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  • Apr.26.2013

    ​Establishing a solid information architecture is the key to a successful SharePoint project, regardless of the type (web content management, enterprise content management, etc.).  Over the years I've learned a lot about this from my good friend and fellow MVP Ruven Gotz. 

    Ruven has done more to promote how to gather and build a solid IA from the business than anyone else in the SharePoint space.  His book Practical SharePoint 2010 Information Architecture is an excellent resource, regardless of what version of SharePoint you are using.  I also recommend checking out Ruven's blog at http://spinsiders.com/ruveng/.

    One of the tools that Ruven introduced me to that all of our Senior Consultants at Envision IT use now is MindJet's MindManager (now just called MindJet).  It is a great tool for brainstorming and information planning and organizing.  It is not focused on the presentation details of the information, but rather just capturing the ideas and the relationships between them.

    For our Envision Shakespeare Company site, we have started to flesh out the information architecture, along with some of the feature and term store ideas.  Joe did most of the work on this, and I've included both the PDF and MindJet versions of the files for you to see.

    Envision Shakespeare Company Information Architecture.pdf

    Envision Shakespeare Company Information Architecture.mmap

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  • Apr.26.2013

    ​​The Envision Shakespeare Company is a fictional theatre company focused on the works of William Shakespeare.  The idea is to capture the works of Shakespeare themselves, along with the requirements of an active theatre company, together into a web site delivered on SharePoint 2013.  Since Shakespeare's works are in the public domain, we have a large set of content to demonstrate the rich WCM features of SharePoint 2013.

    The main goals of this project are to:

    • Provide a rich user experience with both strong visuals and content for visitors
    • A responsive design that works ideally on smartphones, tablets, and desktops​/notebooks
    • Leverage as many of the SharePoint 2013 WCM features as are feasible
    • Built in a way that supports a full enterprise software development life cycle

    The functional elements of the site are:

    • General company information
    • Calendar of productions and performances
    • News articles
    • The full known works of Shakespeare

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  • Apr.26.2013

    ​ Wireframes are where the functionality and user experience of the site start to take shape.  There's no creative design yet (that comes next), but the pages of the site start to come to life.  This is where Jeff starts to work his magic.

    There are a number of wireframe tools available for this task.  In Ruven's book that I mention in the Information Architecture section, he is a fan of Balsamiq wireframing.  We've used that, but more recently we have settled on Axure RP.  Yes it is a fair bit more expensive than Balsamiq, but it's not significant dollars, and it is very powerful yet quick to work with.

    The key to wireframing is to not get caught up on the visual aspect.  There shouldn't be any images or colours, and fonts are not​ important.  The key is to capture the different type of pages in the site, the elements in them, and their functionality at a very high level.

    One of the nice features of Axure is the ability to generate HTML versions of the wireframes.  This lets anyone with a browser view the wireframes, but more importantly they can have clickable elements in them, so the flow through the pages can also be experienced.

    Jeff is still getting going on the wireframes, but I wanted to share what we have so far.  As with the IA, both the source Axure file and the HTML rendering are available below.

    Envision Shakespeare Company Interactive HTML Wireframe

    Envision Shakespeare Company Axure Wireframe

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  • Apr.26.2013

    ​Any successful project starts with assembling a great team.  I'm blessed at Envision IT with no lack of strong team members to draw from for this project.  As we get deeper into the project the team members will likely grow to leverage individual strengths, but here is where we are starting.

    Joe Seguin

    • Joe is our Director of Consulting Services
    • He leads the Senior Consulting team by example, drawing on six years of SharePoint experience
    • He is driving the information architecture and specification aspects of the project
    • As Project Manager, he also keeps us all on task to keep things moving forward according to plan

    Jeff Clement

    • Jeff is our user experience star
    • Not only can he design and create fantastic concepts, but he can bring them to life through his impressive HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript skills
    • Jeff will be building out the wireframe and design concepts, as well as leading the implementation of those ideas

    James Brett

    • James is one of our web developers, and brings 10 years of SharePoint experience to the table
    • He'll be working closely with Jeff to breathe life into the designs as they light them up in SharePoint 

    Wes Kroesbergen

    • Wes is our system administrator
    • He is the quiet one in the background that you don't directly see the results of his work, but everything falls apart without him
    • Everything from the HyperV infrastructure to run all our VMs, to setting up and tweaking all the SharePoint farms, to being the point person on key features like search all fall to Wes

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Copyright ©2013 Peter Carson