SharePoint News Slider/Carousel Options

In this article, I want to address a frustration and observation that I have notice about SharePoint overall in the past 10 years of experience with it. My observation is that SharePoint and Microsoft for that matter failed at coming up with a solid news webpart or sliders for SharePoint that is fully featured and sexy looking that displays news, blogs, and content in an attractive, modern age, web 2.0 style that reflects a mature Microsoft product. Specifically I am frustrated at the lack of SharePoint sliders. This is frankly a disappointment to me because they have made progress in other areas that are quiet exceptional.

The importance of a good presentation is something that in my opinion is crucial to encourage adoption and gaining respect and does not have to be a big investment. We know that a public web site that looks dated can turn away customers or at least raise doubt about the company behind it. An intranet should be treated with respect for it to be respected. An employee that lands on a landing page that looks like it was built since WorldWideWeb (yes not space), which is a browser that came before Netscape, will turn the intranet into a laughing stock.

The importance of a good landing page for SharePoint is something that I stressed many times before and should reflect the company culture and exhibit some modern elements.

One of the biggest requests many companies ask for is having a SharePoint slider on the homepage. The quick answer is ‘no problem! SharePoint has an announcement web part, done! Let’s slap that on there and we’re done’. That’s when I get off my seat, raise my objections and disappoint everyone that there is a bit more to it. My argument the out of the box announcement web part is too poor for if you’re looking to make a proper investment in SharePoint.

I will detail the ideal solution for news publishing that I envision and will explore the solutions available to get us there.

The Ideal Solution

 

 

What are some solutions that can get us there?

 

The research came down to a few options which we will explore:

Solution 1 – Out of the box announcements web part

Solution 2 – Anything slider based on jQuery found on internet

http://sharepoint2020.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/sharepoint-2010-content-anything-slider-with-captions/

https://www.nothingbutsharepoint.com/sites/eusp/pages/creating-your-own-content-slider-for-sharepoint.aspx

Solution 3 – PortalFront SharePoint News Slider (commercial option – full disclosure we develop)

https://truapps.portalfront.com/sharepoint-slider-and-news-carousel.html

Here’s my analysis which I’m basing on the following areas:

  1. Creating announcements
  2. Displaying the announcements
  3. Displaying the article for each announcement

Here’s the analysis of the scores and how they came about:

Out of the box ‘Announcements’ Anything Slider PortalFront News Slider
Creating announcements
Presentation B+
Uses normal SharePoint list form
B+
Uses normal SharePoint list form
B+
Uses normal SharePoint list form
Ease of use BPopulating form is pretty straight forward. Image link is not very friendly. User has to upload image separately in a library, then copy the URL then paste it back in the Slider list. B
Populating form is pretty straight forward. Image link is not very friendly. User has to upload image separately in a library, then copy the URL then paste it back in the Slider list.
A-
Populating form is pretty straight forward. Image field is in the same form and image can be dropped directly into the form using upload link.
Functionality C-
Basic title, body and expiration.
CBasic title, body and image URL. A-
-Supports image auto sizing so slider fits
-Supports summary for each slider text
-Supports publish date
-Supports Expiration date
– Creates thumbs in the slider

-Ability to customize from code.

Displaying the announcements on homepage
Presentation C
Not a very attractive presentation.
Lacked image support.
Text too small.
No support for summary text.
– included a list of news list
C
-Text / image overlap observed.
-Large images disrupted the presentation.
-No support for summary text
-Displays only one slide and does not list the rest of news items underneath.
A
-Managed images spacing and text alignments well.
-does not show author of news in slider
– Supports summary text
– Clean presentation
– Shows news thumbs from the rest of the list.
Ease of use A
No issues
B
– Did not have a link in slider that that takes you back to the news article.
– Lacked the ability to quickly show different news items
A
No issues
Functionality C-
Same as functionality section above
C
Same as functionality section above
A
Same as functionality section above
Displaying the article for each announcement
Presentation F
Truly a bad presentation as this shows a modal dialog with a SharePoint list details. Doesn’t take the full page like a normal article should. Shows Expires date and ribbon.
F
Truly a bad presentation as this shows a modal dialog with a SharePoint list details. Doesn’t take the full page like a normal article should. Shows Expires date and ribbon. Of course here you can use it on a blog list and it could improve.
B
Was built to work specifically with blog list so that it shows full page view. Much cleaner look.
Ease of use
Functionality

 

Noticing the lack of a robust solution that addresses the SharePoint News from a holistic perspective, the PortalFront SharePoint slider was built specifically for as a solution that shows clean news slider with news thumbs and a fluid flow all together.

The other SharePoint sliders found on the internet such as the Anything Slider for SharePoint were heavily focused on the slider itself. All lacked to show thumbs of other news items and showing numerous formatting and CSS hiccups such as text overflowing. Auto sizing images was also not supported. Many seem to be good for a quick proof of concept but not a fully-fledged solution. Those solutions are good if you’re looking for a simple slider that you want to spend a good while customizing. Here are some of the better sliders found on the internet:

https://www.nothingbutsharepoint.com/sites/eusp/pages/creating-your-own-content-slider-for-sharepoint.aspx

Please explore the screenshots below in support of the arguments made above as far as presentation goes.

 

Out of the box Announcements –Final Presentation

 

Anything Slider – Final Presentation

PortalFront News Slider – Final Presentation

PortalFront Tru SharePoint Slider

 

The terrible looking out of the box news article presentation page.

The lack of image upload feature from the same form for both out of the box and anything slider.

User must upload an image in separate library, copy that URL then past it back in this form.

PortalFront image upload within the same form

Image uploaded will be sized and cropped properly to fit into the slider and news thumbs.

The News Article page from a blog site

All those solutions work on SharePoint 2010, 2013, Office 365 and SharePoint online.

Conclusion

The need for a good presentation in posting news in SharePoint is important in today’s age of web 2.0. If you’re looking for an enhanced look using sliders, anything slider along with some other free jQuery scripts on the internet may be a good option. Those scripts will require tinkering with CSS, customizations, etc and may serve the purpose. If you’re looking for a more robust end to end solution PortalFront SharePoint News slider may incur some light cost but may be well worth it for a fuller baked experience.

The PortalFront SharePoint slider is a project that will continue to grow. We are interested in your feedback.