Internet presence scenario: Plan the site
Updated: December 18, 2008
Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007
This article is one of a series of articles that describes an end-to-end scenario that outlines how to plan, design, build, and maintain an enterprise's Internet presence Web site based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.
Beginning of scenario
A project team is formed to plan and specify the solution. The team includes a lead architect, a program manager, a site designer, and a software developer. Their goals included planning for the following:
A set of sites and subsites including the Home page, the Corporate Information subsite, the Products subsite, the News and events subsite, and the Careers subsite.
A set of content to migrate from the current site to the new site.
Customizations to implement, which include authored elements such as layouts, master pages, and styles sheets, along with coded elements to provide needed site functionality.
The site plan
The solution planning team identifies a set of tasks to implement the new Internet presence site and an order in which to do them:
1. Determine sites and subsites
The team determines sites and subsites first because many subsequent decisions depend on the site structure. For example:
Some subsites will have unique page layout requirements.
Some subsites will have unique content type requirements.
Some subsites will require development of custom site elements.
Content will be migrated from the current site to particular subsites.
The permissions model of Office SharePoint Server 2007 supports assigning unique security settings for particular subsites.
Navigation decisions depend on the site structure.
Using the Excel 2007 spreadsheet program, record the hierarchy of sites and subsites.
600 sites and subsites are entered in the spreadsheet.
2. Determine navigation
The site’s planners next plan how users will navigate in the site:
The top navigation controls will be the same throughout the site hierarchy. They will always link to the four main sub-areas of the site: Corporate Information, Products, News and Events, and Careers.
The Home page will have only a top navigation bar. This will create more room on the page for content and give the Home page a unique appearance.
All other subsites will include the top navigation bar and will also have a side navigation area that will vary depending on the subsite:
The Corporate Information site will link to the set of pages that contains corporate information.
The News and Events site will have links to a set of topic categories such as Product Reviews, Upcoming events and seminars, and Recent Articles about the enterprise. Some pages will also include a Content By Query Web part for displaying links to related articles.
The Products site requires a custom navigation control that the enterprise will develop. The custom navigation control will display the set of product areas. When a user clicks a product area, the control will expand to display links to all the products in that area. This control will display three levels of depth to reflect the organization of products. The control will save its state for a site visitor, so that returning visitors to the Products site see their most recently viewed product page. Along with an expandable navigation control, the site architects want the navigation control in the Products subsite to retain its state from the last time a returning visitor used it. This was the first custom site element the team would have to develop.
The Careers site will link to pages of interest to jobs seekers, such as Corporate Values and Employee Benefits. Users will be able to navigate to a page by using a Web part that enables them to search for career opportunities at the enterprise. This will be developed by the enterprise's development team.
Using the same Excel 2007 spreadsheet in which the team listed sites and subsites, the team records navigation settings for each site and subsite.
3. Determine Master pages and CSS
The planning team next determines the site’s master page. Because master pages include the primary cascading style sheet definitions for the site, the team also plans the initial cascading style sheet implementation.
Write a specification of the master page.
Record cascading style sheet decisions in an Office Excel 2007 spreadsheet.
One master page for the entire site. This promotes consistency of styles and branding across the site.
4. Determine page layouts and content types
The planning team next determines the site's layout pages. The planning team surveys all the content to include in the new site. This includes the following:
Product description pages
Specialized home pages for each subsite
Pages describing career opportunities
For each unique page type create a wireframe layout page. These schematic drawings of the pages indicate the regions on the page where content or other site elements (such as Web Parts) will appear. Label page elements on each wireframe. Label each field by name, such as Article Text, and by purpose, such as “displays press release text.”
Record the design of each layout page and list the needed columns to display content across the various layout pages. If additional columns are needed, add those to the specification.
Produce a spreadsheet with four types of information:
Four extra columns are needed.
The site uses 14 types of layout pages.
5. Determine Web parts and custom field controls
The planning team identifies places in the Web site where Web parts or custom field controls will provide functionality that they require. For example:
A custom field control on the Home page will display an animation publicizing the enterprise.
A custom navigation control will provide rich navigation of the Products subsite.
A custom Web part will provide an interface to the Career Opportunities database.
Write specifications for custom Web parts and field controls.
One custom Web part
One custom field control
One custom navigation control
6. Determine reusable content
Lastly, the team determines reusable content to make available to authors. Reusable content includes the following:
On layout pages on which the team added style sheet references, the styles will be available from a menu in the editing toolbar that authors use when creating content.
The team decides to modify some table formats associated with the editing toolbar for use in product description pages.
To promote consistency, the team decides to make some content, such as copyright notices, available to writers from the Reusable Content list of the site.
Site collection images
To support consistent branding, the team decides to make some images available to writers from the Site Collection Images of the site gallery.
Using a spreadsheet, record inline styles to develop. In the same spreadsheet, list reusable content to author, site collection images to create and upload, and new table formats to design.
20 inline style definitions
30 items of reusable content
24 site collection images to design
Four new table formats
Download this book
This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:
See the full list of available books at Downloadable books for Office SharePoint Server 2007.