SharePoint is ugly, no doubt. SharePoint does the job, for sure.
If you are a person who cares about beauty and simplicity, then you would know exactly my feeling about SharePoint without any branding. It is overwhelming to see those links, lists, navigations and so forth jump out every time I open up a SharePoint page. Although my horror remedied a lot as time goes by, the rigid style still makes me uncomfortable.
That being said, SharePoint is a juggernaut with enormous features designed for all kinds of clients. Most users use it as their intranet while others use it as their internet portal. As usual, SharePoint is designed by Microsoft as a platform with all necessary features, enabling it to be customized into a perfect web site as well as a fully functional intranet.
For those who use SharePoint as a public portal, branding is a must. Branding makes their own identities stand out rather than reminding people of SharePoint. Some companies have built fantastic web sites with SharePoint. Among them, Ferrari and Hawaii Airlines have set good examples. Their websites are particularly appealing and match their respective brand.
Especially for intranet, SharePoint plays a major role, and that is why some people are against SharePoint branding, because they believe intranet does not have to be beautiful. This may be the case for technology companies like the one I am working for, but not necessarily the case for traditional companies. For those not familiar with basic internet concepts, getting familiar with SharePoint can be a challenge.
We may solve this providing through SharePoint training though; the issue will rise if we do not have enough budgets or if we have a lot of employees.
In this blog, I will showcase some good websites built with SharePoint. All of them are internet websites and can be accessed with their links. If you have more impressive ones to mention, please do not hesitate to add their links in your comments.
Ferrari is a top-notch sports car builder with stellar reputation around the world. The main aim of this website is to showcase their sports cars. Images are the main way to achieve that on this website, and that is why we can see them in drop-down menus, in the middle of it as well at the bottom. Ferrari has chosen sliding images to present their cars as well as the brand, which take almost half of their web site.
It is almost impossible to tell that this website is built with SharePoint. The branding has totally changed the structure and style of SharePoint and highlighted Ferrari. In the perspective of branding, Ferrari did a great job.
2. Hawaiian Airlines
Unlike Ferrari, Hawaiian Airlines needs robust functions to power its tickets booking service instead of just showcase products. To this end, SharePoint is a perfect fit with its seamless integration of servers, databases, collaboration as well as Business intelligence.
Hawaiian Airlines has tapped into SharePoint’s power for its searching, ticket booking system, and content management.
The downside of its branding is the web site does not work well with browsers like Chrome, Firefox or other less popular browsers. The symptom of its incompatibility is the same as SharePoint pages without any further work. It is safe to say that Hawaiian Airlines has not done enough in terms of branding.
3. Choose Chicago
Choose Chicago is pretty similar to Hawaiian Airlines. The only difference, if any, is this website does a better job than the prior one, especially in terms of compatibility.
Quite like Hawaiian Airlines website, Choose Chicago also has fairly powerful features. Online reservations, search, calendar-like news, news publishing are the main features of this website. SharePoint is designed for this sort of website, therefore Choose Chicago has made a great decision.
These three web sites are perfect examples of SharePoint branding if you use it for public portal. Branding is a must in this case, and it’s a just matter of how much.
In the next blog, I will discuss branding on intranet as well as some pitfalls we may encounter during our branding process.
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