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Recently we completed a basic intranet portal migration for a client from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013. The customer is fairly small (about 60 users), and their SharePoint maturity is not high. Document management is still largely based on folders in shared drives, and outside of IT processes, only one business-critical process is hosted in SharePoint.

One of the goals for the upgraded intranet portal is to drive SharePoint adoption by users in the company. So the question was, what user-useful, user-friendly functionality can we put on the portal that will encourage user interest and attention?

Part of the answer was provided by two useful and cheap web-parts that fit nicely with the user base and the requirement:

Bamboo Password Change Web Part

Bamboo Password Change

Bamboo’s Password Change Web Part provides an extremely simple way for SharePoint users to change their network password from any browser that can reach the SharePoint farm. It’s a simple form on a page. Users go to the page and fill out the form. That’s it. It’s easy.

What’s more, the form  provides useful functionality beyond the mere password change. My favorites are the password-strength meter (Another reminder to users that robust passwords are an important security consideration? Yes, please.) and the integration with company password policies which will display for the user the specific password policy requirements enforced by their company and validate their chosen password against those requirements. This detailed information is a helpful improvement over Microsoft’s non-specific “does not meet the length, complexity, or history requirements” error message. Given the circumstances at the customer, this little web part was a good added feature for their portal

Amrein Banner Rotator

RobertsBanner

The second useful and cheap web part we integrated into the portal was Amrein Engineering’s Banner Rotator Web Part. In requirements gathering discussions, the customer expressed a desire for an alert banner on the portal. They wanted a plain bar of red color with an alert icon that would sit across the top of the main page and notify users of crucial, customer-impacting information. They wanted it to cycle through multiple alerts, and they wanted a way to feature both critical alerts and non-critical information.

The solution we adopted was the Banner Rotator. It’s designed to flip through a series of photographs, but instead of regular photographs you can just as easily make it flip through red horizontal bars that have an alert icon (like the one above). The web part configuration panel is very intuitive, and all information for the alerts is stored in an image library. Text positioning and styling is customizable in the banner controls. To create a new alert, simply upload a new copy of the desired alert banner, type in the text, and it will show up on the home page.

Another easy value-add to their portal that helps drive user adoption and interest.

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