Branding your SharePoint Online sites to not look like SharePoint is more difficult than it was on SharePoint on-premises. The platform is constantly updated, and these updates can break your branding or even render your site unusable. How can we apply a consistent organizational identify across multiple sites in SharePoint Online? Eric Overfield, President & Co-Founder of PixelMill discusses options for branding SharePoint Online to avoid these issues.
|Erica Toelle:||Hi, I'm Erica Toelle, Product Evangelist for RecordPoint.|
|Eric Overfield:||Hi, I'm Eric Overfield, President, and Co-founder of Pixel Mill.|
Options for UI Customization in SharePoint Online?
|Options for UI Customization in SharePoint Online?|
|Erica Toelle:||Eric, you do a lot with UI customization at Pixel Mill. What are the options in Office 365 for UI customization?|
|Eric Overfield:||Wow. Love this question. There's a lot of them out there now. It's getting a little confusing I find for many of our clients. In Office 365 and SharePoint Online development we have our classic experiences and our modern experiences.|
|Moreover, the modern experience is where people are spending a lot of their effort now to say, hey how can I use all this new cool stuff. We have a limited set of options on customizing and branding the product to make it look like our own. Moreover, in my opinion, that's okay. With classic experiences, though, they're still there, and we have a lot of the same tools as we had before.|
|Erica Toelle:||I know they introduce many changes frequently in Office 365. If you do custom branding, don't the changes break the branding, sometimes.|
Modern Versus Classic Experiences in SharePoint Online
|Modern Versus Classic Experiences in SharePoint Online|
|Eric Overfield:||If you go with modern experiences and you use the recommended Microsoft approach, and how you can customize SharePoint, you should be safe, and the best recommendation I would have is you go to docs.microsoft.com and click on SharePoint.|
|If you click on SharePoint developer, and you're going to find a whole bunch of documentation that's being produced by Microsoft and the community, supported by Microsoft on how best to customize the interface on SharePoint, or modern SharePoint in a way that you're going to be safe.|
|They also have documentation on the classic experience as well, so that you can customize them, again, to be as future safe and as future friendly as possible.|
|Though, if you need to use classic experiences on SharePoint Online, such as classic team sites, the team sites we've had for so many years, or classic publishing portals, you can still have all the same customization approaches such as even customizing the master page.|
|Although, I ask that you never do customize the master page. If you customize the master page in SharePoint Online you can only use classic experiences. Therefore, Microsoft might make a change that will break your customizations, and at that point, you're hurting yourself.|
|So, to summarize, go to docs.microsft.com. They've got great documentation on how best to customize SharePoint to be as future friendly as possible.|
Categories of Modern Branding in SharePoint Online
|Erica Toelle:||Perfect. Is there a couple of categories of how you might approach modern branding?|
|Eric Overfield:||Yes. So, there's been much development happening around modern experiences and how to customize the interface. First, we can have, of course, our custom logo. We've been able to do that for a while.|
|Second, Microsoft has been improving the theming so that we have more theming options for color changes. Also, in general, the interface is much better than it was in classic sites.|
|Let's admit it. Modern team sites and collaboration sites are looking pretty good. However, we can theme the sites as well. It's the beginning of December of 2017; they say by the end of the year we're going to have something called Site Designs, used to be called Recipes. They're an ability to templatize modern experiences. I think that will help as well.|
|There's also, of course, SharePoint framework web parts and extensions, and we can go a long way to providing great custom interfaces on top of modern SharePoint.|
|Erica Toelle:||Perfect. Well, any final words of wisdom?|
Branding Recommendations for SharePoint Online
|Eric Overfield:||My suggestion to every client, to anybody I talk to, is, if you're looking to work with SharePoint Online, in fact, if you're looking to build any SharePoint portal, you should be looking at SharePoint Online first.|
|Modern experiences, modern communication sites, modern team sites, groups, looking at what hub sites will be allowing us to do. That should be where you should start on how you're going to build your solutions on top of the SharePoint platform.|
|Moreover, of course, let's then broaden to Office 365. Only if you find that there's not something there that you have, then you would look at the roadmap. Check to see that the roadmap is going to include that missing thing. Will the roadmap be giving you the features, and if so, when. Microsoft's doing pretty good to keep to the roadmap.|
|If it's not going to be in the roadmap, you still need a feature that you can't do in modern; then I would say yes, go to classic experiences.|
|However, we've been finding the only real reason why people are not doing modern is more because they've got this desire they want this more classic experience that they probably shouldn't be doing anyhow. However, it's still there if you want it, and we still do work with it.|
|Erica Toelle:||Great. Eric thank you so much for joining us today.|
|Eric Overfield:||Nice. Thank you.|
|Erica Toelle:||Have a good rest of the conference.|
|Eric Overfield:||Excellent. Thank you, Erica.|
Expert Interview Series
This video is a part of RecordPoint’s Expert Interview Series. In this series, we speak with top Microsoft industry experts about topics related to compliance, governance, collaboration, and information management.
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