How many of the Web Part things should I put up?

One of the many questions that run through anyone’s mind when setting up and deploying that first SharePoint site is “How many of the Web Part things should I put up?”

The answer to this can be found in any film that deals with the student becoming master storyline. There is always that wise old guy guru/sensei type who says, “You will know how many is too many.”

Well that may work when a movie has about another 50 minutes to allow the hero to lose the girl, believe in himself and encounter his main foe.

Good news, this article shouldn’t take that long to reach its finale. But the old man is right, only you’ll know. This is because you set up the site; you have the site’s purpose and goal in mind. You plotted its purpose on the planning spreadsheet.

I have launched many sites that range in scope from the complex (enterprise wide training and knowledge repository) to the simple (form generator). Each uses web parts to different extents.

On my training site I use Web parts in the more traditional home page concept. Announcements for greeting content, Web content editor that holds a few cut and pasted scripted things like world clocks and tag clouds representing popular searches, then there is a links section, etc. Boilerplate stuff to establish that familiar home page web site feel. Since my scope is to get the user into the site I don’t have much going on as far as Web Part dynamic functionality.

On other sites that are set up for projects, the user needs to get information quickly without having to navigate down into the site. I divide my Web Parts for these purposes into two categories: need to view info quickly or act on info quickly.

To view quickly I use Web Parts such as calendar appointments, Gantt chart overviews, links or contact info. Here the end user can get on the site and scan quickly to gather what they need.

To act on info I like to use Web Parts for particular libraries or lists that can act as a quick launch to do what they came to do.

But that’s just me; your solution can mirror or vary from anyone else’s. One thing for sure, it’s always best to know the rules before you bend and break them.


About mhinckley

Michael Hinckley MCSA, MCITP, MCTS, has over 10+ years specializing in solution architecture for organizations that span from small businesses and global corporations. He is currently the Sr. Program Manager at Tangram. Michael is a recognized speaker and evangelist for Microsoft SharePoint and Business Intelligence stacks. He organizes tech community events (SharePoint Saturdays) throughout Florida and runs the Tampa SharePoint/Office User Group. He is a contributing author for the book Microsoft SharePoint for Business Executives: Q&A Handbook.
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