Site design - what works best?

Hi all,

We're buying the confluence product and I'd like to know if you all have any recommendations on how best to organize the content. If any of you have any lessons learned or an awesome site design that you'd be willing to share, I'd be most appreciative.

We're migrating from Autotask and SharePoint, so I want to make sure we architect the design the right way the first time.

Site pages and organization of content is mostly what I'm after and anything you've found that works well and things that don't at all.

Thanks!
Sheree

4 answers

Hi Sheree,

I wrote the answer that @Sam Hall referred to (thank you for the mention Sam).  If it's useful to you, I expanded on the points in a blog post here.

My experience of SharePoint is that it becomes the default dumping ground for things that need to be stored.  This might be done in a very structured and organised way, but if you're in this situation then the biggest problem you'll face is that SharePoint and Confluence are entirely and absolutely different applications. 

The first and most important difference is that SharePoint has no real limit on the total size of the content, whereas Confluence Cloud has a 50g limit.  50g is nothing in the context of a SharePoint installation (it's common to see installations with a terabyte or more of data) so if you've got more than 50g you'll have to par that down massively in order to fit it in to Confluence and still leave room for people to add stuff.

This leads directly to the other most important difference: Confluence is a wiki and SharePoint is a documentation management system.  Microsoft and Atlassian seem convinced that SharePoint and Confluence are competitors, but I don't know anyone who's worked with both that thinks that's true.  They do different things.  If your users are used to uploading and tagging files in SharePoint then you'll need to do a lot of retraining and re-education.

Having said that, Confluence is fantastic if you want a place for people to write things down and make it available to others. If you're not importing much and there's not a large active user base to retrain then you should find the move quite easy, if a little labour-intensive.

One last point: You might want to consider looking at a site designer add-on like Scroll Viewport if you're looking at designing your instance.

Sam Hall Community Champion Jan 06, 2017

Thanks Rob. Really good points and great blog too.

1 vote
Sam Hall Community Champion Dec 30, 2016

Hi Sheree,

Apologies if this is a little basic, but I've found Atlassian's "Confluence 101" material to be pretty handy. They mention several examples of 'best practice' and recommendations that are worth thinking about.

On lessons learned, there is a very helpful answer on this question: https://answers.atlassian.com/questions/43723570 which might help you if you haven't seen it already.

Sam

Hi Sherree,

I am afraid that the answer is "depends." This is the type of thing that requires interviewing stakeholders to understand what their needs are, what they would like to do, and then having an expert come back with a proposal on how to structure Confluence, what plugins to use, and set exceptions correctly. This is especially true when moving from a SharePoint frame of mind.

In other words, it is a bit involved to do it right – I know because I have done this type of things for a few organizations. And good planning is key to successful adoption.

Bill

Hi Sherree,

I work in a larger organization (200 locations, thousands of employees) that has Confluence deployed to all areas of the business (corporate departments and field locations) and our success - as we allowed grassroots adoption to occur - is largely (based on feedback from managers and employees) due to our decision to invest in the Brikit theme plugins. We have their initial product called 'Zen', but are planning to transition to their new product, 'Theme Press' in 2017..

If you are interested, I'd be happy to screenshare to show you some live examples but in a nutshell their plugins (and others like them) 'transform' Confluence into what look like attractive websites.  Big plusses for our all-employee spaces are the ability to easily add space-wide menus (makes navigation for even infrequent users a snap) and to easily be able to design an attractive home page that make the tool comfortable for employees, i.e. it doesn't feel like something different, and it's much less busy than a typical SharePoint site which is a plus to many. If we screenshare, some of our home pages may knock your socks off. That is, if this is something you think your audience might need/appreciate.

As it is a theme, it doesn't have to be applied to every space. Most of our IT-only sites do use the global theme, but the business spaces we have (almost 200) are almost all Zen-themed, a choice the space's requester made. For us, the acceptance by the business was largely owed in my opinion to the use of Brikit's theming expertise.  We believe, as they do, that design can be a key component in acceptance and adoption.

Cheers,

Tom

Acccch, I just noticed your tag 'confluence-cloud'.  Unfortunately, Brikit's theme plugins do not work with Confluence Cloud as far as I know, but just the Server versions.

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