Webinar Recap | Microsoft 365 Navigation

Thank you for your interest in “Microsoft 365 Navigation that Transcends: Configure the best navigation for your SharePoint intranet, Viva, and Teams.” If you were able to join us for the webinar, we sincerely thank you for being there. We hope you had as much fun navigating the world of Microsoft 365 as our speaker did sharing his knowledge. 

Didn’t get a chance to catch our session live? We’ve got you covered.

This Session:

There are a plethora of options for navigation in Microsoft 365. You can customize your navigation in many different ways depending on your needs and how your people use your system. But if you want to configure the best navigation for your company, first you have to know what features will work best for your needs. In this webinar, Eric Overfield discussed the different types of navigation available today in Microsoft 365, walked through navigation best practices, and shared how to configure your navigation to complement Microsoft 365 applications across your digital workspace.

Episode Takeaways:

  • Understand basic navigation
  • Build custom navigation
  • Recognize the importance of a hierarchical system
  • Find the right solution for you
  • Invest time to organize information
  • Understand content first
  • Target your audience

Show Links:

Key Takeaways

11:36 – Understand basic navigation

There are many different navigation options within Microsoft 365, including using the header and logo to get back to the portal.

“As people are navigating around within your site, you’ve got the header within SharePoint. And so people might be deep into your site and into your portal, and they’re going to want to be coming back to it or navigating back to it. And we’ve always got the logo. We’ve got the logo in the header that will help you get into and move around and get back into your portal. And so to me, this is another interesting navigation option that exists. Now it’s not a deep navigation for religious going back to it, but still, that’s something that makes sense to me as something that could be used as a way to get into your intranet or people will return to your intranet as they’re using the rest of your SharePoint implementation.”

14:50 – Build custom navigation

There are many different ways to customize your navigation system, but it’s easiest to stick with Microsoft’s given navigation approaches and add custom features around that.

“Over here on the right-hand side, you’re seeing this component that’s docked to the right, this is a common approach to build some sort of custom navigation components or custom navigation features. A lot of us used to tie this to the left-hand side. And then Microsoft came out with their app bar and we’re like, ‘Hmm, that doesn’t make so much sense.’ There’s even some of those candidates solutions. They created an app bar on the left that Microsoft then basically replaced. So we’ve been seeing and we made this trend a little while back to move it off to the right, because we didn’t want to really mess with Microsoft’s doing. Custom navigation though could often appear above hub navigation. That’s pretty common. People are still doing that. We’re still helping clients do that. You could have stuff in the footer as well for navigation, but something that we’ve been promoting more, although many of our clients are still using full custom navigation, is doing everything we can to stick to Microsoft’s given navigation approaches. But building extra features that people will use to help navigate around our SharePoint solution.”

19:54 – Recognize the importance of a hierarchical system

Many people want to be able to access things the same way every time, so it’s important to have a hierarchical system in place.

“Many of us, we’re still very hierarchical in our mindset, and we know the order of how things are placed and we get used to that. And that’s how we want to go find things. And when it comes down to it, people are using the portal. They’re using your SharePoint mutations to find data, to find applications, to find the features in the data that they need to be able to get their job done. That’s what it comes down to. And we’re hierarchical, we start to know that there are these three clicks that I do, and we barely even read what they are once we figured it out. But when we’re looking for something, we all know that SharePoint search is not the most stellar yet. Microsoft is investing heavily and it doesn’t work like Google. And it’s very hard to even make it work like Google because Google has invested billions and billions of dollars into it. And we don’t have that kind of resources to do that for our organizations. Do we? And so hierarchical is still how most of us find our data. And so it really is important.”

21:39 – Find the right solution for you

Everyone has their own way of doing things, but you can make the best decisions for your company when you know what options are available.

“All of you are different. Everyone listening to this is going to have your way of doing this. But what I’m looking to do is help you understand what’s available, and hope and look to provide you some prescriptions that you can use, some playbooks that you can use to help you find the right solution for your organization. When it comes down to it, you’re probably going to have to prototype this. You’re going to have to play with it. You’re gonna have to work within your organization to see if you can use some of these features. One of our clients has a multi geo, way to put it. They have lots of independent units that work throughout the country. And yet they’re all within one tenant. And so something like global navigation can be very challenging for them, even though it has audience targeting, which we’ll get into, because the corporate IT\ owns the tenant, but the independent units all have their own IT departments that can’t go and modify that. And so global nav is a real challenge for them and they need to think through that.”

24:52 – General navigation is task-based

Navigation can also be task-based, which means categorizing your primary navigation by the way people work.

“Another way of looking at general navigation is more task-based. And this is where you’re categorizing the intranet navigation, the primary navigation, by the way people work. So what’s nice and easy, and what a good pro here, is that your users can then look for what they’re trying to do and the navigation would help them achieve that, because the navigation is attempting to achieve how it is that they’re actually working, the tasks that they’re being assigned to do, or the applications that are primarily being used. People do their job. Your navigation would help achieve that through that task-based system. But one of the cons here is that it can be really hard to break up your links into the relatable categories necessary to actually drive this. And so we’ve got departmental or hierarchical, we’ve got task-based, but what I’ve really seen to be the best, if I’m going to prescribe any general, broad-stroke for you is some sort of hybrid.”

26:09 – Invest time to organize information

If you want your people to be able to find things quickly, you have to take the time to properly organize your information.

“Some organizations, if you’ve got 50,000 employees separated around the world, your org chart is going to be insane. And so it can be very challenging to find the hierarchical data, but some people do know that and they would like to be able to quickly get to it, because they know they need to get to that sub-department of this broader stroke department. All right. But then having in your navigation some broader strokes that are also task-based and much more around the way that I work, my specific work, or the ability to quickly get to my bookmarks or the tools that are important to me that I’ve been able to put into and bind into my navigation could certainly be very helpful. Even having things that might be important as news or whatnot, or a large bucket where you’ve got a specific thing, because the Intranet’s all about driving, maybe for you, it’s about driving information on the organization, and the navigation can help reference that by providing a link or specific links into those specific areas. What all this comes down to, to me, is you need to invest that time and information into architecture.”

27:42 – Understand content first

Before you implement any new navigation features, first you need to understand the content you have and the purpose of your systems.

“Trying to just build your navigation without understanding the content that you have, the purpose of your internet, how you’re going to categorize it and how you’re going to be able to even try to surface it doing, if you’ve tried to do navigation first, you’re probably going to be swimming against the stream, your entire lifecycle of your intranet. Just lots of going on. So with that, I figured that’s a lot of the big, broader strokes on how things are. I think that we can spend the back half of our time together here talking about what’s actually available within SharePoint, so that you can start to think through what things can my organization do and how can I start categorizing and thinking about my data? And then put them into my navigation, the structures that I have.”

29:56 – Global navigation is consistent

Global navigation is a constant across all of SharePoint, and it’s also tied to your home site. This means there are multiple ways you could set up your home site navigation.

“Global navigation is a navigation structure that is going to appear across all of the SharePoint and is tied into Viva connections. What’s really nice about this is it is consistent. It’s there, and it’s going to be there. Now what’s good about this, I suppose in one way, is that your global navigation is tied to your home site. And what that means is that you could basically then set up your home site to set up global nav to basically be your home site navigation of the global nav, or you could actually bind it to a hub site navigation. So if there was a particular hub that you created and set up the nav there, the global nav could actually use that navigation structure as well.”

31:15 – Target your audience

With global navigation, you can target your audience. It’s even possible to create groups that people can self-select.

“Global nav does allow you to audience target. And there’s some really fascinating ideas around audience targeting that I think could be interesting that go above and beyond what Microsoft I think is actually thinking. But you could create some very complex navigation structures where you audience target the links or groupings of links. And so what I’m thinking here is you could create 500 groups and every single navigation node could be tied to a group. And you add people to the groups. Now that also should give some of you total panic attacks. I mean, how are you going to manage all of that? Well, what if you built a system that was custom, but what if you built a system that would allow you to allow people to manage their own grouping, where they basically get to choose? You create a SPA, a single-page application where people can configure what things they would want to see in navigation, give or take some things. And basically you could create a system where people are automatically controlling what groups they are not a part of.”

Check out our next webinar on Thursday, April 28th!

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- How to install & get #VivaGoals running in your workspace today!


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