my world of work and user experiences

April 30, 2012

Anywhere – SharePoint Online on my Windows Phone

Filed under: Interaction,Office365 — Tags: , — frederique @ 22:18

We are always on, always connected. And we expect to be able to do that on our mobile devices. But we’d better manage those expectations.

Nielsen, in his latest Intranet Design Annual, laments the fact that very few intranets have a mobile version. Recently, I looked into SharePoint Online on my iPad and I was only moderately enthusiastic. Now let me take a look on my smartphone – a Windows Phone, so it is Microsoft all around. Today, I focus on the interface in the mobile Internet Explorer.

Bottomline: Again, quite a lot actually works, but not everything…

What works:

  • Announcements, Links, Custom lists
  • Tasks, including views like My Tasks and functionality to update tasks.
  • Blogs: read the post, read the comments and add a comment
  • View pictures in a library, including their thumbnails and a screen-filling version

What works somewhat:

  • Adding a task worked, because I saw the new task appear on my computer. Unfortunately I did not see it appear on my phone…
  • Calendar is present but unpractical: no weekly or monthly overview.
  • Document libraries: I can read documents – though not in a very practical way on such a small screen. But I cannot add or edit them in the phone browser: there is no Upload document button. For that, I need to open the Office Hub.
  • Picture libraries offer a button to upload a picture, but that did not work for me – I could not activate the Browse option.
  • Movies (mp4) played from their library, but the media webpart to play it from the page does not work.
  • Publishing page libraries show the table of content, but the pages themselves do not open.

What is missing entirely: the more interactive features:

  • Discussion Boards: Missing from All Site Content and I cannot switch on the mobile view in the list settings
  • Surveys: Idem
  • Rating: I can see the rating stars but I cannot rate a document on the phone

Below, you will find some screenshots and other details…

‘Table of Contents’

The Windows Phone wisely does not attempt to display the site in its big screen view, but more like a table of content. The All Site Content overview is your friend, as other navigation options – like the tabs – are missing.


Homepage on my Windows Phone

All Site Content

All Site Content


I can read blog posts, read the comments and add a comment using my Windows Phone.

Read a blog post

Read blog comments

Add comment

Managing my tasks works

I can view the tasks that are assigned to me, update their status and other data, and switch to the view with all tasks. For the selection fields, this is the Windows Phone method.

My Tasks

My Tasks

Edit Task

Update my task

Edit Task - Selection list

Select a status

The reader can consult the information in document libraries and picture libraries. Talking back is more difficult in the windows phone browser: I cannot upload or edit the files.

Document Library

Document Library



Picture Library

Picture Library

By the way, I have made these screenshots using the Windows Phone Emulator of the SDK (Software Development Kit) . I am not planning any real development myself, but I have not found an app or any other tool to shoot the screen of my Windows Phone directly.

February 29, 2012

Anywhere – SharePoint Online on my iPad

Filed under: Office365 — Tags: , , — frederique @ 23:54

One of the selling points of SharePoint Online is that you can access it anytime, anyplace, anywhere – where you have an internet connection. Not just in the office, but also on the train, on your couch at home. And in the board room. That flexibility rimes with iPad for many people these days.

I’ve heard from several executives that they prefer to work on their iPad. They don’t want to waste money and trees on paper prints and they also don’t want to lug around a heavy laptop. So they asked their teams to send documents for meeting as pdf by e-mail, allowing them to read on their iPad. But sending documents by e-mail is soooo last century. We prefer sharing such information in SharePoint teamsites.

My question then was: can you actually use a Microsoft SharePoint site on an Apple iPad or do they just clash?
The answer fortunately is: quite a lot actually works, though not everything.


On the iPad, I see the document library and I can read a document in the browser. But I was unable to upload a document.

Homepage of an out of the box teamsite on the iPad

Read an Office document in the browser

Uploading a document did not work

Task list and calendar

I can add and edit items in lists like Tasks and Events on the iPad. The interface in the pop-ups looks a bit different, but they seems to work anyway.

Adding a task that depends on a selected predecessor

Adding an event to a calendar

Comments and notes

I can read a blog post and its comments, and also comment on a blog post. On the My Profile page, I can update my status. But I cannot publish a note in my Note Board.


Commenting on a blog post

Updating my Profile status works, but adding a note to the Note Board not.

No silverlight

The one gaping hole on my iPad is Silverlight. Because of that, I cannot play video in the official video web part. And I cannot view the spiffy version of the organisation chart in My Profile. The page does offer me a link to download and install Silverlight, but that soon hits the ‘Download failed’ wall, as there just is no Silverlight for the iPad.

I cannot install the Silverlight required for the nice organisation interface

The video web part requires Silverlight, so the video is not played within the page but opened on the iPad itself via the link.

Also, my iPad only plays videos in mp4 format. I know there must be apps that allow me to view wmv videos for example. But until then I am restricted to mp4.

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