SharePoint Online, part of Microsoft 365, is a powerful platform for collaboration, document management, and information sharing. With its extensive capabilities, it empowers organizations to create robust intranet sites and team sites. However, to truly harness its potential and enhance user engagement, personalizing the user experience is key. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of personalization in SharePoint Online and provide practical tips to achieve it.

Why is Personalization Important?

  • Improved User Adoption – Users are more likely to embrace SharePoint if they see content and features that are relevant to their roles and interests.

  • Increased Productivity – Personalization helps users find what they need faster, reducing time spent searching for information.

  • Enhanced Collaboration – Tailored experiences encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing within teams and across the organization.

What Features Enable Personalization?

  • Audience Targeting – With audience targeting, you can display content, such as news, events, navigation links, and quick links*, to specific groups or individuals. This ensures that users see content relevant to their roles or departments.

  • Personalized News and Content – The SharePoint news web part can display news articles tailored to the user’s location, department, or interests.  The Highlighted content web part can dynamically display content and offers a variety of options for personalizing the experience.

  • Recommended Content – SharePoint can recommend relevant news, documents and sites based on a user’s activity and interests.  The SharePoint news web part has a “Recommended for current user” option that displays posts for the current user from people the user works with; managers in the chain or people the user works with, mapped against the user’s own chain of management and connections; the user’s top 20 followed sites; and the user’s frequently visited sites.

  • Custom Web Parts – Not finding the personalization experience you’re looking for?  Create it!  SharePoint Online allows you to build and add custom web parts to pages. One example is our Compass365 Personalized Quick Links web part.  The out-of-the-box Quick Links web part supports audience targeting to show relevant links to users.  The Compass365 Personalized Quick Links web part takes that a step further by allowing each user to choose which Quick Links they want to show in their experience (from a master list curated by a SharePoint Admin).

Practical Tips for Personalization

To make the most of these personalization features, consider the following tips:

  • Understand Your Audience – Start by identifying user groups and understanding their needs and preferences. What content is relevant to each group? What tasks do they need to accomplish in SharePoint?
  • Use Metadata – Metadata tagging is essential for categorizing content effectively. It helps SharePoint understand the content’s context and relevance.
  • Regularly Update User Profiles – Encourage users to keep their profiles up to date. Accurate profile information is crucial for effective personalization.
  • Analyze User Data – Use SharePoint analytics to track user interactions and content consumption. This data can inform your personalization efforts.
  • Assess and Iterate – Personalization is an ongoing process. Continuously assess the effectiveness of your personalization strategies and make adjustments as needed.

Personalizing the user experience in SharePoint Online can significantly enhance user engagement, productivity, and collaboration within your organization. By leveraging the platform’s built-in features and following best practices, you can create a tailored SharePoint environment that meets the unique needs of your users.

Get Help with Personalization

Do you need help personalizing the intranet experience for your users?  Let’s talk!

Compass365, a Microsoft Gold Partner, delivers SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and Power Platform solutions that help IT and Business leaders improve the way their organizations operate and how their employees work.