SharePoint is very convenient for managing document and lists. As an event management tool it is ideal to allow users to quickly register for an event and obtain the practical information they need. However, event organizers often want to theme their event site with a look and feel which is quite different from SharePoint, developed along standard web design guidelines, using CSS and JavaScript to control layout. This is difficult and costly to integrate with SharePoint and though this may be done for a corporate intranet, it is far beyond the budget limitations of small events.

Can this vicious circle be squared?

Yes by using a site template which has been specially developed with just these aspects in mind. The Event site template comes with three ready-made designs with layout and navigation separated from SharePoint so designers are free to create the look and feel they desire. A basic design is provided as a starting point in a layout called Dark, with a master page as follows:

The page is laid out entirely using external style sheets which can be developed by web designers with no knowledge of SharePoint. Navigation is provided by a standard HTML UL tag (unordered or bulleted list). This technique provides for dynamic menus which can make use of the most sophisticated JavaScript techniques, such as Jquery:

It is also possible to integrate SharePoint’s native top link menu into the event page design to ease the management of links:

Within the design, standard SharePoint web parts can be integrated to management content and to show information stored using SharePoint. This can comprise any of the standard document management features of SharePoint, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Visio, and the use of SharePoint views in web pages:

What is perhaps most useful is the fact that users can be quickly registered to a standard SharePoint list, via their Windows login, using SharePoint’s modal overlay as follows:

This overlay is standard within SharePoint and allows for sophisticated InfoPath forms with dependent drop-down boxes which are revealed based on the choices made by the user.

 

The form can easily be customized via InfoPath independent of the overall design. This technique also avoids the use of pop-up windows which can be problematical depending on the browser settings of each user.

Once registered, the user can see their own registration and modify it as necessary through a view filtered on [Me] as shown below:

Admins have the full power of SharePoint to export registration lists to Excel or to run workflows to inform users about the event.

The whole event template can be managed as a single unit and saved whenever changes are made. Each new event involves simply the creation of a new sub-site using this template and the customization of the design as required.

 

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