Microsoft has announced that its latest new solution designed to improve the experience of deploying SharePoint Online, which is called Communication Site, is set to be issued in preview form to those customers who are signed up to the ‘first release’ Office 365 plan.
The software giant initially gave those who deploy SharePoint Online an advance look at this new solution during the Virtual Summit it hosted in June. It is an intranet that is intended to offer the user a more varied option for in-house communications than that provided by SharePoint Team Sites. The latter were essentially created for people to communicate with each other within small work groups.
These Communication Sites can be put together using one of the templates provided by Microsoft, with the one called Showcase being designed for showing images, while the template called Topics is for sharing relevant news items. Once the Communication Site has been put together, the user can improve communications with others within the organisation by adding WebParts with names like Stream, Events and People. A site can also have links to videos from Microsoft Stream, reports from Power BI, feeds from Yammer and documents from SharePoint added to it, while the fact that the new solution is able to support the search tech provided with Microsoft Graph means that expert links can be added by those using it.
The good news for those planning to try out this preview is that Microsoft has not been idle since announcing it at the recent summit. New functions include being able to spread the Image and Hero WebParts over the whole section layout. Furthermore, the heading title and image can now be controlled to a far greater extent by the person using the Communication Site, so when emails containing links to this site are sent, these will be shown with optional messages, along with a description, title and thumbnail view.
The function called ‘see all’, which is now part of each Communication Site, lets those using it gain access to greater amounts of information than can be seen within the first view. The Image WebPart is now also able to support the use of animation GIFs, while News is available in several different formats, such top story, side-by-side or list format. According to Microsoft, using Communication Sites on a mobile device should be no problem, but the tech giant will need to update the mobile apps first. The Android app is due to be updated within weeks, while the iOS one will be ready within a matter of days.
Communication Site will be released around the world in its final form by the end of this summer, with customers of Office 365 getting the preview version over the upcoming weeks.
We are sure that this will prove to be a valuable solution for those enterprises for whom communication is central. You can find out how the solutions built by WM Reply
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