LinkToolTip}”>
                    <xsl:value-of select=”$DisplayTitle”/>
                </a>
                <a href=”{$SafeLinkUrl}” target=”{$LinkTarget}” title=”{@LinkToolTip}” class=”readmorelink”>
                  read more
                </a>

            </div>
        </div>
    </xsl:template>

What I have simply done is coped the full A reference and copied it underneath and set the class to ‘readmorelink’ and added the following css to my style sheet and it should work 🙂

.readmorelink {
display:block;
text-indent:-9999px;
background:transparent url(‘../Images/ergoimages/readnewsitem.jpg’) top left no-repeat;
color:#666666;
margin:10px 0 0 0 !important;
padding:0;height:27px;
font-family:arial;
font-size:1.15em;
font-weight:bold;
}

Adding Custom Styles to the RichTextEditor (RTE) in SharePoint

SharePoint Rich Text Editor

Whilst doing some branding work for a client I was asked ‘can we have different text colors’. I instantly thought of hours of HTML teaching and had visions of brightly coloured pages illuminating fire red, yellow and radioactive greens! So what I needed to do was lock it down so the client can dictate the colors but the users can set them.  The best way to do this is give them a selection of custom styles they can use for titles that are outside of the standard h1, h2 & h3 that are set.

.ms-rteCustom-CustomStylesh1 { color: #990000; font-size:3em;font-weight:bold;}
.ms-rteCustom-CustomStylesh2{ color: #666666;font-size:2em;font-weight:bold; }
.ms-rteCustom-CustomStylesh3{ color: #cccccc;font-size:1em;font-weight:bold; }

The way it works it by adding .ms-rteCustom-NEWSTYLENAME the RTE will pick up this style and will insert the desired styling.

Learning Gateway Conference & the logos

lglogo

Just a reminder that the Learning Gateway Conference is on the 15th July at The Belfrey in Birmingham. The conference is being held by Richard Willis and Alex Pearce and is design for people using innovative technologies within the education sector. I am not primarily based in the education sector but I do have a keen interest in getting students on board and I love testing out my ideas on them!

I hope you all take a look look at the SharePoint’y style logo I designed for them 🙂

If you want more information on the event then check out Alex Pearce’s blog – http://vspug.com/ajp/2009/06/22/but-i-m-a-business-why-should-i-attend-the-learning-gateway-conference/

Hope to see you there!

JavaScript Error when Moving WebParts in a CSS and DIV’d up MasterPage

Helpful errors

I spent a lot of time trying to put SharePoint in a nice place where it could flourish without being bullied by other sites that conform to accessibility standards. So you can probably understand my anger when I discovered that my new masterpage and css broke the drag and drop functionality.

When in Edit Mode, you try and drag and drop a WebPart from one WebZone to another it ill throw up a Javascript Error and the functionality wont work. Even though this functionality only works in IE it does present a customer use problem.

At first I used Neil Mosafi’s solution of using his JavaScript fix, at first it worked but I saw it only worked periodically, so the problem still existed.  I searched and I searched and found nothing. I then looked at using the CSS to control the problem which I believe is that the webparts don’t exist now because they are divs and not tables (?)

I’m not a techy so I tend not to delve into the problems as much as they do, I just look at why it doesn’t work and what is the easiest fix.

body {
margin: 5px;
padding: 0;
text-align: center;
font-family:Arial;
font-size:62.5%;
background:#ffffff;
position:relative;
}

I found adding Position:Relative to the body fixes this, I tried doing this on all the WebPart TD tags but it didn’t work and it got tiresome and annoying, I have found that this has worked but SharePoint being SharePoint it doesn’t wondering unexplained things, so time will tell if this has really fixed the problem.

SharePoint Design vs. SharePoint Design

Good Versus Evil - Obama vs Darth Vader

Over the last couple of weeks my phone has been rather busy. Something I have started to notice is either the poor understanding of recruitment consultants or the lack of differentiation between SharePoint Design (branding) and SharePoint Design (architecture).

The differences are very obvious in my eyes and even more obvious in the job role. SharePoint design and branding is the front end UI, branding and layout design. SharePoint architecture design is the logical design of the SharePoint deployment that of which is MOSS, MySites etc.

Do we need to be clearer on this or do we need to educate people in recruitment? I am starting to see a few people on Twitter doing this as well and I think its important to make the differentiation because it doesnt help designers like myself when trying to justify to clients that front end design is as, if not more important and a working system.

Thoughts?

awards & recognition
PinkPetrol on awwwards.com PinkPetrol on webguruawards.com PinkPetrol on cssdesignawards.com PinkPetrol on csswinner.com PinkPetrol on csslight.com PinkPetrol on Find Web Agency