5 Simple Steps to Maximize SharePoint Usability – “Modernify” Your Classic SharePoint Sites

Have you been just living with the classic SharePoint UI and waiting for the right moment to change?  Maybe you have switched your site, but many of the others you are using have been switched.  The Modern UI/UX has been out for some time, but it’s confusing where some lists are classic and others modern… Let’s stop the madness…  It’s time.  It’s taken more than a year to be embraced fully, and has gone through a TON of A/B testing by Microsoft by simply allowing users to willy nilly turn it on for themselves.  There are a half dozen ways users can turn on a list or turn off a list, but imagine you’re now ready to go.  Let’s do it!

 

Why Stay Classic?

1. More flexibility in master pages and custom look and feel including custom UI/UX

2. Embedding of custom actions in the ribbon of your SharePoint site and alternate CSS on publishing sites.

3. Content in Modern webparts is not reusable

Why Go Modern?

1. Modern SharePoint Development in SharePoint Framework – SPFx

2. Drag and Drop Documents with the cool modern libraries

3. Drag and Drop Metadata and groupings

4. Pinning and the new Property and search tabs

Note: Personally I’m recommending if you are planning on sticking with a simple out of the box experience for your sites that are ok with basic look and feel, you should switch to Modern.  As well, Ideally if you are going to change.  You should change for everything except for maybe your Intranet or Publishing type sites.

During an upgrade or migration where you’re moving out of custom look and feel into something built on Modern UI, you shouldn’t be worried, but if the site already looks really custom and is already in O365 you should be more cautious.

 

Modernify SharePoint

 

 

Enable Modern Lists for all Lists and Libraries in the UI.

 

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Using Powershell Enable Modern Lists

If you want to enable it on specific Sites, you can use powershell.  Build your own powershell based on the instructions include a sample of doing it for one, but you can loop through or pull from a list.   “Switch the default experience for lists or document libraries from new or classic”

 

Troubleshooting

If you are having problems with the list experience not showing the way it should, you can clear your cookies which may be forcing the classic experience otherwise indicates to use the new experience UI. The article states to clear all cookies, but I found I only needed to clear the cookies related to my SharePoint site. I was not able to figure out which cookie specifically needs to be cleared.  The name of the cookie is “spInu” with a value of 0. Deleting that one will restore the modern UI without having to clear all cookies.  As an example if it works in one browser and not the other… this could be why.

 

More info on why.

 

Now let’s make the pages Modern

First your lists should be made modern using either the powershell or admin UI to switch the list experience.

The Site Pages Library must be in the “New Experience” then create a “new page,” make it the way you want it like a Communication Site or Team site with the Hero Webpart or Activity Web part then select the page and from the top menu options click on the 3 dots and select “Make homepage”.

Search-First Approach to SharePoint 2013/2016 Migration Infographic

I’m working on a strategy paper on the Search-First approach to migrating or upgrading SharePoint.  I see three big phases to this approach.  The first is building out the brand new ultimate farm, the SharePoint farm that provides enterprise search.  Many may decide that this first state should also provides profiles and also may provide the new OneDrive to also get people started with SharePoint.  Those who previously deployed my sites, may wait for phase 2 for that.  I’ll be providing more detail in the paper on these phases and a few recommendations on the strategy.  Love to get feedback from those who have approached the upgrade and migration in this manner.

Those that are planning an upgrade SharePoint on prem should consider a search-first migration.  The Search-First approach to migration assumes you want to get started, and you are willing to invest in separate infrastructure for SharePoint 2013 Search and leave your existing farm alone for some period of time with the idea of indexing that content with the new farm.  This approach allows organizations to benefit from the improved functionality and user experience while requiring relatively low effort. Microsoft has dramatically improved search in SharePoint 2013 in three key areas: User Experience, Relevancy Tuning and Infrastructure. I’m working on a paper that will highlight these enhancements while illustrating the benefits of a search-first approach. In our experience, a good deployment of search can help with adoption of other structured and unstructured collaborative or portal based workloads by providing discovery, findability and refinement for content most important to the enterprise. This article begins with an introduction to the new features and improved look and feel along with other search relevance, and infrastructure flexibility enhancements that demonstrate the support for Search-First approach to migration.

Organizations that are overwhelmed by the thought of migrating the substantial content they house in SharePoint 2016, 2013, 2010 or SharePoint 2007 farms will be encouraged by a Search-First approach. This strategy does not require any changes to the existing infrastructure and provides a mechanism for content to remain in current repository while the technology and search engine for the enterprise takes a leap forward. After understanding the improvements in UI and UX, relevancy and infrastructure it’s easy to see why customers would be looking to implement a Search-First approach to deploying or migrating to SharePoint 2013.

The Search-First Approach to SharePoint 2013 Migration and Upgrade Infographic

Search First Approacht o SharePoint Migration and Upgrade

 

Feel free to share this SharePoint Search First strategy to upgrade infographic in your blogs or in social media.

More to come later!

Enjoy!

Joel

Additional Reading and References on Search and Search-First:

Search-first migration from FAST Search Server for SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint Server 2013

TechNet: What’s New in SharePoint 2013 Search

TechNet: Administer Search in SharePoint 2013

Collabshow.com: What’s New in SharePoint 2013 User Experience?

What’s New in Search in SharePoint 2013?

Essential Guide to Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2013