SharePoint Content Markup Styles

SharePoint’s markup styles allow you to add variety and distinction to your SharePoint content pages. They give you options to arm your content authors with CSS classes that you can in turn use to create powerful presentation customizations. Check out this short video by Old River Creative that explains exactly how these styles work. Continue reading…

Making <canvas> Games

In my last post, Making <canvas> Art, I introduced the idea of using the HTML5 <canvas> API to create a randomly-generated “northern lights” animation. The effect of the resulting animation is entirely aesthetic in nature. It provides no interactivity beyond the generation of new colors and shapes. In this follow-up post, we’ll use the same technique introduced in the original post, but extend our example to introduce keyboard input and manipulation in order to create a fully interactive game. Continue reading…

Making <canvas> Art

Got <canvas>? Focus your attention, if you will, to the top of this web document. The header area of my website includes animated “northern lights” of a sort, generated using HTML5’s new JavaScript rendering engine called <canvas>. Click anywhere on the page to generate new lights, each with randomized colors and trajectories that alter the appearance of the site header as they slowly move across the page. Continue reading…

Creative Design for SharePoint

Crafting an interface for an electronic medium like the web browser is no easy task. The canvas of the web appears in so many mediums, on so many devices and in so many forms that visualizing the outcome of your work is a tall order, to say the least. Now, consider doing this for a platform like SharePoint. Microsoft offers a plethora of templates and functionality within the confines of its flagship platform. We have blogs, wikis, sites, pages, calendars, lists, libraries, and web parts, oh my. There are also limitations in SharePoint. There are things that are easy and infinitely flexible. There are things that are surprisingly rigid and difficult to customize. Recognizing the difference between the easy, the hard, the possible, and the impossible can be challenging. Quickly, the creative process becomes a minefield of things you can, can’t, should, or shouldn’t do. This is a challenge that everyone faces when introducing themselves to this platform. It is something that we overcome, that we learn over time. We teach ourselves to overcome some obstacles, and to avoid others. We learn the intricacies of SharePoint; we hit roadblocks, discover caveats, and we explore new features that unlock new abilities. Continue reading…

Creating New SharePoint Interfaces Using REST

Recently, a friend and colleague, much more savvy in the art of code than I, showed me how to do something that opened a door. I knew it was there, I was aware of the capabilities, but I never really understood the power of REST services until now. Very simply, SharePoint’s REST web services allow you to get SharePoint data from a number of data end-points like lists, libraries, navigation, or the search service. This may seem exceedingly obvious to any SharePoint developer, but for UX guys like me who are more focused on the interface and design, it’s new ground. Continue reading…

Why HTML5?

There was a time, not so long ago, when the notion of the world wide web hadn’t yet crossed our minds. Books were read on paper. Movies were watched in theaters. We bought magazines that told us when our favorite shows were scheduled to appear on the television. We huddled around our tiny, fuzzy, distorted screens to enjoy the simple pleasures of entertainment. The year was 1989, and in that year an amazing thing happened. The seeds of change were sewn into every facet of our lives, and we would, all of us, eventually be touched by this amazing evolution of technology. Continue reading…

Content Strength

You’ve seen it before. Your clients ask for it. They demand it. Perhaps you’ve done it yourself (shame on you). We’ve all done it. I’m talking about filling space with meaningless stock photography. I’m talking about photos of nameless models smiling, with their arms stretched out as if they were at the bow of the Titantic, staring at a blue sky while a photographer captures their moment of pure joy in a faux moment that is staged to look haphazard, but in reality is glaringly engineered to look just so. With the moment captured, you slap this meaningless photo on the home page of your website to elicit feelings of jubilation in your users. You may even feel a bit of jubilation yourself. But…does it work? Continue reading…

SP Blueprint

In my previous post, Minifying SharePoint 2013, I talked about the idea of minifying SharePoint’s CSS files in order to achieve better performance and better style cascading in CSS. Truly, this was the direct result of my work on a starter master page template I had been working on for SharePoint 2013, which is now available on CodePlex. Continue reading…

Minifying SharePoint 2013

The SharePoint interface is huge. Really quite huge. When I first laid eyes upon Microsoft’s latest rendition in the SharePoint legacy, I immediately turned my attention to the man behind the curtain. I delved into the interface and started looking at the goings-on behind the scenes. My first stop? corev15.css. This is a file that I have known well in previous versions of the product. To my initial delight, the interface in SharePoint 2013 seemed so simple, so elegant and clean. Surely, the CSS files that support this interface would reflect that, right? Continue reading…

SharePoint 2013 Web Part Tool Pane

This is going to be a short one. The “tool pane” in SharePoint 2013 has been causing me some headaches. In this version of SharePoint, the tool pane often appears inside your site’s design layout, instead of off to the side of the entire document. In a fixed-width layout, this definitely causes some issues due to a lack of space for web part zones, sidebars, and other content to fit into the space that is available. Continue reading…