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Upgrading your website and portal to SharePoint 2013 provides access to various new features and capabilities which require your consideration. In addition, an upgrade is the perfect opportunity to review and refresh your sites, we put together this guide to explain the changes and provide suggestions on how to make your sites even better.
Encouraging users to adopt collaboration tools, particularly a portal, is not an easy task, nor is it achieved overnight. We've put together an adoption guide to help you get the full value of your portal. While, there are many strategies to encourage use, an upgrade is the the perfect opportunity time to undertake a simple content review.
Your current portal likely may have some empty content areas and, like a garden, it needs tending! Getting users to return after they see sites that’s are blank or not being maintained is extremely difficult. You need to ensure a focus only on content which exists, is relevant, and will be actively maintained. Consider removing anything else until you are ready to use or maintain it.
This doesn't need to be an involved process; In 15 minutes you can easily identify areas which fit the above criteria. The fastest and safest approach is to simply hide stale content from the navigation; If you make a mistake nothing has been removed. If you prefer to delete the content, sites and list can be restored easily from the Recycle Bin for up to 30 days. Time and again this simply activity helps to encourage use when they see a fresh and streamlined site.
If the changes are consistent across your sites we can quickly apply them to all sites (using your your support hours).
While much of the features and functionality remain the same in SharePoint 2013 there are changes which you may feel the need to communicate to your users. You can review our online user guides for more information and what to expect in SharePoint 2013. While not typically necessary, if you feel additional training would be valuable please get in touch.
Teacher Sites (Portal)
Teacher sites, first developed by Scholantis for SharePoint 2007, are no longer available in SharePoint 2013. All content should be migrated to newly created class sites in the My Site. If you require help identifying actively used teacher sites or migrating content please get in touch. We can provide a summary of teacher sites, site owners, content and last modified information.
Templates & New Features
You’ll notice that we not only migrate your sites but also extensively retrofit and upgrade your content to take advantage of our new features and templates. You’ll see new features such as the school finder on the district website, or the new schools directory, or contact pages with a map for each location.
The new templates make it easy to create great looking, mobile friendly sites. Our templates won't always be as flexible and customised as something you built specifically for your own needs; You'll need to consider which content you want to keep. Where you had existing content, such as a list of schools on the district website, we’ve left it untouched and added templates alongside.
As you'll see we've tried to make it as easy as possible to adopt these new features and pre-configure them for you so there's nothing for you to do. Below is a summary of the new features and templates and how we typically implement them during upgrade.
Schools List & Finder
The school list provides a categorized list of schools and incorporates, the name, logo, website link and other important school information.
Typically we add and pre-populate these features to the district website's schools area and the school finder to the district home page (if appropriate).
The directory displays a list of sub-sites in the current area of the site. By default it displays two levels of sites which provides an overview of an area and allows quick navigation to deep content. It also includes easy buttons to create new content and modify the sites listed.
Typically we add this feature to any top level sections of your sites which currently have no existing content.
The User Directory loads information direct from Active Directory, they are great way to make to provide up to date contact information with minimal effort. They are also a great resource for staff on portal sites.
Typically we add and pre-configure this feature on all portals and websites in an appropriate location. On the website we set the role to blank so they no information is exposed until you review the feature and decide what to display.
Categorised Links (Departments, Schools, Forms)
We've provided a simple easy to use list to display links organised by type. You'll find this useful in various situations such as providing a list of schools, departments or forms. It includes easy buttons to quickly add or edit the items.
Typically we add and pre-populate this feature on your portal's school, department and forms pages.
Example: https://portal2013demo.scholantis.com/Schools/ (demo login required)
A specialized page layout which provides an easy way to present contact information for the district or a school. It also includes a contact form to make contact the district or schools easy, it also incorporates a CAPTCHA to prevent spam.
Typically we add and pre-configure this feature on all district and school websites. The content or page layout can be easily changed by editing the page. The longitude, latitude and zoom level can be easily modified, use the Edit Site Info link in the footer.
Final Thoughts & More Resources
You may also want to review some other important improvements and changes: