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Digital Workplace navigation across Office 365 - what is the vision?

%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-105121%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3EDigital%20Workplace%20navigation%20across%20Office%20365%20-%20what%20is%20the%20vision%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-105121%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EI%20would%20like%20to%20discuss%20the%20global%20navigation%20vision%2Froadmap%20for%20a%20Digital%20Workplace%20with%20Office%20365%20and%20SharePoint%20Online.%20Right%20now%20I%20see%20four%20types%20of%20navigation%20options%20within%20O365%3A%3C%2FP%3E%3COL%3E%3CLI%3EOffice%20365%20app%20navigation%20through%20the%20app%20launcher%3CUL%3E%3CLI%3Epro%3A%20i%20see%20all%20my%20apps%20i%20can%20use%3C%2FLI%3E%3CLI%3Econtra%3A%20actually%20made%20just%20for%20apps%2C%20don't%20want%20to%20mix%20it%20with%20links%20to%20sites%20to%20confuse%20users%3C%2FLI%3E%3C%2FUL%3E%3C%2FLI%3E%3CLI%3ESharePoint%20navigation%20through%20SharePoint%20Home%20and%20search%3CUL%3E%3CLI%3Epro%3A%20i%20see%20sites%20i%20am%20related%20to%3C%2FLI%3E%3CLI%3Econtra%3A%20not%20really%20structured%2C%20it%20depends%20on%20my%20followed%20and%20frequently%20used%20sites%2C%20information%20overload%3C%2FLI%3E%3C%2FUL%3E%3C%2FLI%3E%3CLI%3EOffice%20365%20Groups%20navigation%3CUL%3E%3CLI%3Epro%3A%20out%20of%20the%20box%20ready%20to%20navigate%20between%20groups%20components%2Fapps%3C%2FLI%3E%3CLI%3Econtra%3A%20different%20navigation%20and%20different%20place%20of%20navigation%20in%20every%20group%20component%3C%2FLI%3E%3C%2FUL%3E%3C%2FLI%3E%3CLI%3ECustom%20navigation%20in%20SharePoint%20(e.g.%20on%20the%20intranet%20home%20page)%3CUL%3E%3CLI%3Epro%3A%20i%20can%20implement%20my%20own%20company%20navigation%20to%20give%20users%20a%20quick%20access%20to%20important%20company%20sites%20and%20ressources%20(even%20dynamically%20and%20personalized)%3C%2FLI%3E%3CLI%3Econtra%3A%20navigation%20is%20limited%20to%20SharePoint%20and%20not%20visible%20in%20other%20O365%20apps%3C%2FLI%3E%3C%2FUL%3E%3C%2FLI%3E%3C%2FOL%3E%3CP%3EWhat%20I%20would%20like%20to%20give%20to%20my%20users%2Femployess%20is%20a%20Office%20365%20wide%20navigation%20(with%20mega%20menu)%20which%20is%20visible%20across%20all%20apps%20with%20the%20same%20information%20and%20design%20in%20every%20single%20apps%2Fsite.%20With%20this%20in%20place%2C%20i%20could%20create%20a%20real%20Digital%20Workplace%20feeling.%20Right%20now%20my%20turnaround%20is%20to%20guide%20the%20users%20to%20a%20SharePoint%20Intranet%20home%20page%20through%20the%20suite%20bar%20clickable%20logo%20where%20the%20company%20navigation%20is%20implemented.%20It%20would%20be%20great%20to%20extend%20the%20O365%20suite%20bar%20with%20dynamic%20and%20personalizable%20navigation%20options.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3ESo%20what%20can%20we%20expact%20from%20Microsoft%20to%20solve%20this%20problem%20or%20what%20is%20the%20vision%2Froadmap%3F%20Are%20there%20any%20updates%20at%20Ignite%3F%20Does%20anyone%20have%20the%20same%20discussions%20with%20their%20users%2Fcustomers%3F%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EA%20similar%20conversation%20can%20be%20found%20here%3A%26nbsp%3B%3CA%20href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Ftechcommunity.microsoft.com%2Ft5%2FSharePoint%2FNavigation-in-Office-365-Teamsites-Groups-Sharepoint-Home-Where%2Fm-p%2F13921%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3Ehttps%3A%2F%2Ftechcommunity.microsoft.com%2Ft5%2FSharePoint%2FNavigation-in-Office-365-Teamsites-Groups-Sharepoint-Home-Where%2Fm-p%2F13921%3C%2FA%3E%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-LABS%20id%3D%22lingo-labs-105121%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CLINGO-LABEL%3EOffice%20365%3C%2FLINGO-LABEL%3E%3CLINGO-LABEL%3ESharePoint%3C%2FLINGO-LABEL%3E%3C%2FLINGO-LABS%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-105270%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20Digital%20Workplace%20navigation%20across%20Office%20365%20-%20what%20is%20the%20vision%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-105270%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EGood%20comments%20Carsten%2C%20I%20agree%20with%20you.%20There%20is%20a%20tendency%20to%20want%20'structured'%20navigation%20but%20in%20reality%20that%20is%20not%20easy%20especially%20for%20very%20large%20organisations.%20I%20am%20old%20enough%20to%20remember%20when%20Yahoo%20introduced%20structured%20navigation%20for%20the%20internet.%20That%20went%20well%20...%20Then%20along%20came%20Google's%20single%20search%20bar.%20And%20that%20was%20more%20than%2020%20years%20ago.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EIt%20is%20natural%20for%20humans%20to%20want%20to%20categorise%20the%20way%20they%20see%20and%20manage%20things%2C%20it%20gives%20them%20some%20degree%20of%20comfort%2C%20as%20we%20all%20know%20from%20the%20multi-cascading%20network%20file%20share%20folders.%20The%20reality%2C%20though%2C%20is%20that%20many%20people%20cannot%20find%20what%20they%20are%20looking%20for%20unless%20they%20'know'%20the%20navigation.%20So%20our%20network%20file%20shares%20are%20littered%20with%20the%20abandoned%20debris%20of%20other's%20navigation%20habits.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EThe%20digital%20world%20is%20different.%20Your%20navigation%20path%20and%20context%20is%20not%20necessarily%20mine%3B%20I%20may%20want%20to%20find%20information%20in%20context%20that%20means%20nothing%20to%20you.%20The%20Office%20Graph%20helps%20me%2C%20just%20like%20the%20algorithms%20in%20Facebook%20and%20LinkedIn%20present%20information%20to%20me%20that%20I%20would%20otherwise%20have%20never%20known%20about.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EThe%20problem%2C%20for%20many%20people%20I%20think%2C%20is%20that%20in%20the%20world%20of%20digital%20work%2C%20so%20dominated%20by%20network%20file%20share%20and%20email%20folders%20for%20over%2030%20years%2C%20the%20idea%20of%20seredipitous%20discovery%20as%20opposed%20to%20knowing%20the%20path%2C%20is%20hard%20to%20grasp.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EA%20great%20reference%20book%20on%20this%20subject%20is%20'Everything%20is%20Miscellaneous'%20by%20David%20Weinberger.%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-105230%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20Digital%20Workplace%20navigation%20across%20Office%20365%20-%20what%20is%20the%20vision%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-105230%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EHi%20Michael%2C%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EI%20think%20you%20summed%20it%20already%20up%20in%20a%20very%20compact%20but%20comprehensive%20way.%20And%20because%20you%20already%20got%20deep%20into%20that%20topic%2C%20I%20think%20it%20is%20no%20news%20that%20Office%20365%20is%20a%20bundle%20of%20several%20tools%2C%20services%20and%20also%20point%20of%20views%20to%20the%20obvious%20use%20cases.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EYou%20focused%20on%20three%20different%20technologies%20here%3A%20app-based%2C%20mail-based%20(Groups)%20and%20document%20store%20based%20(SharePoint).%20Some%20people%20substitute%20the%20classic%20approach%20of%20project%20sites%20in%20SharePoint%20by%20using%20Groups%20or%20Teams.%20Others%20use%20Project%20Online%20to%20provision%20their%20work%20spaces.%20I%20think%20under%20these%20different%20view%20angles%20to%20the%20same%20use%20case%20(%22collaborating%22%20in%20some%20way)%20a%20big%20fat%20all-in-one%20megamenu%20just%20does%20not%20hit%20the%20spot.%20If%20you%20are%20using%20Project%2C%20Groups%20or%20Teams%2C%20you%20don't%20care%20for%20SharePoint%20at%20all%20as%20you%20navigate%20here.%20If%20you%20do%20your%20full-fledged%20SharePoint-Intranet-Thingy%2C%20you%20have%20your%20local%20navigation.%20For%20document-based%20work%20spaces%20without%20Groups%20or%20Teams%20you%20would%20probably%20go%20for%20aggregated%20infos%20by%20search%20or%20use%20Delve%20or%20Websites%20as%20your%20starting%20point.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EWhen%20SharePoint%20evolved%20to%202013%20and%20many%20people%20realized%20that%20the%20ootb-experience%20got%20more%20decentralized%20with%20a%20more%20complex%20navigation%2C%20many%20were%20disappointed.%20But%20in%20my%20opinion%20this%20approach%20without%20that%20megamenu-all-in-one%20you%20stay%20more%20focused%20on%20what%20you%20really%20want%20to%20do.%20I%20agree%20nevertheless%20that%20for%20end%20users%20who%20are%20not%20used%20to%20navigate%20in%20this%20way%20over%20services%20it%20is%20really%20hard%20as%20most%20stick%20to%20hard-wired%20click%20paths.%20We%20did%20such%20a%20megamenu%20on%20customer%20demand%20for%20SharePoint%20as%20a%20delegate%20control%20that%20gets%20its%20navigation%20points%20from%20Managed%20Metadata%20and%20that%20can%20be%20added%20to%20all%20SharePoint%20Sites.%20But%20honestly%20I%20am%20not%20a%20big%20fan%20of%20this.%20It%20tends%20to%20be%20outdated%20and%20does%20not%20reflect%20all%20that%20stuff%20you%20have%20access%20to%20in%20other%20services.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3ELast%20thing%3A%20A%20menu%20where%20you%20would%20put%20all%20sites%2C%20locations%20and%20apps%20into%20one%20bucket%20would%20be%20ridiculously%20large%20and%20growing%2C%20becoming%20more%20and%20more%20a%20site%20map%20of%20diverse%20information%20that%20would%20not%20be%20handy.%20If%20you%20have%20to%20search%20in%20a%20menu%20to%20finally%20find%20your%20link%20this%20becomes%20a%20far%20worse%20option%20to%20a%20normal%20search%20in%20the%20Enterprise%20Search%20Center%20or%20Delve.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EJust%20my%202%20Cents.%20%3A)%3C%2Fimg%3E%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-105184%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20Digital%20Workplace%20navigation%20across%20Office%20365%20-%20what%20is%20the%20vision%3F%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-105184%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EYou%20might%20want%20to%20keep%20an%20eye%20on%20this%20Ignite%20session%3A%20%3CA%20href%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fmyignite.microsoft.com%2Fsessions%2F54704%3Fsource%3Dspeakerdetail%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%20rel%3D%22noopener%20noreferrer%20noopener%20noreferrer%22%3Ehttps%3A%2F%2Fmyignite.microsoft.com%2Fsessions%2F54704%3Fsource%3Dspeakerdetail%3C%2FA%3E%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E
Highlighted
Michael Böhm
Occasional Contributor

I would like to discuss the global navigation vision/roadmap for a Digital Workplace with Office 365 and SharePoint Online. Right now I see four types of navigation options within O365:

  1. Office 365 app navigation through the app launcher
    • pro: i see all my apps i can use
    • contra: actually made just for apps, don't want to mix it with links to sites to confuse users
  2. SharePoint navigation through SharePoint Home and search
    • pro: i see sites i am related to
    • contra: not really structured, it depends on my followed and frequently used sites, information overload
  3. Office 365 Groups navigation
    • pro: out of the box ready to navigate between groups components/apps
    • contra: different navigation and different place of navigation in every group component
  4. Custom navigation in SharePoint (e.g. on the intranet home page)
    • pro: i can implement my own company navigation to give users a quick access to important company sites and ressources (even dynamically and personalized)
    • contra: navigation is limited to SharePoint and not visible in other O365 apps

What I would like to give to my users/employess is a Office 365 wide navigation (with mega menu) which is visible across all apps with the same information and design in every single apps/site. With this in place, i could create a real Digital Workplace feeling. Right now my turnaround is to guide the users to a SharePoint Intranet home page through the suite bar clickable logo where the company navigation is implemented. It would be great to extend the O365 suite bar with dynamic and personalizable navigation options.

 

So what can we expact from Microsoft to solve this problem or what is the vision/roadmap? Are there any updates at Ignite? Does anyone have the same discussions with their users/customers?

 

A similar conversation can be found here: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/SharePoint/Navigation-in-Office-365-Teamsites-Groups-Sharepoi...

3 Replies

Hi Michael,

 

I think you summed it already up in a very compact but comprehensive way. And because you already got deep into that topic, I think it is no news that Office 365 is a bundle of several tools, services and also point of views to the obvious use cases.

 

You focused on three different technologies here: app-based, mail-based (Groups) and document store based (SharePoint). Some people substitute the classic approach of project sites in SharePoint by using Groups or Teams. Others use Project Online to provision their work spaces. I think under these different view angles to the same use case ("collaborating" in some way) a big fat all-in-one megamenu just does not hit the spot. If you are using Project, Groups or Teams, you don't care for SharePoint at all as you navigate here. If you do your full-fledged SharePoint-Intranet-Thingy, you have your local navigation. For document-based work spaces without Groups or Teams you would probably go for aggregated infos by search or use Delve or Websites as your starting point.

 

When SharePoint evolved to 2013 and many people realized that the ootb-experience got more decentralized with a more complex navigation, many were disappointed. But in my opinion this approach without that megamenu-all-in-one you stay more focused on what you really want to do. I agree nevertheless that for end users who are not used to navigate in this way over services it is really hard as most stick to hard-wired click paths. We did such a megamenu on customer demand for SharePoint as a delegate control that gets its navigation points from Managed Metadata and that can be added to all SharePoint Sites. But honestly I am not a big fan of this. It tends to be outdated and does not reflect all that stuff you have access to in other services.

 

Last thing: A menu where you would put all sites, locations and apps into one bucket would be ridiculously large and growing, becoming more and more a site map of diverse information that would not be handy. If you have to search in a menu to finally find your link this becomes a far worse option to a normal search in the Enterprise Search Center or Delve.

 

Just my 2 Cents. :)

Good comments Carsten, I agree with you. There is a tendency to want 'structured' navigation but in reality that is not easy especially for very large organisations. I am old enough to remember when Yahoo introduced structured navigation for the internet. That went well ... Then along came Google's single search bar. And that was more than 20 years ago.

It is natural for humans to want to categorise the way they see and manage things, it gives them some degree of comfort, as we all know from the multi-cascading network file share folders. The reality, though, is that many people cannot find what they are looking for unless they 'know' the navigation. So our network file shares are littered with the abandoned debris of other's navigation habits.

The digital world is different. Your navigation path and context is not necessarily mine; I may want to find information in context that means nothing to you. The Office Graph helps me, just like the algorithms in Facebook and LinkedIn present information to me that I would otherwise have never known about.

The problem, for many people I think, is that in the world of digital work, so dominated by network file share and email folders for over 30 years, the idea of seredipitous discovery as opposed to knowing the path, is hard to grasp.

A great reference book on this subject is 'Everything is Miscellaneous' by David Weinberger.

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