Shane posted about supplying end user doc for how to use SharePoint. I had a pretty big opinion on it and wanted to also share it on my blog:
I have read many posts over the months about the good, bad and ugly of SharePoint. One recent noteable being Bil Simsers post on keeping your head while others are losing theirs.
It got me to thinking about the new or even intermediate users. More specifically, who is feeding them information?
When I look around I see countless great blogs on customization, web part development and other complex development issues but I also notice a huge lack of “user-level” material.
If someone has just learned they are going to need to use SharePoint they’re probably going to really dig to find good information on general usage. Searching SharePoint would either scare them to death reading posts on data-view connections and managed code while their ‘word of mouth’ knowledge is likely limited to “SharePoint is for collaboration, or SharePoint does document management”.
In order to drive user adoption we need to make people understand just how valuable SharePoint can be to an organization and there is almost no better way of making SharePoint shine than showing just how much an “average” user can do with very limited technical knowledge.
I see a huge need for entry-level materials on list creation, how columns work, creating sites, workspaces, document libraries etc.
I can’t help but wonder if we are so absorbed in our creations that we’re forgetting that it’s not just “developers” that need to use this stuff, are we developing only for developers?
Sure there are newsgroups where people can ask a question but I could certainly see the value in blogging this material as well.
I have a different take on this. I have posted general user info out there and it was met with little interest. If you think about the audience, if these people go check out blogs, it is going to be about whatever hobby or interest they have, not necessarily what technology they have to use (at work at that). Our SharePoint Intranet has been up for nearly a year and just last week I got an email saying, oh I didn’t realize our intranet was SharePoint. Users don’t always know or care what the technology is. If users have an issue in my organization, they go to the support desk. I have posted canned demos of how to do stuff in SharePoint for these end users (create a library, a list, etc) and they have been viewed very little. So little in fact I have dropped making any more.
Valiant thought, but materials like this may only appeal to a very small audience. I wish that wasn’t true.
Or maybe I am being a stick in the mud. User adoption materials are great, just not sure how much they would be accessed.