Have you heard of SharePoint’s new communication sites?

Have you heard of SharePoint’s new communication sites?SharePoint communication sites

SharePoint communication sites are beautiful, dynamic sites that help your organization reach a broad internal audience, and that look great online, in the SharePoint mobile app, on PC and on MAC.

Microsoft has announced that they are targeting the end of this month to have a worldwide rollout of SharePoint’s communication sites.

Communication sites are made for internal cross-company campaigns, weekly and monthly reports or status updates, product launches, events and more. To help you jumpstart getting your message out fast, communication sites provide configurable templates for the sites and pages within. When you click Create site from SharePoint home in Office 365, you have a choice of three initial site designs:

  • Topic – Select Topic design when you have a lot of information to share, such as news, events and other content.
  • Blank – Start with a blank site and make your design come to life quickly and easily.
  • Showcase – Start with a blank site and make your design come to life quickly and easily.

With SharePoint’s communication sites, you can easily tell your organizations story. Once you’ve created a new site, all you need to do is drag-and-drop to reorganize web parts on the page. News and pages allow for multi-column layouts to represent your message in a meaningful, intuitive way.

Share your plans and updates in engaging, interactive ways

Communication sites allow people to create and share recurring updates beyond email. When you create a page on a communication site, you can embed documents and video, and dynamically pull in real-time data from across Office 365, including documents from SharePoint, Power Bi reports, Microsoft Stream videos and Yammer discussions. The resulting page is a rich and dynamic communication. The page persists on the site, so people can refer to it easily, even as the membership of your team changes, so new members can more easily get up to speed.

The new capabilities for the rich section layouts and new web parts can be utilized on SharePoint team sites as well.

Consumer, create and connect from your mobile device via the SharePoint apps

It’s easy to access, engage with and create content for communication sites from any device. The full site, pages, news, navigation, search and more are natively viewable, functional and engaging. Read a page, create a news article, engage in a Yammer conversation- all in the context of the site – from within the SharePoint mobile app experience.

Communication sites help further refine and enhance your message

Beyond what we shared during the SharePoint Virtual Summit, communication sites have additional capabilities to further refine and enhance your message.

Make your home page and sub-pages look great

Full-width layouts—The Hero and Image web parts can be placed in a section layout that spans the page from left to right, giving you ways to emphasize your most essential information.

Enhanced title region with custom header image—Visually represent your home page, news and subpages with a compelling header graphic and title. You control what portion of the image is the most important, so it looks great, and as intended, across web and mobile experiences.

Continue the discussion in context to ensure reach, retention and engagement

Comments on pages—Each news article and page can have its own set of comments. It is possible to use the Yammer web part for broad discussion scenarios as well as targeted responses to engage your viewers on the sole message and content on the page—all keeping within the context of the page.

Share news via email—When you share news via email from a communication site, it’s not just a blue link; it’s a visual, informative preview that adds context to both the email and the news article itself. Within the email, the recipient(s) will see a thumbnail, title, description and an optional message from the sender.

Dynamically pull in and display data, documents and information via web part improvements

Power BI and Microsoft Stream—Bring in interactive reports using the Power BI web part, and embed single videos or full channels from Microsoft Stream—the single destination within Office 365 for your cross-company video management. Both Power BI and Microsoft Stream are now generally available.

GIF support—When you add an Image web part into a news article or page, you can now include animated GIFs in your layout.

New “See all” pages—When there is more content than can be shown within the first view the Highlighted content and Site activity web parts, you can click See all to go to a full-page experience to see all the content and activity.

Updated News web part—Showcase your news using multiple layouts to highlight what’s important with greater flexibility. You can use the default Top story layout, view news as a list or side-by-side.

Learn more about using web parts on pages and news, which highlights all web parts available in SharePoint Online.

Shawn Lyles
About the Author
Hi, I'm Shawn! I am a hybrid website designer, developer, marketer and entrepreneur. I like to read, write and learn daily. Let's learn and grow together.

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