In 2009, Tropicana unveiled a new packaging design for its orange juice. The design was deemed generic and nondescript by consumers and sales of a product line plummeted 20 percent, even though the juice in the carton did not change. VMC Solutions Architect Keith Prunella says that in custom development, packaging also matters, which is why SharePoint 2013 comes with many themes and templates.
The themes and templates in SharePoint 2013 are a vast improvement over their predecessors. Site themes are collections of graphics and cascading style sheets that dictate how a website looks. Templates are basically prepackaged scenarios that address specific business processes.
The themes in SharePoint 2010 were plain-looking and there weren’t many options. The 2010 default theme design was blue, gray and boxy. There were only a few other color schemes, but based on the same blocky theme. In contrast, there are 13 themes in SharePoint 2013, and all of them are more detailed in design. The 2013 themes have a good mix of classic and modern user interfaces. Out-of-the box, these themes are also more responsive than the 2010 themes. For the non-development that is looking for a little more, they’ve included a rich design manager that allows for greater creativity.
In terms of templates, Microsoft has observed how users actually build sites and dashboards through metrics and applied that information toward consolidating and condensing certain templates and expanding others – in other words, the templates in SharePoint 2013 are significantly more useful than the ones in 2010.
When it comes to custom development within SharePoint 2013, there is a big push in the industry to have sites optimized so that they match across nearly all the different devices. The modern and responsive themes and templates in 2013 are conducive to this push. This principle is stressed in regular web development projects but can often be an afterthought in SharePoint custom development. But our team places an emphasis on creating richer environments in SharePoint with HTML5 and CSS3; a lot of our work is tied to customization and branding sites.
Appearance and design play pivotal roles in the success of SharePoint sites. What steps have you taken to make sure that your sites stay fresh-looking?