We are currently working on first customer projects based on the SharePoint Online modern experience. One of the cool features is SharePoint team sites connected to Office 365 Groups „aka. Outlook Groups“.
Basically, a team site is created per Office 365 Group. The SharePoint team site and the Group are connected and relate to each other. The Office 365 Group itself basically is a membership service, in which users are grouped based on the companies needs or Active Directory dynamic membership.
In our case, the group was created via Microsoft Teams. If you create a team in Microsoft Teams, an Office 365 Group and a SharePoint Online Site Collection are created automatically for you and are ready to use within seconds. Creation time of site collection was massively reduced with the release of modern team sites in comparison to classic.
After creating the team, I set the logo for the team, which then is automatically applied as group logo. This process takes several minutes and we are ready to go. Sadly, the SharePoint Site logo never got updated in one site collection. In most it was working, but two somehow didn’t get the update.
As I don’t want to focus on things I can’t change, I just looked up the logo path in dev toolbar and saw that this logo is actually stored within the SharePoint site collection in the “Site Assets” library and can be replaced easily. Copied the logo named “__siteIcon__.jpg” from one of the working sites and replaced it and it showed up immediately. Things are always very simple, when u know what u do.
The logo is currently one of the only places, where you can bring in you brand in the “chrome” or “masterpage” besides Office 365 theme, login page and obviously, the content.
So, it’s a very small detail with a huge effect when it comes to the customer’s experience and identification with the brand and familiarity of tools.
Soon (Q1/Q2 2017), we should be able to start customizing the modern team site experiences and also the new publishing sites. But in my opinion we should not go to crazy with design or customizations of the modern experience. First of all, Office 365 provides more and more a modern, mobile and seamless UX trough the different services of the platform and Microsoft will provide us with standardized ways and interfaces to customize things, when ready.
Over the past 10 years, I was involved in a lot of heavy branding projects from intranet, extranet to WCM and as we all know, it was no fun. Customers often demanded SharePoint classic not to look as SharePoint but bring in their ideas and changes the UX. Mostly it resulted in very high cost and never a seamless usability over all components of SharePoint. I’m not even speaking about the lifecycle of such “customizations” and the effort to upgrade and maintain these. One of the reasons why SharePoint upgrades were pretty complex and costly always were customizations and “citizen developer” custom code like mine. Or investments in 3ry party products, which never actually fitted the puzzle UX in classic SharePoint.
So – let’s stick with the standard and the ways Microsoft will give us to customize. Focus heavily on content, there are so many ways to create a nice looking and mobile ready page already today and much more to come. Build on the power of SharePoint Framework (SPFx) to ensure full cloud readiness and make use of the newest stuff to surprise your users and potential customers with the modern SharePoint.