my world of work and user experiences

November 30, 2012

What happened to the Title?

Filed under: SharePoint,Usability — Tags: , — frederique @ 22:24

SharePoint document libraries have separate fields for the file name (Name) and for a Title. That makes perfect sense to me, because they have different requirements:

  • The Name needs to be a unique file name, so that you do not overwrite a previous document.
    So for libraries with many documents and especially libraries with many contributors, we recommend a naming convention such as including your initials and the date. This is the ‘system field’
  • The Title need to be clear for people who try to find the file and to determine if this is the file they want to open.
    So you should enter a clear and clean title that does not contain codes and additions that make it less readable. This is the ‘people field’.

In “old” SharePoint, the Title field was clickable
We used the Title field in all views. The reader could click on the Title to read the file, the contributor could open the item menu from the Title to edit it in MS Office. The unique but unwieldly Name was invisible to normal users.

In “new” SharePoint, it is the Name field that is clickable
You have no option but using the .Name field in all your view, because otherwise nobody can read or use the file in any way… The only use I see for the Title field, is for the search engine.
This is the case in SharePoint 2010 but also in SharePoint 2013. I do hope that it is a temporary mistake in the trial cloud that I am looking at.

The file Name and Title

The Title is visible, but it is the Name that is clickable

In the SharePoint 2010 Online version that we are working in now, the Title field often is mandatory, because it is important for the search. But users are getting rather annoyed, having to fill in a field that has no immediate use in the site itself.

I know that there are scripts and workarounds to get a clickable Title field. But I would rather stick with out-of-the-box functionality than risk inconsistency and unstability from some band-aid.
What I don’t know why it is now the Name rather than the Title that is the active field.

What happened to the title? Why did it lose its clickability and – basically – its usefulness?

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