SharePoint Site Hi- light: The Northern Lights Look Better From Here

I don’t know about you, but every once in a while I get an urge to take off, say “forget everything”, and head into the northern wilderness. Then sanity sets in, and I am reminded that I wouldn’t fare well, having spent the past several years at my desk instead of keeping healthy.

Then the next site in our SharePoint Services hi-light series reminds me that it’s not always an all or nothing prospect, and that the adventure of the northern wilderness can be experienced like a normal person, by moving to or visiting Anchorage, Alaska.

Today we are going to visit and review the official SharePoint site of this Alaskan municipality, and see how they handle passing on the huge amounts of information that the public might need. We will look at how they utilize SharePoint Services, and find out if they do it well.

At first impression, the home page seems busy, but still somewhat organized. At the top, there is a prominently displayed navigation bar, which surprisingly does not have drop-down menus. Instead, the information has been organized into few enough sections to fit on the bar. The rest of the page is separated into sections that lead you to information based on your needs.

The one thing I find a little odd is the navigation form. I am torn as to whether it is a good thing. It is organized into three drop down menus that give a choice. Lists include “Most Popular,” “How Do I..?”, and “Municipal Departments”, and while not allowing the dynamic nature of a search, does directly address most needs one might have of the city.

If you don’t use the form, there are links organized by area, like all the links a Resident might need, or links for business needs. Not as prominent are links for tourism info, the Mayor’s blog and others like the community calendar. The most notable piece of dynamic content would be the weather widget that is unfortunately buried at the bottom of the page. The lack of heavy dynamic content is not a problem; to the contrary, the site loaded faster than most.

All in all, the Alaskan Municipalities SharePoint site provides the content that is expected, in a way that is reasonably easy to follow. The color scheme is inviting and hints of adventure. If I ever do decide to head North, it will be where I start gathering info. I give this SharePoint site a solid 4 out of 5 stars, definitely worth visiting. Apps4Rent now offers Hosted SharePoint 2013 along with the older SharePoint versions.

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