Office 365 / SharePoint Online Site Contents Page Changes


SharePoint Online Latest Change of the Week / Day / Hour / Minute…

If you use Office 365 / SharePoint Online then you should now be used to the constant tinkering with the user interface. I’m starting to feel like SharePoint Online is kind of like the weather in Cincinnati… if you don’t like it, hang around, it will be different tomorrow.

One of the latest changes is to the Site Contents page. A preview of this page is documented in the link below. But… it’s already out of date! They have since added the Top Link bar back and the site icon. (To see these new pages in advance of general release you need to enable Preview Features in the tenant’s SharePoint Settings page.)



The page as of 6/19/2016…



Changes to Site Contents:

  • This is a “New SharePoint” style page. It is responsive and will somewhat adapt to screen resolution and device size. But like the other new responsive pages, a change of screen resolutions or zoom levels will make well known navigation elements move to new locations, or disappear. (Usually being rolled up into another navigation element.)
    Where did Quick Launch go? (It’s now the three slashes button) Where did the App launcher/waffle button go? (It’s now changed colors and has moved to the right into the middle of the other buttons.)
  • This is no longer a master page based page or even a typical ASPX page. Right-click the page, select View Source and you will see that there’s basically an empty HTML tag and the loading of a bunch of JavaScript. If you use the F12 developer tools in your browser you will see that everything’s a DIV and there are MANY JavaScript files being loaded. The page is still stored in “_layouts” so there’s no customization through web parts or SharePoint Designer.
  • +++ They changed the list of lists and libraries into a list!!! No more ugly blue squares, in no useful order and having to click Next, Next, Next.
  • +++ The lists are sortable!!! (But not filterable or customizable. It would be really nice to group on list type or especially a custom property!)
  • +++ They also changed the list of subsites into a list!!! It’s also sortable!
  • - - - They added new big ugly blocks that we have to scroll past to get to the list of lists and subsites. These are site activity reports that really should be in their own page somewhere, maybe a “Site Activity” page. The first two big tiles do link to their own report pages.
  • - - - They gave the page a new “New” button that will confuse the heck out of people.
    Click New and then List, you get a “Custom List”. No options. Click New and then Library, you get a generic library. If you want a Tasks list or an Announcements list, you have to click New and App. And then we are back to the ugly big blue tiles. (The New App page would be a great place to replace the blue tiles with a list! Give it two tabs, “Lists and Libraries” and “SharePoint Apps”.  Oops, I should have said “SharePoint Ad-ins”. They did tell us that they renamed these, right?)



They cleaned up, and cluttered up, the Site Contents page.


Don’t like the new design… hang around!

(Today it’s hot and sunny in Cincinnati…)




Anonymous said...

Today we opened up our Sharepoint Online page to a totally unfamiliar and unwanted landing page with absolutely no warning or explanation. We thought something had broken, until a support tech explained that the changes were intentional, permanent and irreversible.

My message to him and then in the Feedback dialog was the following:
Holy crap!!! STOP changing things unilaterally. Today's forced changes to Sharepoint UI have thoroughly confused our users, broken thousands of dollars of site development and exposed formerly hidden parts of our site to prying eyes because we can't restrict access to them and maintain functionality. You've given us no notice these changes were coming, deployed them without ANY documentation or explanation, and given us no way to respond with design or setting workarounds. WHEN are you going to learn your lesson? Wasn't the idiotic Office 365 stylus draw-mode-only debacle enough? Please get some grownups in the room to monitor the kids who think changing random features constantly is a neat thing to do. We are spending dozens of hours a week at this point trying to repair the damage Microsoft keeps doing to our business. We are not here solely to maintain and manage our computer systems -- it's supposed to be the other way around.

We haven't even encountered the massively wasteful and ugly screen you document above - which in typical MS fashion hogs the entire first view with gigantic useless graphic elements filled with information I don't need, forcing me to scroll down to get to stuff I actually need to administrate. Why make something accessible in one click when you can make it take five clicks instead?

In October we made a massive bet on Microsoft - all Surfaces, all Win 10, all Office 365, including Sharepoint Online. Now we're planning on writing off the entire investment as a huge mistake and undertaking as complete an exodus off of Microsoft as we can possibly engineer, including dumping the Surfaces. I'm sick of spending hundreds of otherwise billable hours I could be spending on my actual business (which is NOT IT), and need to get back to our technology platform supporting our business instead of the opposite. Microsoft just doesn't get it.

Unknown said...

This is a joke. I am trying to produce training videos for beginning end users, and SharePoint interface changes and makes my work obsolete and I have to reshoot voice over and screen shots.

Mike Smith said...


Welcome to the Cloud and "everything as a service". Everything we use in the cloud is out of our control and is very likely to be changed, or even abandoned, daily.

Even On-Prem 2013 and 2016 may be a moving target with the upcoming "feature packs".

As a courseware author, I now plan on quarterly updates for anything written about anything in the cloud. If you create content professionally then you need to start including "periodic updates" sections in your proposals and contracts. (In a way, you can think of this as job security!)


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