It’s the Little (annoying) Things

SharePoint is a wonderful platform and followers of this blog realize that I am a huge fan. That said, sometimes I just wish it could be a little bit better. In keeping with the full mission of this blog, let’s talk about some of the things we don’t like.

Surveys – We have to conduct a couple of surveys a year that should look good. Unfortunately, SharePoint surveys never really look good – why they chose to leave Rich Text parts out of surveys is beyond me. We’ve looked at some of the add-on components for SharePoint and the ones that address surveys don’t seem worth the cost, especially if you don’t use a lot of surveys.

Custom Views – I said in my AIIM presentation that I think the ability to create custom lists is one of SharePoint’s major strengths. I still believe that but the process stops just short of the goal line. This week, I was called to investigate a view that wasn’t working. A list of contacts had been modified to include a column indicating whether or not that contact was being invited to an annual meeting. Good use of custom columns and, as you would expect, the column was a Yes/No type. Unfortunately, when the user built the view, she included contacts where that column equaled ‘X’. (‘X’ was what they used in the Excel Spreadsheet they used to use to track attendance). Clearly user Error but it would be nice if the View was restricted to the column’s possible values.

File Browsers – This is a nit but while I’m on a roll, I’ll include it. If you upload a single file from a local folder, SharePoint ‘remembers’ where that folder was when you upload the next file. Unfortunately the Multiple-File Upload widget doesn’t remember anything.
We like to say that we can do things like adding a column or customizing a list view “without the aid of IT” but you often need to think like an IT person to understand what’s going on. Having worked as a developer, I can understand why these features are missing but end users don’t get it – it doesn’t make sense. Hopefully, future versions of SharePoint will address some of the little things a well as major new features.