A common flaw within the user experience of many software applications is knowing where to begin. Over the years, we’ve developed certain cultural norms within our tools and systems. For example, Microsoft Word includes a File tab, under which you will find the option to create a New document. However, most enterprise collaboration solutions are not so simple. They can be powerful, yes, but if the user experience (UX) is not intuitive, and the collaboration activities do not “fit” within our cultural norms and business processes, employee adoption is often impacted. Collaboration beyond file sharing should not be difficult. What end users need is one simple interface for content creation: the Beezy ShareBox.
The ShareBox is a unique feature within Beezy that dramatically improves the process of sharing content and knowledge by stripping out all of the complexity of SharePoint, focusing on basic user needs. From sharing a document to assigning a task to documenting an idea, the ShareBox is a one-stop-shop for content created within SharePoint.
The ShareBox is the launching point for most end user activity within Beezy, and is a quick and intuitive way to add multiple types of content to any community within which you are a member.
Simplifying Content Creation
Simply click on the icons at the top of the ShareBox to take advantage of the many content types available within Beezy, which runs natively within SharePoint — whether online, on premises, or in a hybrid deployment. The options available for each content type dynamically change as you make a selection, with most content types allowing attachments and tagging. All activity within Beezy centers around various communities of which you are a member, and the ShareBox allows you to push content into any one of your communities.
As shown in the following example, you are able to mention people within your update, attach documentation or images, share URLs or link to videos, and add hashtags. Additionally, Beezy leverages your existing taxonomy and managed metadata assets, assuring that approved terminology is used for data classification. To share your new content, the end user must select a community where they have the necessary permissions.
Once content is created, it is immediately viewable within the home page newsfeed as a “follow-up card” and also appears on the corresponding community newsfeed, as shown below. When new content is created, notifications are sent to anyone who “follows” your profile, or to anyone @ mentioned within the follow-up card. Additionally, those who are members of the relevant community, or people who follow any utilized tags will also see your newly create content – as long as they have the right permissions in SharePoint.
As you can see from this example, community members can view and interact with each content type, which can include commenting, liking, bookmarking, viewing, or sharing the content with other communities.
The ShareBox provides a powerful, consumer-like user experience that makes content creation in SharePoint simple and easy, and encourages employees to share more content, interact more frequently, and collaborate within and across communities. It also extends the out-of-the-box capabilities of SharePoint, providing new content types that help with SharePoint adoption and engagement.
Unpacking the ShareBox
The most popular consumer-based social networks include a number of ways that people can collaborate beyond sharing documents — although document sharing remains a critical part of enterprise collaboration. Within SharePoint, for example, many organizations interact through custom lists and dashboards, which could be viewed as yet another content type.
One of the huge benefits of Beezy is that end users have a number of options at their fingertips, allowing them to use the right tool for the job. Within the ShareBox, the following content types are available:
- Post an Update (microblogging). With this content type, you can share ideas, start conversations, and get feedback from your co-workers. Just drop an interesting link in the microblog box and Beezy will automatically store and tag it feeding its social bookmarking engine. Tag conversations using hashtags (#) and mentions (@) exactly like in Twitter. The mentions are pulled from Active Directory. Users can either start a conversation in the microblog box from the homepage, from a community or from a Town Hall.
- Ask a Question (social Q&A). This content type allows you to post questions to your communities and allow peers of that community to respond. Other community members can then vote on which is the correct or most appropriate answer.
- Praise Your Colleagues. Recognize the hard work of your peers, thank someone for providing some much-needed help on a project, or wish someone a happy birthday – all from the praise tool within the ShareBox. Icons can be configured to meet your internal programs and protocols, and all praises are tracked against the user profile, giving managers deeper insight into cross-team recognition.
- Start a Poll. The simple poll capability within the ShareBox makes it easy for anyone to ask a question within a community and receive instant feedback.
- Share an Event. Within the content of the newsfeed, you have the ability to create a new event, tag it with relevant keywords, attach relevant files, and share with a community. Once an event has been created, you also have the ability to connect it to your Outlook calendar.
- Share an Idea. In addition to the microblog and Q&A capabilities, Beezy also provides you with a quick and easy way to capture and share ideas. When an idea is shared to the community newsfeed, its light bulb icon stands out from the microblog bubble and Q&A icon to let people know that you’ve shared something new. It’s a great way to brainstorm ideas and capture feedback from a geographically dispersed team.
- Write a Blog Post. Beezy makes it easy to create new blog content – also directly from the ShareBox interface. Similar to the microblog, you can add a title and content, tag it for search relevance, and include attachments. The primary difference is the character limit. Blogs are generally longer-form content.
- Create a Wiki Page. Similar to the Blog option, you can create a Wiki page within a community from the ShareBox, as long as the feature has been enabled by an administrator. Unlike a blog post, which is created by the author and cannot be edited by readers, the wiki allows the author to share editing controls with others.
- Add a Discussion. The Discussion option within the ShareBox is a great tool when you want the discussion around a topic or idea to be transparent to the community. Unlike the other options, the discussion content type creates an activity card without the ability to comment within the card itself. Instead, users select the discussion title and are taken to a threaded discussion page where they can more easily follow the hierarchy of the discussion, and add their comments at any level within the hierarchy.
- Add a Task. A common activity within communities are the assignment of tasks. The ShareBox provides a way to create and assign high-level tasks to individuals within a community. Task owners receive a notification, and progress on the task can be tracked with a simple, touch-enabled task bar to indicate whether the task has just started, is half-way done, or has been completed.
Within each community, the administrator has the ability to enable or disable each of these content types. One team may disable wikis and blogs, for example, keeping the bulk of content sharing and discussions within the community newsfeed. Or maybe creating blog content is limited to administrators only — in which case the content type would appear within their ShareBox options, but would be missing from the view for all other employees.
As with all things in SharePoint, the Beezy ShareBox is security-trimmed based on profile permissions — and community-level permissions, as controlled by the administrator. This allows you to configure the ShareBox user experience based on the unique requirements — and cultural needs — of each of your communities in SharePoint.
Leveraging the ShareBox Within Your Own Environment
You can see the ShareBox in action within our latest video showcasing our Beezy integrations with the Office Graph here, but the best way to see the full extent of its capabilities is through a personalized demo. Contact us today to set up your demo, and see how Beezy can improve your team’s productivity and collaboration effectiveness using the ShareBox.