If you’ve been reading up about the new features of SharePoint 2013 – or even if you’re simply on a fact finding mission about the software – one expression you will have heard many times is ‘device channels’. This refers to exciting new functionality which gives you the power to build a customised user experience for different devices E.g. smart phone, tablet.
Mobility has fast become a cornerstone of the digital landscape and many organisations now recognise the business value in delivering a superior user experience across multiple channels. In light of this, Microsoft has invested heavily in extending SharePoint 2013’s capabilities to now offer a new platform for mobile development.
This enhanced functionality is centred around presenting content to the user based on the device they are using. Out of the box, SharePoint 2013 comes with three distinct views: Classic – the old school (fairly clunky) version that came with SharePoint 2010, Contemporary – a clean HTML 5 view, and Full Screen – the total user experience. This means content can be mapped to show different master pages and style sheets to users of a certain device (or group of devices) – resulting in an optimised experience for all. However it’s important to remember that, as with many things SharePoint, some custom development by an experienced SharePoint technician is still required to ensure that mobile pages are set up correctly and built upon the requirements of your user group.
SharePoint 2013 also embraces the wonderful world of apps! We are particularly excited about this as it really enhances not just the mobile features, but also the social collaboration tools within SharePoint 2013. While Microsoft has only designed this range of native apps for Windows and iOS at this point (no Android folks), we still believe this creates opportunities for higher engagement and adds to the overall modern experience.
A new Geo-location feature is also available to mobile users who wish to make lists ‘location aware’ and show coordinates through Bing Maps. This will allow people to track or log data that is location specific when they are out of the office. And finally, new Push Notifications functionality means that apps running on mobile devices can be configured to receive notifications from a SharePoint site.
To wrap up: a smart, customised and carefully rolled out installation of this mobile functionality has the power to dramatically boost the productivity of your employees – whatever their physical location might be. Which could put paid to the old ‘But I was out of the office’ excuse for good…