All this talk of IT Pro SharePoint 2016 What’s New and SharePoint 2016 What’s in it for Developers made me decide there really needs to be some messaging for the users. There’s definitely business value in the box, but the usability, performance, and improvements for mobility and integration with everyday life that make a difference when you go try to get users excited about SharePoint 2016. Make sure you’ve put together your list of favorite features for your users when you get ready to tell the business that you want to spend time learning or deploying SharePoint 2016.
App launcher and Site Pages pinning – easily navigate across SharePoint through a consistent global app launcher experience users have become familiar with in Office 365, now for SharePoint 2016. This global navigation will help make certain apps like Yammer, OneDrive, and Delve more of a seamless experience. Can quickly navigate between the cloud or on premise. It’s extensible. Users can pin their own sites or developers can extend apps across Office 365 and on premises. You can also pin any sites to the sites page. Follow sites and their folders are more accessible. They are also easier to get to through the app launcher global navigation previously mentioned.
Simplified Usability – The difficult to use ribbon has been simplified based on Microsoft usability testing for the tools users need most. These simple controls have been integrated into the default UI without having to click to find the ribbon. Image and Video previews now available in libraries by simply hover or click. OneDrive has improved synchronization for taking files offline and for sharing, more on the OneDrive blog. OneDrive has also been enhanced with an easier to access Recycle bin in the left nav.
Keyboard shortcuts are provided for the following document tasks:
Alt + N – New
Alt + E – Edit
Alt + U – Upload
Alt + M – Manage
Alt + S – Share
Alt + Y – Synchronization
Share – Sharing has been added to pages. This sharing experience of simply adding the users that you want to share the page with will automatically be added with permissions. This will simply user permissions as well. It’s a concept that started in OneDrive that’s making it into sites. This sharing behavior also consists of faces along with user friendly names. You may see these features grouped as people focused file storage and collaboration. New invitations and one click approve or deny requests though email.
Large File handling – While most users won’t notice that the 50MB default limit is now possible to go up to 10GB, but for those who have been bothered by the 2GB limit will definitely know due to support for large media, videos etc… Not only do you get larger files, but you also get better support for more files. The popular 5000 item limit is no longer… what is will be is yet to be seen. Farm Admins can still restrict this, so end users may not actually be able to use the new limits.
Character Restrictions Removed – Use any characters you want. Want to use an & or + in the file name. It’s no problem. I see this also along with the features around durable links which is a bonus user feature.
Hybrid Delve – Users previously had to just use Delve in Office 365 to show online files. Now with Cloud Hybrid Search, users can get experiences from data Online or on premises. Users can create boards with items from either environment and across farms.
Unified Search – Users use to have to search both Online and On premises, now in 2016 they can have a united search experience in the native SharePoint 2016 search UI.
Zero Downtime – Some will say Zero Downtime Patching sounds like IT features, but ultimately it’s the users that are getting the benefits of no downtime. No one wants to see emails that say their servers are down for maintenance. Getting 99.99% availability which MS says is possible with SharePoint 2016 is definitely a benefit to users.
Touch Mobile Views – mobile, tablets, desktop the experience. There is talk about Responsive Design, which we are seeing in some areas in the IT preview, more to come I’m sure. The integration of the mobile apps with the new mobile UI is much, much smoother. While the mobile views are much better than they were, I’d really like to see the pages more responsive as well. We are seeing some of this in the preview and other examples such as in Delve and Video Portal. I’d like to see this on the search results page and default home pages of team sites and responsive portals. Remember this is beta. I do believe Microsoft is hearing we want more responsive pages and not just mobile views.
Improved Auditing Compliance and Reporting – The word is auditing and reporting is going to be better. New DLP, Data encryption, improved security for mail transport. You’ll also see features listed as personalized insights. New compliance features for SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview include the document deletion and in-place hold policies. See more on compliance features on TechNet. As well you can read more on encrypted connections. Unified auditing features is another place to look for more information on this. Auditing is really being overhauled as you may see “view auditing” referred to as legacy.
Better Performance – BITS or Background Intelligent Transfer Service is built into the system. There are other areas of the product that also get faster including faster site creation. Faster search.