Saturday, February 6, 2016

FlyView - SharePoint Site Menu And Navigation Tool

Introducing FlyView for SharePoint Online, 2016, 2013, 2010 and 2007

I like to introduce one of the SharePoint tools I have been working on lately, for SharePoint Online, 2013, 2010 and 2007.  A tool that is designed to improve SharePoint user experience.

A SharePoint user would know what this phrase means 'Working on it...'. It means the time it takes for us to browse through the layers of SharePoint sites, libraries and folders of our SharePoint intranet and team sites and discover SharePoint content.

The SharePoint User Experience - Today

The present SharePoint experience involves a lot of page loads and as such delivers a 'Stop n Go' user experience. No doubt Microsoft have improved their SharePoint products a lot and in the world of collaboration they stand out form the crowd, however SharePoint users often complain about the difficulties in exploring and discovering SharePoint content. So much so sometimes it is said if you want to hide something then store it in SharePoint. Definitely it is not that it is due to SharePoint product design. In part it could be because of a number of factors such as bad governance, inefficient information architecture, lack of processes and standards, SharePoint search not properly configured etc. However yes, to some extent the problem exacerbate due to the way SharePoint offers the user to navigate the sites, click by click, page loads by page loads.

Furthermore the absence of breadcrumb menu in SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2013 (even limitations with SharePoint 2010) doesn't help either. Often you find yourself lost, not knowing where exactly you are, how did you arrive here and how to get out of here.


Whatever could be the reason, in the end it is the end users who suffer. They love SharePoint but complain about the user experience, delivering a kind of love-hate User-SharePoint relationship.

Solution: FlyView for SharePoint, a lightning fast SharePoint Site menu

I decided to give it a try, with one of my best friend, and ended up with developing FlyView for SharePoint. We wanted to bring back the true love of SharePoint to its users. Researching and creating a product (in an evolutionary way that took about two years of product development and refinement including failures :) ) that would address the navigation challenges in SharePoint in an intuitive way. I humbly hope it would genuinely help the SharePoint users in getting most out of it.

So what is it?

It is a chrome web browser extension for SharePoint that you can add to your browser in seconds. FlyView detects when you visit a SharePoint intranet or team site (where you need to authenticate) and adds a self hiding Site menu nav bar on the top of the site as an overlay.

Now as you move your mouse on this nav bar it reveals it's self expanding menu and sub menus. You are essentially gliding through the SharePoint site structure. Your landing page doesn't change and you see everything that you are allowed to in FlyView, your focus is on the structure and files/documents. It significantly reduces the page loads and thus optimise the network bandwidth too.

See FlyView in Action here

Any concerns?

You do not need to install anything on the server or the desktop (apart from the chrome extension). It is developer in pure javascript and can only perform the actions on your behalf. That is if you are not allowed to do something then FlyView couldn't either. Also it is a ready only tool that reads the site structure and helps you navigate the site very fast.

Testimonials and Feedbacks:

I personally use it and a big fan of it. I can see it has increased my productivity where I spend less time in discovering SharePoint content and more time in consuming the knowledge.

In a short period of time we now have over 600 users and have received some great user feedback (see on chromestore) which is very encouraging and enable me to keep moving forward.

What's Next?

A server version and a SharePoint Online app is on it's way which will enable the organisations to deploy it once and have it available in all major browsers including Internet Explorer and on mobile devices such as IPads. The users will not have to install anything as it will be installed on the server.

Additionally soon I will be releasing the History and Favorites features (Feb 2016) which will further improve the speed with you which you could navigate the SharePoint sites and libraries.

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