2. Teaser for a country-regional intranet (in French)
I thought by now we would not need to think of an intranet as “something from the future” anymore, but this teaser has the space theme all over it. The visuals are very nice, though. The intranet is called Y-Connect (“Connect” appears to be a very popular names for intranets these days). I am not sure what they mean to say exactly with the examples, but apparently YConnect is dynamic, intuitive and efficient.
Uploaded May 2021.
3. Two teasers for Kelloggs (breakfast cereals)
And guess what…this intranet is called K-Connect! 🙄 The first one contains a lot of puns, based on Kellogg’s products.
The second one gives a little more information, such as the reasons for change and what they aim to achieve. I think it is a nice idea to have speakers with various accents from across the world; it shows that this is a global intranet. Oh, and it is on SharePoint!
Uploaded May 2021.
4. Intranet explanation series for a solar panel installation business.
This is a series of videos, about 20 minutes in total, for the launch of the intranet at this USA organization. This intranet is called Freedom Forum.
The Opening video shows a nice journey metaphor, although I am no fan of those “real-time hand-drawn images” (for lack of a better description, I know it is an animation), as I find this very distracting. The “one stop shop” idea is still very much alive here. In the Closing video there’s a few calls to action. All in all, nicely done. I am showing the Opening and Closing here, but these are the others:
When the Microsoft Lists app was introduced I was a bit apprehensive, as I did not really know what all the fuss was about. But now that I have worked with Lists, I am starting to see the light! A few things that I like:
You can create personal Lists, which appear to live on OneDrive (as the URL for a list starts similarly, but I have no clue where to access them on OneDrive)
The options for colour and icons (trivial, but nice)
In the top bar, click “Alert Me” or the … at the right of the other commands and select “Alert Me”
Adjust the popup to your purpose and click “Save”
You will receive an email confirmation
When the desired change happens in the list, you will get an email
The sender will be yourself if the Alert is from a personal list, or the site name if it is from a SharePoint list.
How do Rules work?
You can do this from the Lists app and from SharePoint
You can do this on a personal list and on SharePoint
You can find the Rule option in the top bar under “Automate”
You have 4 options:
A column changes
A column value changes
A new item is created
An item is deleted
Creating the rule is pretty easy – click on the desired change and in most cases you just select the column and/or enter the email adress of the person(s) you want to send the change to (including a Me option).
The most complicated one is “a column value changes” as this will ask you the column, e.g. “Status”, the condition (“is” or “is not”) and the value, e.g. “Completed”, and then the email address.
You do not get a confirmation email
The sender is SharePoint Online
When the conditions are met, you will get the following emails:
But wait, there’s more!
The Reminder, of course! That is a long-desired option that has always been missing in Alerts.
This reminder option will send a notification x days before a certain date. This date needs to be a Time and Date field and can not be a calculated field, so any calculated Due Dates can not be done. In this case, a reminder before the Data reported is also quite silly, as this is an Issue tracker and the Date Reported is at best Today and sometimes even in the past.
The reminders are Power Automate, and you can find them under My Flows.
I have set a reminder for 1 day before the Estimated Close date on May 4. So I expected the mail on May 3, but it only arrived on May 4, 01.00 hours. So you have to select the interval carefully.
What do I think?
👍 You can set Alerts and Rules in personal Lists. It can be useful when you are sharing a List with someone.
👍 Rules are easy to set up – you can use “Me” to send an email to yourself
👍 Rules use a familiar look and feel for emails – it looks like sharing emails and uses the regular document management icons
👉 The Reminder option can be useful, but it only works on dates in the future that you pick yourself. An option to work on calculated dates would be nice!
👉 The Reminder option works, but you have to test whether your reminder arrives on the desired time. In this experiment, 1 day turned out to be “on the day itself”.
👎 Rules do not take a change of list name into account. I changed the personal list to “Issue tracker Personal” but the email from the Rule did not adjust. The email from the Alert did, so did the mail from the Reminder.
👎 I miss a Rule for: “any changes in the List”. Quite often more than one column is changed, so that would mean you will need to set more Rules in order to be informed properly. You can set 15 rules on any List.
👎 The information in the email from Rules is minimal – you have to go to the List to see what has changed. This makes Alerts more useful for any changes except Deletions
👎 The emails could benefit from more visual (typographic or otherwise) distinction between the actions and values, e.g. ” Ellen van Aken changed Assigned To to Ellen van Aken for SharePoint News does not show the latest items ”
👎 The sender of a Rule notification is always SharePoint Online – that gives less information than the sender of Alerts, which is yourself (for a personal list) or the SharePoint site name (for a SharePoint list). Especially when you have created many Rules, it may be hard to see what’s what.
I think this is very promising functionality, but I think it can be improved, especially on “information scent”. For the time being I prefer the good old fashioned Alert. It does not look as nice, but it gives you more information!
Around this time the default location to store Teams meeting recordings will change from Microsoft Stream to
SharePoint if this is a Channel meeting (In the SharePoint folder of the Channel, in a new folder called “Recordings”.)
OneDrive of the person who records, for any other meeting (in a new folder called “Recordings”)
20 days download option for the person who records, if they have an F3 license
According to Microsoft this is because a video is a document and should therefore live with and managed like a document. A recording will benefit from regular document management options, security and permissions, and the ability for external sharing.
In theory, this makes sense. In practice, there are some things you may want to know. In my organization we have chosen to switch early so we could control the switch date and make sure to have proper communication and support available. We have a few months of experience by now.
1. Stream is still not accessible for externals. Will it ever be?
When I was working with Office365 video (it must have been around 2015), we were told that it’s follow-up Stream would be accessible for externals. Until now, I have not seen any evidence or announcement of that. So storing meeting recordings in Stream has always been unpleasant for webinars and meetings with externals. You had to download the video from Stream and send or share it from OneDrive or SharePoint.
2. Spreading videos over 4 different locations is confusing (Stream, OneDrive, SharePoint, download)
We have been using the new locations for a few months now and boy, does this confuse people! You need a lot of words to explain where videos are stored. Many people are not aware of their license, or of the meeting type, or of their power when they record the meeting. And then you have all your earlier recordings still living in Stream. 😦
3. Storing recordings on the OneDrive of the “button-pusher” is confusing
We have had a few questions from meeting organizers about the recordings, where someone other than the organizer recorded the meeting. When something needed to be done, e.g. sharing the video with external attendees afterwards, or a bit of editing, or removing the video, the organizer did not know where to go. When I explained the situation, it happened that the “button-pusher” was on holiday, had no time or was unwilling to cooperate.
As the organizer already has so many unique powers in a Teams meeting, would it not make sense if the recording was always stored in the OneDrive of the organizer? And perhaps with a 20-day download option in case the meeting is organized by a group mailbox? (Which does not have a license, hence no OneDrive)
4. Your OneDrive and/or SharePoint must be accessible for externals
That is, if you want to share recordings with external parties. As you know, external participants can not watch the recording of meetings by default, even if they have a Microsoft365 account. In my organization the OneDrives have the option to share with externals, but not all our SharePoint sites allow external access. In some cases we can make external access available with little effort, but not for every site type. If your organization does not want that, you will be unable to share with externals, so you will have to send large files around. 😦 This is not a big difference with the earlier situation on Stream, but Microsoft assumes external access by default, making it sound easier than it sometimes is.
5. This will add another folder to your systems
The recordings from a regular meeting will create a new folder in the OneDrive of the person who records, called “Recordings”. A Channel meeting recording will create a new subfolder in your Channel documents, also called “Recordings”. This is not a big deal but you may want to tell people about all those folders that they themselves have not created. Some time ago I wrote an overview of all system-created folders in your OneDrive.
6. Stream can play videos at different speed
If you have a video in Stream, you can play it at different speeds. Click on the gear wheel under the video, click “Playback speed” and select the speed. You can not do this in OneDrive or SharePoint.
7. Stream has (limited) video editing options
If you want to do something with your video for the long term, you will probably want to use the best part only. In Stream, you can trim the beginning and end off your video if needed. There are no other editing options, but this option is useful AND more than what OneDrive and SharePoint have to offer. So, if you want to remove the start and end bits of a recording, you will have to upload your meeting recording to Stream OR use another video editing tool. Please, can we have some editing options in OneDrive and SharePoint too?
8. Stream has caption, subtitle and other video options
This is perhaps not very relevant for the meetings that you record for people who could not attend, or to make sure you have captured the notes correctly, but these functionalities certainly add value for a webinar or an instruction video.
9. Adding a Form works better in SharePoint
In Stream you can add a Forms, as a poll or a survey. In is rather strange – there is a side panel where I would expect the Poll to show up, but it is actually shown on the location of the video. Also, you have to specify a time, which could be nice for a quiz, but not for a general question.
In SharePoint, you can create a nice page with an embedded video and a Form on the side.
10. Currently there are two messages when you save a Channel meeting.
My own tenant is still in Stream mode (mostly because I don’t do PowerShell 🙂 ) and I am currently getting a message when I stop the recording.
On Teams desktop it says: “After the meeting, you can find this recording in the channel conversation or on Microsoft Stream.”
On Teams for the web you get: “Recording is being saved. Recording has stopped. You can find the link to the recording in meeting chat history.”
Not a big deal, but something you may want to be aware of.
Although the sharing and management of meeting recordings will be better when the recordings are stored on OneDrive or SharePoint, you miss out on specific video functionality. I would appreciate to have some basic video editing capabilities for OneDrive and SharePoint.
Has your organization made the switch to OneDrive and SharePoint? Do you have something else to add?
It has been some time since I shared some interesting videos, so that is what I will do today!
1. New intranet for an Australian building and furnishing organization
This is a nice intro, by the COO, about the new intranet. The intranet has three main aims:
Communication and engagement (news and featured stories)
Corporate memory and ideas (which is a form of Knowledge Management – yay!)
Employee support (forms and info)
Pleasant combo of a personal intro, the main goals of the intranet, and a walkthrough. It is SharePoint/Microsoft365-based. Do you notice what I noticed at the end of the video? 😁 Uploaded February 2021.
2. Teasers and launch video for a car lease organization.
Very conveniently these teasers and introduction video were uploaded at the same time.
The teasers are in very different styles. I wish I knew the why and how!
The promotion video itself is very short and text-based. I would have liked to see what the intranet looks like. This is for a car leasing organization in the UK. Uploaded February 2021.
3. New intranet for a Canadian investment company.
Smooth promo video for this organization. There’s a lot of content available from the homepage, lots of tabs and buttons and menu’s. Still it manages to look quite clean. You can personalize parts, e.g. select your location. There are some Microsoft365 hints, but the intranet does not look SharePoint-based. Uploaded February 2021.
4. WEAC – Wisconsin Education intranet
This video is 10 minutes long and needs some time to properly start, due to some internal discussions. This organization has actually retired their old, and introduced this new SharePoint-based intranet due to COVID-19. They envisaged a lot of working and studying from home, and their old intranet could not handle that. While Microsoft365 is of course accessible from anywhere on any device.
At around 4.30 the tour starts. There’s a big focus on links and documents (nicely grouped) and less on the news functionality, which is called Information and is SharePoint News in a list view. Perhaps this intranet page is intermediary, because the URL states that this is the IT-site. Uploaded March 2021.
5. Vertical Video! Intro for new social intranet at an Education recruitment organization.
This short intro by the managing director of this recruitment organization in the UK focuses on sharing good news on the new app Workvivo. The whole message looks a bit rehearsed, or maybe he is reading from an autocue. No screenshots or demo, sadly. Uploaded February 2021.
The other day I showed the Net Promoter Score question during a Forms webinar, told my audience how it worked and that “I honestly do not know if it is very useful” (as I hate it when I get an NPS question myself and I think I am not alone).
Immediately three people jumped in to say that it was very useful for student and intern evaluations and based on scientific evidence and that it has great predictive value. They were very interested in the results and were impressed with the fact that the calculation is built-in in Forms so you get the score without having to do any work.
So, from now on I will treat the NPS question option with a little more respect! 🙂
Closed form on a SharePoint page
By accident I recently opened an old SharePoint News item in which we advertised a (now expired) series of webinars. I had embedded the Form to make it easy for people to enroll.
To my delighted surprise I saw the “this poll is closed” message from the Form displayed on the page. Neat!
That text comes from the message that you can enter when you uncheck the box “Accept responses”, in Settings.
A new Forms landing page!
I knew that the Forms top bar would be replaced by the Office365 bar, but there have been more changes. Let me show you:
The following changes have been made:
There’s a new, smaller, button to create a new Form (1). If you click the arrow, you can also create a new Quiz.
New title font.
The cards are landscape now, and smaller.
You land on “Recent Forms” which includes Forms that have been shared with you. This is quite nice as those are now easier to reach and they display the number of answers on the card.
Clicking the … on the card does NOT allow you to copy or delete the Form, you can only Pin it or remove it from this page.
You can Pin forms you want to keep on top; they will show in the Pinned Tab. Interestingly, the empty Pinned page says: “No pinned Office documents”. I know a Form is a document but it is just strange. I still do not know why my Forms are not in my OneDrive, if they are documents!
You have the option to show Forms in Tiles (cards) or in a list.
At the bottom right, just behind that “Feedback/Need Help” buttons there’s a link to All My Forms (2), which shows all your Forms.
If you scroll down, you will see a list of Groups with the number of Forms, if you have any.
If you click on “All My Forms” you will get to a page where you can click the … (which is now next to the title, instead of top right on the card) where you can Open in Browser, Move, Copy or Delete your Form. Next to that you will see the Deleted Forms tab.
The Forms themselves have not changed – you will see the green Forms bar when you open or create a Form, and Theme, Sharing or Settings are still what they were.
But the behaviour has changed – Forms no longer opens in a new window from your Office365 landing page. I do not like that, I prefer to have my Office365 landing page always available.
Other than that, I am quite happy with these changes, especially the integration with Shared Forms. I was grumbling when I saw it at work, though, as I had just renewed my Forms webinar deck the day before and now I have to do it again!!! 😭
As my organization is slowly getting used to the look of modern SharePoint sites that go with a Team site, I am getting more and more questions about how to create those “buttons” that some of our pioneers added to their site.
Now we can have a debate on the “Quick” aspect of Quick Links, but let’s not go into that and let’s focus on the ways you can make them look. (But if you are curious, you may want to read this article by the Nielsen Norman Group)
How did I prepare?
In one of my SharePoint sites, I created a new page and added a header from the new Stock Images (👍 nice!)
I added a one-column section
I added a Quick Links web part to the section
I added some individual links with either an image (Web search), an image from the new Stock Images option (again: nice!) or an icon (also much-appreciated functionality).
To some links I added a description.
This is the result:
Now you have a number of options for how those 8 links are shown. Of course in a real-life situation you would not want to mix images and icons but for demonstration purposes it makes sense.
6 Web part layout options
When your page is in edit mode, and you click the edit icon for the web part, you get 6 options for layout. Each option can have sub-options.
“Compact” is the default option, as shown in the screenshots above. If I uncheck “Show image in layout” the images and icons are removed. 2 options.
“Filmstrip” gives a large emphasis on the image. You can move from left to right with arrows, and on the bottom you will see an indication that there’s more than these 4. 1 option.
“Grid” shows the links in tiles with large images, again not displaying default icons. 1 option.
“Buttons” has a ton of options:
Let’s show a few:
And the option that is very popular in my organization:
So the Buttons option alone has 72 display options!
The “List” layout has 4 options: with or without icon, and with or without description. It looks like the Buttons option with the icon on the left, but it is slightly different when you toggle between the two. 4 options.
And finally there is the “Tiles” option, which shows your links in squares. There are 5 sizes, and for the smallest 3 you can decide whether you want to show just the icon, or only the image. I am sharing the two most extreme options. 8 options.
So, all in all you have 88 options to choose from!
But wait, there’s more: 4 section background colours
When you edit the section, you can determine the columns, but also select one of 4 colour options for the section background from left to right: none (as shown in the screenshot), neutral, soft and strong. The exact colours depend on the theme of the site. So, multiply the 88 options of the web part with the 4 background options and you get…352 options!
These are the options:
This is the default Compact option with images with 3 backgrounds:
When you have selected a Link option with a fill-in colour, such as the Button (fill colour) or the Tiles, and you use the strong background, the colour of the buttons will revert to white, for maximum contrast.
There’s 352 ways to make a nice list of links on your SharePoint page. It is easy to switch from one style to the other so you can play around until you have found the best style for your purposes.
I would not quickly select one without a title – I have clicked too many image-only buttons that led to something I had not expected or wanted. Tell people what they can expect or do and do not leave them guessing. Nielsen-Norman group have many suggestions for link names with good “information scent”.
What’s your favourite Quick Link style?
Note: I have recently switched to the WordPress’s Block Editor. This has changed the way image captions are being displayed.
We always think very carefully if and how we communicate changes to our Microsoft365 environment. Generally, changes that affect all users, and may lead to questions or confusion, will be posted on the intranet. We do this for about 2 or 3 changes a year. Think about “the new Outlook on the web” last summer, and the new design of the SharePoint homepage earlier this year. Changes with a lesser impact are communicated through our dedicated Yammer group for people who take an interest, and during webinars. Additionally we regularly revise our training and webinar materials.
So, we were a tad worried when we found that some new functionality that had been in our tenant, and had been communicated, suddenly disappeared. In one case we found out that the functionality had been retracted, but we have no clue about the others.
Perhaps one of my readers can help?
1. The SharePoint start page
A few months ago we published an article on the intranet that there would be a new SharePoint start page. The column on the left hand side would be removed and some of the info there would move to below the site cards. We prepared the communication and an explanatory screenshot. When we could finally confirm that also our non-targeted release users had it, we published the article.
Around March and the start of the Corona-crisis, I noticed that my SharePoint start page had reverted back to the old setup, both at work and in my own tenant. I checked the Roadmap, the tenant Message Center, the internet, but nothing came up.
Only half May I found out that I had missed this article, which has a small paragraph on this topic.
Well, thanks for that. And I could not find the #192001 in my Message center, nor in that from my work tenant. 😦
2. Save documents for later in SharePoint
I was already aware of the Save for Later options in SharePoint News, but I was happily surprised to find that this function would also be available for regular documents in SharePoint sites. I saw it a few months ago, immediately saved a few documents and told our Yammer group.
I still have them saved on my SharePoint page. But the functionality is gone in both my private and my work tenant!
The files tab in Outlook is back! I just received a comment from Eric (see below) and I immediately checked. I wish I could sort them on file size, but it is already a big plus that I can see how many files live in my Outlook!
Does anyone know?
You know I like to play the detective, but I could not find the answers this time 😉