Improve Your SharePoint Intranet Using Mental Models

Thursday, July 7, 2011
posted by alice

Perception is everything.  At least that is what is saying in their new article, “SharePoint: Mental Models.”  Read the article, and then check out how Smartlogic can aid your users’ SharePoint search and navigation.

A mental model is not based upon fact but upon the user’s belief.  It doesn’t really exist; it’s just what users think that they know.  So, if you have a mental model of a website, it’s just how the user thinks the site should work.  Make sense?  EndUser does a good job of explaining it.

Today’s Intranet users have become so accustomed to the way they view sites on the Internet that they expect their Intranet sites to carry the same features and perform in the same way.  For example:  a user utilizes Google for their searches via the Internet, they then expect all searches to be performed the same as Google performs them.

“This raises a number of issues. First off, depending on the software platform being used, the interface and user experience may be quite different. Depending on the project budget and timescales it may not be practical to do anything about it. It also may not be functionally appropriate to make these types of changes.”

When working with SharePoint and the Intranet it is important to remember who your audience is.  Team members need to have a very clear understanding of what the system can and cannot do and what to expect from it.  They have to know they aren’t going to get Facebook when they access MySites.  Aside from verbal communication, system layout is key.  If the system is laid out in a methodical and well-labeled manner it will reduce the amount of frustration and confusion for all involved.

Ken Toth

July 7, 2011

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