SharePoint HomePage Dashboard Suggestions

Somebody asked in the Microsoft forums today and I figured I would share my answer here in case it helped someone along the way.

The Question

Anyone have any thoughts on what kind of content is good for a corporate SharePoint portal home page? The following are some things I can things of:

  • Company News (or News)
  • Company Calendar
  • List of Site Collection or Sites current user can access to
  • Useful links

Any input is appreciated.

My Answer

Hey there,

First off, it’s always difficult to manage *how much* content to display on a homepage/dashboard as you can quickly smother users with information as well. So, while I have a number of suggestions below, pay careful attention to defining a ‘top 10’ list perhaps of those that are important and those that maybe could be placed somewhere else. In fact, on my company’s home page, there is very little there so as not to overwhelm – but what is there are icons/links to other dashboards where one can get more information. For example, if you wanted to list the weather on the home page, if your company exists in one location – fine, but the weather on the home page. But if your company stretched across 6 different cities, consider instead having an icon for “Weather” that takes the folks to another web part page where you display the weather for all regions there, etc.

It’s all about managing the screen real estate. And to that effect, you may want to look at Christophe Humberts ‘Easy Tabs’ as a way to show more, in less space. In fact, I blogged about his latest effort in Version 5 here, with some examples of home pages and content that was included and manipulated – /archive/2010/07/27/easy-tabs-rock-v5-beta-is-solid.aspx.

Now, on to your list of items to consider (Again, don’t bloat, be specific). By the way, I call these “anchors” – as in anchors to draw folks to keep coming back to your portal/intranet as we need to continue to encourage staff to go to that one place (SharePoint) where they can catch a glimpse of what is due today, this week and what is going on with the company – email stinks for that.

Suggested Anchors:

  • Submit Feedback – to me, this is the most important one. You want your portal to be successful and for people to come back. So you should “listen” to them. Provide a form they can fill out with questions like “what would you like to see here or how can we improve the home page?” And be *Prompt* to thank them for the comments and if the idea has merit, incorporate it quickly.
  • The Weather
  • Fun stuff – Dilbert daily comic, other reasons to not necessarily make the portal all about business
  • Lunch Menu – if you are in a large company and have a cafeteria, provide a link to the lunch specials. At one client, that is BY FAR the most popular link on their site ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Search
  • Company Mission
  • Employee Responsibilities
  • Links to important tools such as gotomeeting/livemeeting login information
  • Clickable Site Map (graphical display of your Intranet as many users will not understand how SharePoint navigates)
  • Announcements (or better yet, use a blog and Word as the blog editor and show the 5 latest blog/news posts on the home page)
  • Say “hi”. SharePoint will show the name, but consider greeting them with a “good morning, good afternoon”, instead
  • Date/Time
  • Stock Ticker
  • Latest company press releases
  • Industry News Feed
  • Need Help?
  • Link: Corporate Policies and Procedures

Rotating Features:

For some random content, that changes daily or on each page view, consider:

  • About Department X
  • Meet Sean, our new Marketing Directory (complete with picture and short bio, contact info)
  • Event Center

Hope that helps get you rolling.