8 capabilities that should be among your 2020 SharePoint intranet resolutions

2019 was a great year for SharePoint intranets, and the first quarter of 2020 will bring even more capabilities. Here are a few simple, but important, features and capabilities  we should all resolve to implement:

  • Create an Organization Assets site
  • Use Headings on all long pages
  • Make sure that the Site Pages library on every site shows Version and Promoted State
  • Implement a home site (when it is available for your tenant)
  • Be inspired by the SharePoint look book
  • Personalize and target content
  • Make your pages accessible to all audiences
  • Continue to learn in 2020

Resolve to create an Organization Assets site

The Organization Assets feature lets you register one or more document libraries via PowerShell as a special source for images such as photos and logos across all sites. Organization Assets libraries are available when you add images to page headers, galleries, or other web parts. (Figure 1.) You can have up to 30 libraries in a single organization and all the libraries need to be in the same site collection.

organization assets library Microsoft

Figure 1. How users experience the Organization Assets library.

When you have an Organization Assets library, you are creating a single place to store and maintain important brand assets that can be used anywhere in your tenant. This is a great way to provide access to brand-approved images and logos – and keep them up-to-date in one place. My favorite super-power for Organization Assets is that when you update an image or logo, it is automatically updated on every site and page that uses the image. Learn how to create an organization assets library.

Some tips for your Organization Assets library:

  • Call the site collection Organization Assets (or Org Assets). Seems obvious, right? Make sure that the “Everyone” group has read access to the site.
  • Create a separate library for logos. This will make them easier to manage and keep them separated from other images.
  • Consider adding a library for leadership headshots and approved photos. If you have a large, global organization, finding photos of leaders for news articles and web pages can be really challenging. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if all the photos were stored (and updated) in one place?
  • Use folders to organize photos in each organization assets library. Currently, when you are selecting photos from an organization asset library, you can only see the photo name or image – not any metadata associated with it. If you want to organize photos here, you will need to use folders.
  • Don’t forget to provide training and guidance for using the content in your organization assets site. When you select an image or logo from an organization assets library, the image itself is not uploaded to the site. If all of the images on the site come from organization assets, the Site Assets library is not created for the site.
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Resolve to use Headings on all long pages

As a general rule, you don’t want to create long pages in your SharePoint site. Most people do not read your long pages – they scan them. To make your pages easer to scan, you need to break up the content into chunks. While you might be tempted to use bold text to separate paragraphs – it’s better to use the built-in heading styles instead. Here’s why:

  • SharePoint automatically adds anchor links to all first, second and third level headings in your page. Once you have created a page with headings, simply hover over the headings and you will see a link symbol. When you click the link, you get the full URL, including the anchor. If you click the symbol, the heading will be added to the URL bar or you can right-click to save it to notepad or to another tab.
  • Use the anchor links to create a table of contents for your long pages. Once you have a collection of anchor links on your page, you can add them to a text or Quick Links web part to create a table of contents for your page. Tip: Create a separate section at the top of your page using either the one-third right or one-third left column format. Put the table of contents in the narrow column. This will ensure that your table of contents will be at the top of mobile pages. Note that while URLs with anchor links can be used in the Text and the Quick Links web parts, the anchor link URL will not work in navigation links.
  • Using headings helps make your page more accessible. People using a screen reader or a keyboard can easily jump to heading text with keyboard commands.

Resolve to make sure that the Site Pages library on every site shows Version and Promoted State

I’ve blogged about this before, but it’s worth mentioning again since I know a lot of people are still getting caught when they can’t find content because a page isn’t published – or can’t figure out which pages are News articles. I always change the default view for the Site Pages library to be the All Pages view and I always add Promoted State and Version to that view. I wish that this were the default built into the product, but until that happens, Iyou should make this update to every site. For details about how to add these fields, see One Simple View to Improve SharePoint Page and Site Management.

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