Commencing in April, Microsoft will be changing some of the tenant-level blocking capacity established by organisations to provide its latest user interface (UI). The Microsoft entitled “modern” UI will be delivered to Lists and Libraries, and available for SharePoint Online users.
This change will only be provided for organisations currently using the “classic” UI that, through a tenant setting, have opted out of modern lists. Such organisations will be moved automatically to the modern UI setting according to Chris McNulty, senior product marketing manager at SharePoint.
SharePoint Server users will not be affected by the settings change if their own infrastructures are being utilised. The settings change, however, will be applied to organisations making use of a shared infrastructure in which subscribers to SharePoint Online are considered having tenancy.
Effects on user experience of Lists and Libraries
This switch from classic to modern will be an administration settings change, so end users may not see the amendments to Lists and Libraries. The function of this is to facilitate the modern experience to a wider range of users while delivering improved tools to manage both lists and libraries that need to maintain their classic status.
Microsoft does not predict its customers using the modern opt-out mode for SharePoint Online tenancies will suffer unavailable service or breaking changes. Modern experiences are tested for rendering issues occurring and, if discovered, downgrade automatically to classic mode.
Should organisations wish to limit an entire site to just classic mode, they will need to make use of individual settings in Lists and Libraries or PowerShell.
The persistence of the classic user interface
For many organisations, the classic UI is still an operable option. Microsoft has stated that it has “no plans to remove classic mode” but the intention behind these administrative changes is clearly to nudge organisations towards the modern UI. Such encouragement is not new – in July 2018, a setting that prevented end users creating modern sites on SharePoint Online was removed by Microsoft due to an Office 365 Groups restriction.
The classic UI will still persist where there is no substitute available in the modern UI, although Microsoft has stated a commitment to providing modern replacements. This work is in development though and an open-ended process.
If they choose to, an organisation can place a restriction and keep its end users on the classic UI, but it will require some work, according to SharePoint’s McNulty. Through ‘List Settings’, there is a “return to classic” option. Alternatively, IT professionals can utilise the SharePoint Modernisation scanner and identify any customisations unsupported by the modern interface. Once identified, a PowerShell script can be run to disable the Modern UI. This can be performed for site collections or a single site.
If you have questions about restricting your end users to the classic interface, or would like to consider your options regarding the modern UI, contact our team at WM Reply for specialist advice on Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365.